There has been a very strong movement of the last decade or so to clean sport up and get drugs out the door. buy steroids in particular has been under intense scrutiny regarding doping issues and there have been several notable moves made by the big players in the industry to get the sport in line with current drug free trends.
One organisation that has done much to promote drug free bodybuilding is the INBA (International Natural Bodybuilding Association). The INBA is extremely strict regarding its drug free policies and adheres to International Olympic Committee drug lists and testing. This approach is in stark contrast to groups such as the NPC (National Physique Committee) which only tests for anabolic steroids, prescription diuretics and prohormones.
It is this lack of consistency when it comes to the anti doping controls that sometimes sideline natural bodybuilding competitions and their competitors as being somehow inferior. As long as there is no universal ruling regarding the use of banned substances and even which substances should be banned, there is very little chance of bodybuilding ever being totally drug free.
Testing methods prior to natural bodybuilding competitions also differs greatly between the different natural bodybuilding organisations. One will do IOC style blood testing, another urinalysis and some even go for polygraphs. And the all have their own banned substance listings to further confound the issue. Natural bodybuilders earn the rank of natural professional bodybuilder through their membership and of the many drug free bodybuilding association, but what is the status of that rank once earned. Bodybuilders using banned substances with impunity will probably always pip the natural bodybuilders to the post when it comes to sheer bulk. So where is the incentive to go drug free?
At the end of the day, public sentiment and the work done by drug free bodies in getting the message out regarding the benefits of clean sport are the only really effective entities when it comes to instituting reform. That and universal solidarity on issues such as banned substance classifications, testing methods and the structure that natural bodybuilding competitions are to follow. It is inevitable however, if one considers global trends, that the door will eventually shut permanently on the silent support that banned substance use in sport so often gets. It will, of course, never stop their use which is sad really as the standards seen in natural bodybuilding competitions are every bit as high as any non-controlled events.