Opioids, such as fentanyl, are used in sports as a drug for doping. The aim is not to directly increase performance, but rather to suppress the pain-induced cessation of exercise. Opioids are differentiated into endogenous opioids, which the organism releases in pain situations, and external to guided opioids for therapeutic treatment or abusive treatment in doping.

Opioids have a morphine-like effect and thus an anaesthetic effect. Opiate is the active substance contained in opium. Synthetic opioids are produced from the milk of the opium poppy.

Opioids have a broad spectrum of action. In relation to sports, however, the most important effect is pain relief or pain suppression. Opioids are widely used in medicines and anaesthesia.

They belong to the subgroup of analgesics and unfold their specific effect at special receptors of the nerve cells. The intake of opioids causes an adaptation of the organism through increased enzyme activity. This leads to a weakening of the effect and the dose must be continuously increased.

In addition, opioids can trigger a nausea stimulus, have a stimulating effect on intestinal activity and lower the heart rate and thus the stroke volume. After discontinuing opioids, withdrawal symptoms, depression, flu-like symptoms and seizures may occur. An overdose of opioids leads to a toxic reaction.

This reaction occurs when the dosage is not known and with suicidal intent. Signs of this poisoning are airway obstruction and unawakening coma. In stress situations, the body’s own opioids are released.

The feeling of pain and hunger is suppressed. Opioids are involved in the development of euphoria, regulation of respiration, immune system and heat balance. The body’s own opioids are released in the event of injury, emotional stimulation and UV light.

In view of the fact that opioids are used in doping to prevent the pain-related loss of performance in competition, it is not only dangerous to health but also for sports-ethical reasons. In Germany opioids are subject to the narcotics law, therefore an inappropriate use will be prosecuted. In this context, it is expressly pointed out that the use of opioids is associated with numerous risks.