The Electronic Sports League has banned Adderall (aka "Addy"), a psychostimulant meant to treat ADHD, due to its performance-enhancing effects. Adderall, when taken in significant enough doses, increases reaction time and elevates focus, making it an infamously popular drug for athletes and test-taking college students.
This news comes after professional Counter-Strike player Cory "Semphis" Friesen revealed that he and his team, Cloud9, used Adderall during one of the ESL's tournaments in Poland with a prize pool of $250,000.
ESL has chosen not to punish Cloud9 given that they have no proof other than Friesen's confession, but according to an official statement made to Motherboard, the league will be introducing new anti-doping regulations to prevent its use during tournament play. Hopefully, this will include robust drug testing as well for enforcement.
It's surprising that these new rules against performance-enhancing drugs took so long—perhaps a case of argumentum ad populum or the "well, everyone else does it" fallacy. A report published in April by Eurogamer reveals, through an anonymous pro player, that the use of Adderall in eSports isn't exactly a secret.
According to him, the use of Adderall in American eSports is "very, very, very widespread" and he has "seen people sell it at tournaments for anything from $10 to $40 a pill." However in the same report, Michal Blicharz, the managing director for ESL, believed that "the stakes in eSports are… not high enough to inspire people to experiment with drugs." So this ban against Adderall shows a turning of the tide, at least when it comes to the ESL.
Many professional sporting bodies like the NFL have banned the use of Adderall, and with the drug's effects being so uncannily well-suited for eSports competitors, it was only a matter of time before these drug-banning rules would come into play. Whether other gaming leagues and tournaments like SK Gaming or EVO will start banning the use of Adderall too is unclear, but with the top-level prizes closing around the million-dollar mark, this issue would need to be something that eSports will need to consider to protect the integrity of fair play as well as the players from the negative side effects of unhealthy, persistent use of amphetamines.