Athletes caught using the ADHD drug Adderall face suspensions, but that’s not the case in the world of esports.
Canadian pro gamer Kory Friesen, also knows as Semphis, talked openly in an interview this week about his use of Adderall when playing the first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. He implied that use of the drug — prescribed to sufferers of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy but also thought to give increased focus to non-sufferers — is widespread in pro gaming circles. It’s a concern for backers of esports — a market worth an estimated $465 million by 2017 — that hope it can earn widespread acceptance as a genuine sporting spectacle.
“The ESL [Electronic Sports League] comms were kinda funny in my opinion,” said Friesen, talking to fellow pro gamer Mohan Govindasamy, known as Launders, about a recent CS:GO tournament. “I don’t even care. We were all on Adderall. I don’t even give a fuck. It was pretty obvious, like, if you listen to the comms. People can hate it or whatever.”
“Everyone does Adderall at [competitive gaming tournament] ESEA LAN, right?” asked Govindasamy, to which Friesen replied, “Yeah.”
“Just throwing that out there for the fans,” added Govindasamy. “That’s how you’re good.”
Adderall is a combination of amphetamines and dextroamphetamines that can be habit-forming and can have serious side effects. In recent years, people have started using it “off label” as a neuro-enhancing drug.