Guidelines on the use of Alcohol and Prescription Medications


Alcohol and Sport don’t mix well.

If you take sport seriously then be aware of the effects of alcohol.

Alcohol slows down reaction times, increases body heat loss and reduces stamina. If you have consumed alcohol within 48 hours of training or a competition your performance will be impaired.


Sugar in the blood is the source of energy for all body functions. Alcohol reduces the body’s ability to produce this sugar and as a result lowers the capacity to concentrate for long periods of time or to perform strenuous activity.

Body heat loss:

Alcohol affects the body’s temperature regulation and can lead to increased heat loss; this can result in hypothermia if you are shooting an outdoor competition. The longer you shoot or train, or the colder the weather, the greater the risk.

Reaction times:

The relaxant properties of alcohol can continue well after you have finished drinking. Alcohol affects the central nervous system and slows down the information transfer and processing ability of the brain. This in turn affects your speed of reaction, coordination,accuracy, sight and balance – all the things most important for staying on top in any sport.

Sport injuries:

Alcohol increases the bleeding and swelling around soft tissue injuries (sprains, bruises and cuts, which are most common sport injuries) so you take longer to recover. Alcohol also masks pain making the need for treatment seem less urgent; rapid treatment reduces recovery time. If you have been injured, avoid alcohol.

Muscle cramps:

During exercises your muscles burn sugar and produce lactic acid. Too much lactic acid leads to muscle fatigue and cramps. The alcohol left in your system after a few drinks the night before contributes to the lactic acid loading and dramatically increases the risk of cramps.

Vitamin and mineral loss:

The B-group of vitamins and minerals such as zinc are involved with the conversion of food into energy and also help to repair body tissue after injury. Even small amounts of alcohol reduce the levels of these vitamins and minerals in the blood stream.

Some points to think about

The consumption of alcohol before, during or after sport is strongly discouraged. Alcohol has no positive effect on achievement. Alcohol, even in very small amounts causes blood vessels to dilate and consequently the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body. Muscles get less energy and the result is reduced performance. (example: The speed of a sprinter (100m) has been shown to reduce by 10% after drinking two glasses of alcohol)

Consider your alcohol consumption

One unit, a glass of beer (200cc), wine (100cc),or spirits (35 cc) contains 10-12 grams of alcohol. To metabolise one unit of alcohol takes between 1 and 1.5 hours. Eating a sandwich, taking a cold shower or drinking coffee does not speed up this process.

Alcohol taken within 48 hours of training or of a competition has a negative influence on achievement. Small quantities of alcohol can arguably reduce muscle shaking and anxiety, or ‘target fright’, and for these reasons alcohol is included in anti-doping regulations. If an athlete’s blood alcohol level is greater than what it would be without drinking alcohol at all then the athlete concerned is likely to fall foul of these regulations. When someone has drunk alcohol the night before a competition or training, there can still be too much alcohol in the system the following day.

Alcohol reduces blood sugar levels.

Alcohol causes dehydration.

Check Your Meds

Guidelines on Anti-doping

All members of the Archery Ireland should be aware that all events organised by, or on behalf of the Archery Ireland/FITA are subject to the World Anti Doping Authority (WADA) rules. All training camps and competitions are notified to the Anti-doping section of FITA and the details of all major Archery Ireland events are notified to the Irish Sports Council. The main purpose of these rules is to protect the health and welfare of all people who participate in the sport, as well as ensuring fair play and integrity.

For full details of these rules see the FITA web site or the Irish Sports Council web site These sites list all prohibited substances.


All people from time to time require medication for their health and well being. If you need medication consult your doctor or pharmacist for advice, or check out This site provides free Irish specific, accurate, up to date, comprehensive information and is designed to support, not replace the relationship between the user and his/her pharmacist and/or medical doctor. All the information relates to products that are available in Irish Pharmacies.

Therapeutic Use Exemptions “TUEs”

WADA regulations permit a scheme for Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) which is available for athletes who need treatment with a substance on the Prohibited list. These forms are available from the Irish Sports Council, (web site or direct mail). International Level archers need a FITA TUE as well. Before applying for a TUE, please check that the substance you are using is on the prohibited list. This will save you money (as your doctor must complete and sign the form) and will also the time of the Irish Sports Council. TUEs should be completed at least 21 days in advance of competition.

Standard Therapeutic Use Exemption

Is completed where an athlete requests permission to use a prohibited substance or method for medical reasons.

Abbreviated Therapeutic Use Exemption

Should be completed in the case of certain beta-2 agonists (formoterol, salbutamol,salmeterol and terbutaline 0 by inhalation, and non systemic glucocorticosteroids.(Relates to asthma inhalors mostly)


FITA impose very strict rules on the level of alcohol allowed in any breath or urine sample. The consumption of alcohol on the day of an event will put the athlete over the allowable limit; indeed consumption of alcohol on the day prior to an event could result in failure of a breath analysis.


Many people take supplements which are available in shops, health stores, supermarkets and pharmacies. These often lack complete information about the contents. If you use supplements you should enquire from the manufacturer as to their specific contents. These may be listed on the web site.

Personal Responsibility.

All athletes are ultimately responsible for what they consume or inhale. If you take any medication or supplements it is your responsibility to educate yourself as to their contents. Advice is available on the web site or the website.