Kory “SEMPHIS” Friesen, a high level, professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player, has admitted he and other members of his team at the time, Cloud9, used Adderall during a major tournament where players competed for $250,000 in prize money.
Adderall, much like Ritalin, is a psychostimulant usually used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and often abused by anyone that needs to stay concentrated for long periods of time.
Friesen said he used Adderall while speaking to Mohan "Launders" Govindasamy, who interviewed him for his show that covers eSports and Counter-Strike in particular. Govindasamy asked Friesen about his ability as a "caller," a person who communicates strategy and positioning to other players on the team.
"The ESL comms were kind of funny in my opinion," Friesen said, referring to the communication between his teammates at ESL One Katowice, the event in Poland where this match took place. Friesen then hesitates for a moment before saying: "I don't even care. We were all on Adderall. I don't even give a fuck. It was pretty obvious if you listened to the comms. People can hate it or whatever."
Then this exchange follows:
Govindasamy: Everyone does Adderall at ESEA LAN [eSports Entertainment Association League events] right?
Govindasamy: Just throwing that out there for the fans, that's how you get good.
Friesen: And you can hear it in the comms right? That's what was so funny to me. Like [people saying] "shit comms [are] so hectic." So yeah that might clear up some of the questions of why it was like that.
The ESL One Katowice tournament in question took place in March. You can watch one of the matches Friesen is talking about here. A month later, Cloud9 announced it was dropping Friesen along with another player, Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan. Not a week after that announcement, Friesen officially joined another team, Nihilum.
We know for a fact that players at the highest level of eSports use hacks in order to cheat, and some have been accused of match-fixing. There's been a lot of speculation and accusations related to Adderall use in eSports, but rarely does a player like Friesen lay it out so plainly.
The exchange starts at 7:44.
Players aren't tested for drugs and the ESL rulebook doesn't name Adderall specifically, but says that: "To play a match, be it online or offline, under the influence of any drugs, alcohol, or other performance enhancers is strictly prohibited, and may be punished with exclusion."
Earlier this year, ESL's managing director Michal Blicharz said drug abuse wasn't a big problem for the organization.
"I do know players who take Valium to calm their nerves, but that's the extent of it," Blicharz told Eurogamer. "I don't think that as a whole, players reach for drugs thinking that they will improve performance."