Drugs In Sports Essay, Research Paper
Drugs in sports can cost a player his or her scholarship(s) and more seriously, their lives. Everyday athletes that you may not think are doing anabolic steroids or the human growth hormone are the athletes who are the big users. 1. There are three major performance enhancing drugs that are used by the super star athletes: anabolic steroids, amphetamine, and the human growth hormone pills. 2. These performance enhancing are found in just about all fifty states and the problem is rapidly growing. 3. In almost every type of sport there is one form or another of performance enhancing drugs. Some of the most common sports you will find them in are the power/strength sports and the endurance sports. 4. Athletes may come up with the strangest ways of using the drugs that can sometimes be a major threat to their lives. 5. Drug testing is a way for the sports officials to weed out the users and severally punish them by throwing them off the team and sometimes expelling them from school. Performance enhancing drugs have a major impact on sports and athletes. The sports of today are experiencing more problems with performance enhancing drugs mainly because of the popularity of the three most common drugs: anabolic steroids, amphetamine, and the human growth hormone. Many of the so called jocks that play the rough and tough sports like football are the ones who are using anabolic steroids. There are different effects for men and women but all of the problems are very serious. Males are subject to hair loss, acne and liver cancer which can be a life threatening disease. Females are exposed to growth of body and facial hair and they are also liable to contract deepening of the voice. Gaining that little bit of competitiveness can lead to greater increases in performance. Steroids increase muscle mass and strength which helps athletes recover quicker from injuries. The most common sports where you would find the anabolic steroids are in body building, football, track & field power events and weightlifting. Another (1) performance enhancing drug is amphetamine. Amphetamine also has very serious side effects in the male and female body. Both males and females can experience feelings of anxiety and restlessness along with a rapid heartbeat and heavy breathing. Amphetamines, as with any other performance drug, can become addictive. Athletes use the drug amphetamine to boost their alertness and in fighting of fatigue in sports. This type of drug is found in all sports except for the sports where very intense concentration is required. The last of the three most popular enhancement drugs is the human growth hormone (HGH). Like the previous two drugs, HGH also has major side effects that can permanently damage an athlete. HGH in men and women can cause the thickness of skin, can damage the internal organs, and the bones and facial features. More seriously use of HGH can lead to diabetes, heart disease and possibly a shortened life span. The human growth hormone is known as a steroid substitute and is used primarily in the sports where steroids are used. HGH is a popular drug because it is undetectable in urine, therefore athletes tend to use this drug because there will be no trace of the drug after a game or race. Performance enhancing drugs can have a very serious impact on the public. If the public reaches the point where they find that sports revolve around just drugs and less athleticism, the television viewers and attendance at sports contests will fall very quickly. If this does happen it may lead to financial problems for the athletes. Drug scandals may cause the media and athletic sponsors to re-think their commitment to that specific sport. Performance enhancing drugs are found in almost every type of athletic organization: pro sports, college sports, high schools (where it is very popular), through coaches, other athletes and the black market. In professional sports it is very likely to see them while athletes are in the training stages before their season begins. It is very common to see the performance drugs being used by the rookies (2) as well. A young football player using amphetamine pills miss-snapped the ball three times in one game (Murray, 25). Another large part of the use of performance enhancing drugs is in colleges. College athletes take a big risk in using these types of drugs because they can jeopardize the scholarships that they have worked so hard to earn. They can also be thrown out of school if it is necessary. The one place where performance enhancing drugs are on the uprise is in high schools. Athletes hear about the pros using the drugs and they see the difference it makes, but what they don’t know or don’t care about are the long term effects. The effects on teenagers are similar to the effects on adults. If a teenager starts out using at this young age and constantly uses, they will never be able to stop because of the addictiveness the drug has on them. Over eight hundred high schoolers use anabolic steroids (Goldwire). The athletes that are the biggest users are the football and track athletes who are not only trying to bulk up, but are also looking for a way for them to improve their stamina and attract the attention of the college and pro scouts. Athletes receive the drugs from their coaches because the coaches want the strong and tough kids to be the ones who stand out. Most of the time coaches also encourage players to use just so that their team can overpower the rest of the teams and win the easy way. In the end though it can really hurt the team and the reputation that the school might have because they are winning the cheap way. When other athletes use performance enhancing drugs they can sometimes force a teammate to use. Most of the time, the athletes on the team distribute the drugs so that it can improve the team. A study found that seventy percent of users got their drugs from the black market as their drug source. The black market was defined as other athletes and gym owners and managers (Worsnop, 521). The cost of drugs is another major factor that the athletes have to think about before they get to involved in the performance scene. The cost of drugs can be very high or very low (3) depending on the source of the drug and what type of drug it is. Lyle Alzado said, “It cost me a lot of money, $4000 for sixteen weeks just for the growth hormone. At times in my career I probably spent $20,000 to $30,000 a year on different stuff (Smith, 25). There are performance enhancing drugs in almost every sport. Football has reported the highest use with ten percent, track and field follows with four percent, and basketball, two percent (Goldwire). Cycling has also become a sport where performance drugs are found. Cyclists used the drugs not only in training but to aid them in their races to give them that extra mile. Many athletes competing in the Olympic games tend to use the performance enhancers a lot. They probably think since they [performance drugs] got them this far, why stop now when they could win a gold medal. In the ‘92 Olympics the banned drugs most frequently used were anabolic steroids(57%), stimulants(22%), narcotics(8%), diuretics(5%), masking agents(1%) and beta-blockers(1%)(Goldwire). Antihistamines and decongestants are also on the Olympics banned substance list. Athletes come up with new and different ways of using drugs to enhance their performance without getting caught. Athletes use the drugs in cycles. They use the drug in cycles of six to twelve weeks, followed by six to several months of being drug-free, this is known as cycling. Athletes start off with a low dosage and then gradually increase to the highest point of use, this is called pyramiding (Goldwire). Performance enhancing drugs can either be taken orally or they can be injected. Lyle Alzado explained that “the injected type is usually injected into the butt so that there are no visible scars” (Smith, 22). Oral forms include Winstrol, Anavar and Dianabol. Athletes can easily overdose on these types of drugs which can cause serious heath injury and/or possibly death. The recommended dosage for oral forms is 2.5 milligrams to 10 milligrams per day. Athletes have been known to (4) take up to 400 milligrams. Athletes are told to use the drug once every three to four weeks, but heavy users usually use twice a week. Anabolic steroid users have been known to take twenty times the prescribed dosage (Murray, 25). Many sports facilities have rules and regulations against drug use, so the teams and organizations perform drug tests to eliminate the drug problem in the organizations. I think that the use of drug tests is a good idea to discharge the players that have a drug abuse problem. Players today have the urge to use the performance enhancing drugs to make themselves perform at a higher level. With all the drugs in sports today the games seem almost useless to play because the advantage that the users have over the true competitors is unfair. Cocaine and amphetamines are the drugs that are most frequently tested for in colleges (Fields, Lange, Kreiter, & Fudala, 683). Sports officials have found different strategies for combating drug abuse by athletes (Worsnop, 516). Drug testing is also very ineffective because many athletes get passed over for drug testing. The popular athletes and the world record holders are the ones who get passed over, to avoid drug scandals. This is done to protect someone else in their organization from getting caught (Ungerleider, 52). The drug situation in sports today is horrible and part of that is because only certain athletes abide by the rules. A clinical survey was taken on the drug testing policies in colleges and the study showed that out of two hundred and forty-five schools, only twenty-nine percent of those schools reported drug testing (Fields, Lange, Kreiter, & Fudala, 683). The use of these terrible drugs is very high in colleges which is sad because kids are going to throw their athletic talent out the window with the use of the performance enhancing drugs. The clinical survey also stated that sixty percent of the schools conducting positive tests must be referred to the team physician or drug treatment center. Forty-five percent of the schools said that treatment was required to remain active on the team and thirty-one percent said another (5) consequence of testing positive was dismissal from the team. Thirty percent gave a temporary leave to athletes and twenty-six percent revoked the athletes’ scholarships. With all the new drugs out on the market it is virtually impossible to have tests that can identify all the different drugs. Athletes have come up with new ways to escape positive testing. Athletes can take the performance drugs shortly before their race to increase their chances, but the one drawback to this is that they can be easily detected through the athletes’ urine at the end of a race. Athletes try repeatedly to escape positive detection but once they are tested positive the sports officials will be watching very carefully. After a player’s return from rehab, they are they are watched carefully by the league. Many of the world class athletes are able to adjust their normal dosage so they can escape detection (Worsnop, 516- 515). Most of the professional leagues and the NCAA have lists of banned drugs and testing procedures. In 1983, the National Basketball Association set its drug policy and it is now viewed as the most progressive in all sports. The NBA has the right to administer drug tests to players if it feels there is a need to administer one. If a player is tested positive for the use of drugs, they are banned from the NBA for two years. Players may reapply for entrance to the league with the approval of both the commissioner and the players union. In 1988 the NBA expanded its policy to include random drug testing of the rookies that enter the league in their first year. In the National Collegiate Athletic Association more than seventy substances of different types of drugs including stimulants, steroids, and street drugs are on the organization’s prohibited list. In 1990, the NCAA instituted a very stiff policy regarding steroids. The policy states that division one football players must undergo a year-round, mandatory testing for steroids on a random basis. Any player testing positive on the first offense is faced with suspension for a year and on the second (6) offense the player is handed a lifetime suspension from NCAA competition. At one time Stanford University was able to compete in sports with disregard to collegiate rules about the mandatory drug testing. Conrad Rushing a California judge said, “drug testing is invasion of the athletes privacy” (Worsnop, 528). I think that statement is very wrong because drug testing should be a mandatory event in every college whether or not it is an invasion of their privacy. It is a policy and every school should abide by the rules no matter what. Drugs in schools ruins the reputation of the school and if it continues, schools will have less kids applying and they will have no other options but to get rid of the problems of drugs. Sooner or later the drug problem will just keep growing and growing and all sports are going to lose attention. Most important, sports are going to lose the support of their fans which effect the finances of the players and organizations. Without enough financial support sports cannot survive and sports would be ruined forever.