Athletes And Drug Use Essay, Research Paper
Many people believe that drug use in professional athletics is not a serious problem, however it is more widespread and serious than people think. In professional athletics the use of drugs is looked upon as somewhat of a serious problem, but is also very discrete and low key. Every once in a while one might see a prominent figure in a certain sport being reprimanded for the use of some outlawed drug, however this is just one of the many who happened to get caught. Athletes today seem to find no moral problem with using performance-enhancing drugs, or in other words cheating. Also many of them feel that because they are “stars” there should be no repercussions for their illegal activity.
Today, drug use in sport has reached enormous proportions in society and is destroying athletics from the ground up. Nowhere is the problem more serious than in professional athletics, where athletes, coaches and trainers misuse drugs in search of ways of ways to improve performance. Many athletes fail to take their time when making the decision whether to use drugs to their advantage. Unfortunately athletes may use drugs for therapeutic indications, recreatio9nal or social reasons, as muscular aids or to mask the presence of other drugs during drug testing. But the safety of the athlete’s health is being neglected. Drug use has led to an increased number of deaths and suspensions of athletes. Also, if this continues all athletes someday will have to choose whether to compete at a world-class level and take drugs, or compete at a club level and be clean. In sports, athletes, coaches and trainers will try their best to find a way to reach the top level. They not only search for a way to enhance performance but most of them have aspiring Olympians to train. It is no secret that performance enhancing drugs have been used by Olympians for decades, or that athletes will do almost anything to gain a competitive edge. (Drugs in Sport)
According to Dr. Charles E. Yesalis, a professor health and human development at Penn St. University, “drug use among athletes has gone dramatically up in recent years. Athletes also are becoming more venturesome about mixing different types of drugs. One reason is that new drugs keep coming on the market, and some turn out to be of help in giving athletes a competitive edge. Sports officials feel they have no choice but to try to combat drug use in sports with every legitimate weapon at their command. They are motivated in part by concern for athletes’ well being. Most performance-enhancing agents have side effects that can pose an immediate or long-range threat to health. But the officials are driven by self-interest too. If the public perceive major sports to be hopelessly drug-ridden, attendance and television viewership is likely to plummet. And thatcould lead to financial ruin for athletes and promoters alike. The monetary stakes are higher today than ever before. Many of the top athletes damned very high salaries, and a select few demand huge additional sums for product endorsement. Pro team owners, meanwhile, are constantly scrambling for more income from broadcasting and other sources to meet their massive payrolls and still turn a profit. A series of drug scandals might well cause media outlets and corporate sponsors to re-evaluate their financial commitment to sports. Similar trends are under way at the Olympics. Relaxation of International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules on amateurism has opened the games to athletes whose chief livelihood is sport. This, in turn, has brought increasing emphasis on winning and breaking records. Sine there is often little difference among top athletes in any sport, even a fractional improvement in performance may be decisive in championship events. Gaining the slight competitive edge can lead to substantial increase in performance and endorsement fees. Many athletes have concluded that the quickest way to reach these goals is through performance-enhancing drugs. (Athletes and Drugs)
Sprinter Ben Johnson’s ban from the Olympic games, in 1988 set off a flurry of bureaucratic activity and official hand-wringing, but a decade later it is clear that Johnson’s fall from grace was no turning point, merely part of a continuum and, in some insidious way, inspiring. How else can it be explained that in 1995, when 200 elite—-mostly American—-athletes were polled on whether they would take a banned performance-enhancing substance if they would win and not be caught, 195 said they would do it. The athletes were also asked what they would do if a banned substance guaranteed they would win every competition they entered for the next five years and then later cause them to die from side effects. Fifty percent said they would take the substance. That is what professional athletics is dealing with nowadays. These young and gifted people have a case of tunnel vision and an oddly persuasive and self-soothing moral escape hatch: If other people are taking these drugs, why shouldn’t I? (Is drug use a problem in sports)
Like other people, athletes take drugs for a variety of reasons. Recreational use covers all those occasions when drugs are taken to “get high” or “have fun.” Drug use for the purpose of pain relief also is widespread among athletes, virtually all of whom suffer injuries of some sort during their careers. The ability to “play hurt,” much prized by coaches and fans, is often reinforced by painkillers and tranquilizers. In most cases, athletes take drugs for performance enhancement. This can mean a number of different things, depending upon the sport. Weightlifters, bodybuilders and football linemen want to put on more muscle; sprinters want to make a more explosive start out of the blocks. Cyclists and long-distance runners seek greater endurance. Some performance-enhancing drugs are effective only if taken shortly before the beginning of the athletic contest. Other performance-enhancers serve mainly as training aids. By helping muscles to recuperate more quickly from exhaustion or injury, these substances enable users to train for longer periods of time at high intensity. Nearly all drugs used in organized sports have potentially serious side-effects, and some athletes decline to use them for that reason. But other athletes take these drugs with little or no hesitation. To a large extent, their attitude has been shaped by society. “Drugs are used to soothe pain, relieve anxiety, help us to sleep, keep us awake, lose or gain weight,” For many problems, people rely on drugs rather than seeking alternative coping methods. It is not surprising that athletes should adopt similar attitudes. (Athletes and Drugs)
Athletes may also turn to drugs to relieve stress generated by the conflicting demands of sports competition and ordinary life. People boosting their egos surround athletes and tell Them they are invulnerable to the ordinary pressures we all face. An athlete has to deal with the disjunction between the outside world, which says they are exceptional, and what they feel inside, which is they are just as human as the rest of us. Still, the nature of sports competition provides the main reason for athletes to turn to drugs. Professional athletes are ideal targets for drug use. They fall within the susceptible age group, 20 to 35. They receive large salaries. They have free time due to short length of professional seasons. (Athletes and Drugs)
In order to solve the complex problem of drug abuse in sports, we need a comprehensive drug policy developed by all those concerned. Under such a policy, athletes would make a concentrated effort not to use any drugs in sports. These policies have to be straightforward. If the problem of drug abuse in sport is not avoided, more and more athletes will not only continue using any drugs but will become dependent. For example, athletes might have to take drugs every day to reach their goals. Since sports mirror society, the field of competition is a stage where athletes enact social values. And if winning is everything, some athletes may try anything to win. Athletes should realize that the possibility of winning is not worth the risk. The possibility of acute illness or long-term consequence is not worth the short-term gain. Athletes should also think about their short-term in sport when they retire, and ask will someone or companies hire them. Would a company want someone who has previously used drugs to be at the head of their business. Athletes will pay for their physical and emotional sacrifices because athletes serve as role models of behavior against which our own and our children’s lives are measured. Thousands of children are emulating Ben Johnson, regardless of the physical and personal consequences. This will effect society especially, for the teenagers. It will send them the wrong message that will lead them down a wrong path. If the culture of a sport is tied to marijuana, anabolic steroids, or other illegal, this will in essence be saying that it’s ok to do drugs. (Drugs in Sports)
It is not enough to tell athletes that drugs are wrong, the drug supply must be cut off to guarantee the extinction of drug use among athletes. For obvious reasons, none of the performance-enhancing substances favored by athletes are obtainable over-the-counter at the corner drugstore. Nonetheless, supplies of the more popular usually stay in rough balance with demand. Steroids provide a current case in point. Over the past three years a number of federal and state laws have been enacted for the purpose curbing steroid use and distribution. A major frustration for drug enforcement authorities is that many of the steroids come from abroad. U.S. athletes obtain steroids from four main sources, doctors, friends, mail-order firms and the black market. Most of the drugs come form underground laboratories in the U.S. and foreign countries, mainly Mexico. Also, steroids that originate in such labs often contain unknown ingredients. Physicians account for only a very small percent of illicit steroid traffic. A study of steroid users who competed in the 1987 national championships of the U.S. Powerlifting Federation found that 73 percent identified the “Black Market” as their drug source. Through investigations conducted since 1985, the Justice Department and the FDA have observed significant changes in the distribution of steroids. At the beginning, people without prior criminal records diverted legally produced steroids of domestic origin to black market channels. Next came smuggling into the U.S of steroids manufactured abroad; domestic production of counterfeit steroids in underground labs; and finally, the black market in steroids operates in all parts of the country. Less is known about the ways athletes obtain other major performance-enhancing drugs. Limited amounts of synthetic human growth hormone (HGH) are available from illicit sources for $500 to $1′500 per unit, a price range that reflects the great gap between supply and demand. There are three main reasons why so little of the drug finds it way into the black market. First, the technical knowledge required to make HGH is not widely diffused, even within the pharmaceutical industry. Second, building a facility to produce the drug illegally would be prohibitively expensive. Finally, the company’s strict distribution controls have been highly effective so far. (Athletes and Drugs)
In conclusion, drug in professional athletics is a major problem facing society today. Not only are the athletes themselves at fault, but coaches, trainers and even owner push the use of illegal drugs to new highs every day. This problem needs to be remedied, and remedied quickly. However, their in no quick fix to this problem.. Not only is it becoming more easy to acquire these drugs, but also the drugs themselves are becoming harder to detect. These problems make it very difficult to remove illegal drug use from sports, and there is still one single problem, which eclipses all others. Today athletes find no moral wrong in taking drugs to achieve victory, or in essence cheating. This is the single greatest facing professional athletics, until the moral views of the athletes change nothing can be done to correct any of the other problems that face the wide world of sports.
Ho, Oi Yuen. Drugs In Sports: Should Athletes use Drug s in Sports.
Online Internet. 12 Apr, 2000. Available URL: http://www.uwinnipeg.ca/~caw/cwl/student-wrk/15-min-fame/oho.htm
“IOC accuses U.S. pro sports of ignoring dope testing.” Online Internet. 2 Feb, 1998.
Available URL: http://www.canoe.ca/SlamNaganoNewsArchive/feb2_pro.html
“Is drug use a problem in sports.” Sports and Athletes, Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Laura
K. Egendorf: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1999
“Ravens DT to Be Suspended NFL.” Online Internet. 11 Apr, 2000 Available URL:
Worsnop, Richard L. “Athletes And Drugs.” CQ Researcher. 1991 ed.
Wyche, Steve. “NAB Says Andro Will Be Banned.” Washington Post 31 Mar. 2000,
late ed. D01 Washington Post Online: http://Washingtonpost.com/cgi-bin/g?ni/print&articleid=A49858-2000Mar