Performance enhancing drugs in sports
Performance enhancing drugs use in sports is wrong and should be totally discouraged both at the national and international level. This is mainly due to its major negative impacts it accrues to the user’s health especially on long term basis, denial of a level playing platforms for all the players, and deprivation of the authenticity of sportsmanship. Indeed, the current trends are worrying and the sports world may be doomed, perhaps faster than we anticipate.
As Smith and Van (2009) found out in their research, the global shift of the debate with regard to adoption of sports enhancing drugs is not only misguiding but highly deceptive especially to the young generation. As a result, it is the view of this paper that stronger measures to prevent use of performance enhancing drugs in sports are effected and all people encouraged to discover their talents as uniquely created beings.
This essay seeks to intrinsically explore the concept and establish the salient factors that underlie performance enhancing drugs. It explores the history and statistics of the aspect globally, and evaluates the resultant negative impacts. To add to that, it examines the possible benefits and the pro-doping group’s considerations. Finally, the essay derives the possible future of drugs enhancement in sports and derives inclusive recommendation that can be used to restore the necessary sanctity and integrity of sports in the society.
3. History and statistics of doping
Though the history of performance enhancing drugs is blurred, Peterson argues that their use could date well to the mid 19th century (2007). However, it was not until 1928 that anti-doping organizations like International Amateur Athletics Federations (presently International Athletics Federation) began to get increasingly concerned with the effects of these drugs to the sports world. Over the years, modern bio-technology has seen emergence of new drugs that are much complicated, easier to use, and faster in effecting the desired effects to the user.
Though widespread campaign against their use has been strongly intensified with time, their use has steadily grown especially among the young sports aspirants. Teri, Nathaniel, and O’keeeffe (2009) indicate that the number of athletes that used sports enhancing drugs in mid 20th century had doubled by the onset of the 21st century. Teri et al (2009) continues to say that about 25% of sportsmen in the sports deliberately use performance enhancing drugs. However, there is need for more studies and categorization of the performance enhancing drugs in that, as Wilson noted, even the caffeine in the tea and chocolate ordinarily by used may have great stimulating effects (Jeff, 2005).
In US, about 10.6% of college athletes use various performance enhancing drugs as they seek to climb up the profession. The number of females using these drugs is 2.7% less than that of men in US. Use of these drugs has been reported in almost all sports but at different levels depending on the sport type and drug. Most of the athletics use steroids and erythro-proteins as they are perceived to have greater and faster effects, while human growth hormones and cocaine are increasingly gaining popularity.
4. Disadvantages of sports enhancing drugs in the society
a) Health risks
Arguably, one of the most important concerns and perhaps the main reason why use of performance drugs should not be allowed is the inherent health risks to the user. It is worth noting that most of the sports enhancing drugs are taken with the main aim of promoting energy build up and therefore enhancing creating an added advantage over the others. However, most of the have strong negative effects that are not usually revealed to the users by the seller.
Most of the steroids androgenic effects are related to assimilation of or excessive male traits by the user. According to Jeff (2005), designer steroids like tetrahydrogestrinone and desoxymethyltesterone are usually undetectable in many drug tests and may cause liver abnormalities and tumours. They are also responsible for psychiatric disorders like aggression and depression for the users. Of greater importance is the notion of addiction and higher possibilities of contracting HIV/AIDS through the injecting equipments. Besides, they strongly reduce fertility for the men, while women develop traits such as increased body hair, baldness and enlarged clitoris. Ken Caminti, the most valued 1996 National League player story possibly tells it all. Sommers (2009) points out that Camiti’s testicles shrank to the size of the peas, before succumbing to enlargement of the heart in the year 2004.
Other sports enhancing drugs like acetazolamide and spitronolactone in the diaretic group adjust the body natural balance of fluids and electrolytes thereby assisting an individual to reduce weight. These drugs have major negative effects and often cause abnormal levels of blood pressure, heart arrhythmias and potassium inhibition which are fatal at very low levels (Jeff, 2005). As indicated earlier, it is indeed very sad that most of the users are highly ignorant of the negative impacts that would result from these drugs.
Though the creatine drugs group is considered a food supplement as opposed t being a drug by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they mostly result to weight gains, muscle cramps and stomach cramps. Besides, high dosages are extremely dangerous as they may result to liver and kidney failures. It is believed that about 20% of the present college players in US use creatine drugs (Sommers, 2009).
Zachofsky and Brooks (2009) points out that cocaine at high doses act as a major stimulants for the sympathetic nervous systems and therefore mostly associated with high blood pressure and cardiac related complications. Recently, the long-time internationally known football icon Diego Maradona has developed cardiac related complications which the doctors have associated with his previous use of cocaine.
b) Ethical impacts of sports enhancing drugs use
Though critiques have increasingly pointed out the need to possibly legalize use of performance enhancing drugs, the drugs act as a direct deathbed to the sports fraternity. It is worth noting that by creating undue advantage for some people, most of the special sports talents will be obscured as their holders coil back. Zachofsky and Brooks (2009) report that after revelation of drugs use by athletes like Marion Jones and Barry Bonds, their immediate competitors felt cheated, sabotaged, and disowned by the rest of the global community. This may have killed the morale of different young people who may have taken them as their role models. In addition, their use will not only reduce the actual appreciation of the natural talents by the athletes, but will kill the audience interest.
It is worth noting that most of the drugs in use are very costly and obviously undermine the lower class athletes especially from the developing countries. Stefan (2009) argues that some sportsmen such as Pamela Jelimo the 2008 golden jackpot winner and Kamau Wanjiru the 2008 Olympic Marathon winner have been brought up in very humble backgrounds and therefore use of drugs would hinder such talents from being realized.
In addition, it is highly deceiving and extremely humiliating for those realized to have used the drugs. Teri, Nathaniel, and O’keeeffe (2009) points out that though wining is associated with all the glory, losing it, particularly due to malpractices is highly humiliating and fixes the user at perhaps lower position in terms of respect and status than they were in before in the society. Inger Miller, the US sprinter bronze winner for 60 meters world indoor championship was stripped the medal after his drug use discovery.
Huntsman and Glenn (2008) argues that even with his big accomplishment in the field, Barry Bond do not earn the necessary respect as that earned by other great sportsmen of all times like Usain Bolt of Jamaica and Catherine Dereba of Kenya. It is notable that upon her revelation that she had been using drugs, Marion Jones broke down into tears as an indication of cumulative regrets. Psychologists ague that this form of regret is especially very bad in that the affected person usually do not have effective and conclusive mechanisms of reversing the situation as the correct winners were long denied the crowns.
Use of performance enhancing drug obscures the true realization of the correct talents as most of the people tend to use drugs towards winning the most profitable sports. This is possibly the reason why games such as the athletics have been dominated by use of these drugs as new games remain less interesting (Morgan, 2007).
a) Possible positive effects demand considerations for their use
Though, much has been established on the negative side of the drugs, it is necessary to appreciate their positive side as more analysts continue to point at the need to legalize their use. To begin with, it makes an individual be able to achieve his/her dreams which could otherwise have never been realizable. By taking steroids, a player like Bosworth Brian of the Seattle Seahawks was able to play excellently which he could not have been able to previously. It is from such consideration that pro-sports enhancement drugs base their considerations emphasising that the power and glory of sports is to see extraordinary performance which should be sought through all possible means.
To add to that, researchers argue that in the modern era of biotechnology, there is need for more research into all phenomena including the effects of drugs on the human systems. Besides, they claim that such work cannot be performed effectively when such drugs are illegal and therefore out of legalized use and therefore critical analysis. Accepting their use as Smith and Ivan points out is a step of accepting the progress in modern technology (2009). However, such claims are not always true in that even other more complicated drugs and chemicals like penicillin were effectively tested without compromising human ethics.
According to Sommers (2009), by declaring these drugs illegal, the governments actually pose their citizens to greater perils of their availability in the black market. It is considered better and possibly more viable to allow the drugs in the market under strict supervision of medical experts as they will be subjected to the required standards that are less or not harmful to the people. Again it is possible to establish and monitor their use and therefore install possible counselling and recover systems for the affected. However, their access denial leads to their proliferation in the black markets which is highly perilous due to lack of standardization and wrong prescription for the users (Saluvescu, Foddy, and Clayton, 2004).
It is also notable that the cost of anti-doping tests has continuously increased a notion that analysts continue to highlight its diminishing utility. Though debatable, Stefan claims that the ethics of anti-doping control is becoming weaker and weaker in that with more sophisticated systems like gene transfer, it will be hard to detect the sports enhancing drugs (2009). Therefore, it is in this consideration that some analysts consider it better to legalize their use and therefore create a level playing field for all.
6. Conclusion and recommendations
To avoid accusations of taking sides, perhaps it can be put this way; if performance enhancing drugs are to be acceptable, all the negative effects of the drugs should be addressed totally, the drugs made available to all the people globally, and new rules established to ensure strict compliance in a highly idealistic mode.
It is in this respect that this essay, as it came out strongly in the discussion, supports the thesis statement that performance enhancing drugs use in sports is wrong and should be totally discouraged both at the national and international levels. It is important to note that under all circumstances, human life is special and should not be subjected to any perilous or degrading factor/s. It came out clearly that though pro-doping groups call for increased use of these drugs, however, their debate is highly assumptive and in most of the cases one sided as it skips the negative aspects. To add to that, the used examples bring out the highly pathetic and wanting effects the users get into as they regret of their actions.
Therefore, it is essential that anti-sports enhancing drugs organizations are strengthened both technologically and financially to detect all the forms of drugs enhancements being used in sports. To add to that, it is important to increase the current punitive measures for the users to act as strong warning to others planning to use them globally. Finally, it is important to promote cooperation of the international organizations like World Anti-doping Agency (WADA), Olympic Analytical Laboratories, and others like FIFA, WHO, International Amateur Athletics Federation to monitor and reduce these drugs use globally.
7. Reference list
Huntsman, M. Glenn, B. (2008). Winners Never Cheat: Even in Difficult Times. New York: FT Press.
Jeff, W. (2005). Performance enhancing drugs have potentially damaging effects. Retrieved from>observer.case.edu/Archives/Volume_37/Issue_15/Story_44/<
Morgan, W. (2007). “Ethics in Sports”. New York: Human Kinetics.
Peterson, G. (2007). “Drug and sportsmanship, A journal of sports ethics”.22(4): 41-46
Saluvescu, J., Foddy, B. & Clayton, (2004). Performance enhancing drugs: Why we should allow performance enhancement drugs in sports. British journal of sports medicine, 38:666-670
Smith, A. &Ivan, W. (2009). An Introduction to Drugs in Sport: Addicted to Winning? San Francisco: Taylor & Francis.
Sommers, A. (2009). College Athletics. Washington: The Rosen Publishing Group.
Stefan, S. (2009). Playbooks and Checkbooks: An Introduction to the Economics of Modern Sports. New York: Sage.
Teri, T., Nathaniel, V. & O’keeeffe, M. (2009). American Icon: The Fall of Roger Clemens and the Rise of Steroids in America’s Pastime. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
Zachofsky, D. & Brooks, R. (2009). Collecting Baseball Memorabilia: A Handbook. Los Angeles: McFarland.