Performance Enhancing Drug

There are many powerful forces in the world, but few are as powerful in sports as this. It

is so powerful that 50% of athletes would keep using this knowing it would kill them. This force is

so powerful that 40% of professional athletes use them (Bohan 21). This force is performance

enhancing drugs.

There are many reasons for taking performance enhancing drugs. The first is and most

obvious facto is the improved performance. Another is pressure for results. That factor is the

leading reason for taking drugs. Another factor is money. Since the main users of the drugs are

professional athletes, who need results for money, they are usually the select few that can afford


The reasons for not using the drugs are more numerous and considerably more

dangerous than the reasons for taking them. The most sever, of course, is death. One example of

this tragic end is Florence Griffith Joyner’s death. Though she was tested and found with no drugs

in her system, she was rumored to have taken small doses of anabolic steroids during her

illustrious track and field career. Another reason is many health risks, many not resulting in death

though. These include stoppage of growth, loss of bodily functions, dehydration, and many more.

Plus, these drugs are illegal in sports. Many are available only through a doctor’s prescription for

certain diseases.

The sport that sees the highest rate of competitors using performance enhancing drugs is

bodybuilding. Many of these athletes were skinny and not very popular during their high school

years. They use the steroids to bulk up and create a shield against the criticism. Due to this fact

of psychological instability and the effect of the steroids, a violent person is created from a once

calm person. This has been illustrated in the many murders involving bodybuilders recently.

An example of one of these murders was the murder of Kristy Ramsey. She was engaged

to Gordon Kimbrough, with whom she won the 1991 USA pairs bodybuilding title. After she

admitted to have an affair, Kimbrough strangled and stabbed her twice, and afterwards tried to dill

himself. “According to a family member, Kimbrough was meek and shy when not on steroids and

became short-tempered and violent when using them” (Harris 99).

There are many types of performance enhancing drugs. Stimulants, which include

amphetamines, cause you to “speed up” too much. In large doses stimulants override a person’s

normal felling of exhaustion, which causes people to push themselves too hard. Strong

painkillers are another type of performance enhancing drug. The increase a person’s pain barrier

and are extremely addictive, resulting in permanent injury. Anabolic steroids cause heart attacks,

growth stoppage and violent outbursts. Women develop deep voices and facial hair if taken too

long. Many snooker (pool) players use beta-blockers, which slows the beating of the heart. This

helps them stay calm in pressure situations. A side effect of this drug is bonchospasm, which

causes the lungs to tighten, making it difficult to breath. Diuretics are used to remove water from

the body, which improves muscle tone and subtracts weight from water in the body. Taking this

drug can cause serious dehydration, sometimes resulting in death.

I believe all performance enhancing drugs should be banned from sports. There are just

too many risks to athletes taking them. But that is a very unlikely scenario, mainly because testing

can’t keep up with the new drugs being produced. New drugs are created everyday. This is

illustrated by Mark McGwire’s historic home run binge. Before this year, nobody knew about

androstenedione. McGwire admitted to taking the drug, which helps build muscle. His record

will forever have an asterisk beside it because of that fact. But if these drugs are banned, you will

soon see all of the asterisk disappear from the record books.


Bohan, Janet. Drugs in Sports. New York: Broderbund Publishing Company, 1988.

Harris, Gary. “Brady Hits Em in Bunches.” Sports Illustrated. April 28, 1997, pp. 96-106.

Reilly, Rick. “Muscle Murders.” Sports Illustrated. May 18, 1998, pp. 99-107.

Encarta Encyclopedia. Microsoft, 1998.

Word Count: 678

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