Steroids and Performance Enhancing Supplements
The use of performance-enhancing supplements among athletes should be banned from all athletic sports and competition, in that it provides an unfair advantage over other athletes trying to excel naturally. Performance-enhancing drugs are a controversial topic in today’s society, which are currently under debate. Performance-enhancing drugs are substances, which are used to stimulate certain areas of the body to make an athlete excel in a certain event. A performance enhancing supplement is defined by Edward Dolan in his book Drugs and Sports as “any substance or method used to enhance athletic performance”. The most common form of performance-enhancing supplements are called steroids.
According to Hank Nuwer in his book Steroids, steroids are anabolic drugs that build growth hormones that include the androgens (male sex hormones) principally testosterone and estrogen and progestogens (female sex hormones). Steroids were first developed for medical purposes. Steroids are compounds that are necessary for the well being of many living creatures, including human beings. These include sex hormones, bile acids, and cholesterol (Nuwer 17).
In addition to the medical use, another purpose of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs are that they are used by athletes to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors. They also use them to keep up with the competition since so many athletes are using these types of drugs. These desired effects range from increasing muscle size and strength, to decreasing fatigue, providing quick temporary weight gain, inhibiting growth, and even simple pain relief (Lupica 24). The most common kind of performance-enhancing drugs are Nelvar, Deca-Durabolin, Anavar, Stanzolol, Dianabol and Anadrol-50 (Nuwer 19). These drugs are much more dangerous then legal performance enhancing drugs because the athletes take more than the recommended doses that would be prescribed by a doctor. Athletes feel that the more pills or injections they take the stronger, faster, and the better they will perform when competing, but this is not always true. The effects of steroids on the human body are well recorded; they could permanently damage the heart and liver, stunt growth and change sexual characteristics (Green 81).
Performance-enhancing drugs and steroids have been proven harmful to ones health according to many studies. Yet, women and men are still willing to risk their health and their lives in order to win and stay competitive in the world of sports. These products have also been linked to causing some forms of cancer. Due to these hazards, many performance-enhancing drugs have been banned in certain national and international sports, such as the NFL, NBA, ABA, WNBA, CFL, AFL and the Olympics. Although these performance-enhancing supplements are banned, this does not mean that athletes participating in these sports do not take them, however. Professional athletic sports are a major area in which performance-enhancing drugs are used. Although some people use them just to try to make themselves look bigger and better, most people use them to help keep up with the competition in athletic events. The use of performance-enhancing supplements and drugs gives the user an unfair advantage over their competition through achieving strength in a shorter amount of time. The main purpose of performance-enhancing supplements is to get bigger and better faster. Unfortunately, it is not just the major athletes in pro sports and in the Olympics who use these drugs.
Steroids should remain illegal because they physically deteriorate the whole body system. In women steroids contribute to the growth of facial hair, enlargements of the clitoris, shrinkage of the uterus, sterility, deepening of the voice, decrease in breast size and irregularity of the menstrual cycle (Meer 61). In men steroids cause shrinkage of the testicles, decreases in sperm count, sterility, impotence, prostate enlargement and growth of female breast. In both men and women hair loss, liver ailments, acne, and cancer are very common. The side effects and reactions from the usage of anabolic steroids are endless.
Along with the physical problems, there are also mental reactions associated with the usage of steroids. This drug becomes very addictive and damaging to the mind. It causes violent episodes, which an athlete can claim, a legal insanity defense as Jonathan Harris reports in his book Drugged Athletes. Research has also discovered that steroids cause psychotic side effects sometimes referred to as "roid rage".
Overall, the usage of steroids is very damaging to the human body. Although it physically builds up the body for better performance, the risks of usage are enormous. Steroids physically deteriorate and mentally destroy the body. The use of steroids provides an unfair advantage to non-user athletes and therefore should remain illegal for non-medical use. Drugs in sports can cost a player his or her scholarship(s) and more seriously, their lives.
Drug testing of athletes needs to become more effective to clamp down on supplement use. A recent clinical survey taken on the drug testing policies in colleges shows that out of two hundred and forty-five schools, only twenty-nine percent of those schools reported drug testing (Bamberger 63). 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. Many of the world-class athletes are able to adjust their normal dosage so they can escape detection (Reilly 42). According To Hank Nuwer, most of the professional leagues and the NCAA have lists of banned drugs and testing procedures. I think that drug testing should be a mandatory event in every college whether or not it is an invasion of their privacy. Finally, steroids and other performance enhancing supplements should be banned in every sport regardless of it’s obvious or subtle physical demands. Every athlete in every sport wants to be in the best physical condition as possible and those who are stupid enough to risk their lives for a small gain should not be rewarded.
Word Count: 975
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