Essay On Drugs In Sport

The Impact of Performance Enhancing Drugs on Sports Essay

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The Impact of Performance Enhancing Drugs on Sports

One of the major issues in the news recently has been the use of performance enhancing substances in sports. This topic has been the subject of many front-page headlines in many publications, from sports magazines to newspapers. A recent scandal involving a San Francisco Bay Area laboratory, BALCO Laboratories, has brought this issue to the forefront, and it's really gotten a lot of attention because this case has led to a 42 count federal indictment by the U.S. Attorney General.[1] Another question can be asked as well: Should these performance-enhancing substances be allowed in sports?

First of all, what exactly are performance-enhancing substances? They are just what they…show more content…

Late that summer, a bottle of androstenedione, a steroid that is produced by the body but is considered a banned substance by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, was found in McGwire?s locker. Because Major League Baseball did not consider androstenedione a banned substance, he could use it without penalty, but questions were raised about the legitimacy of any records he may have set. The other problem regarding androstenedione is the lack of testing that has been performed on it.[4]

The Problems with Steroids

What are the problems with steroid use? First, one needs to understand why steroids are used to begin with. The main reason why athletes take steroids, as mentioned above, is to increase muscle mass and endurance while training for or participating in a sport. One might ask, ?Don?t they test athletes to make sure they don?t use them?? In some cases, sports agencies do. For example, the United States Olympic Committee, in their publication Selected National Anti-Doping Policies, they list when tests are to be administered and what the regulations are for each type of drug and for each sport.[5] However, the problem that faces drug testers are what are known as designer drugs, or drugs that are made to avoid showing up on a drug test. What is an even bigger problem is how easy it is to modify substances normally found in the body into a substance that can be

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Drugs In Sports


Top sport associations such as IOC (International Olympic Committee) have been battling to eliminate drugs from sports with the aid of WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). With drugs still dominating sports headlines it becomes clear that drugs are still being used by many.


There are many benefits that drugs can achieve for athletes. The most common uses of drugs in sports include:

  • Performance enhancers
  • Relaxing after an event
  • Boost confidence
  • Pain killers
  • Weight control

Even though there are benefits for athletes to take drugs, there are far more risks and side effects.


Due to the amount of reasons for taking drugs, there are too many side effects to be listed here. The most common kind of drugs that athletes are known to take are steroids that are used as performance enhancers. The side effects of steroids can include:

  • Reduced sperm count
  • Impotence
  • Aggression
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Heart problems
  • Liver and Kidney Damage
  • Failing a drug test

Failing a drug test may not be a side effect as such but this can go on to ruin the career of any athlete that is caught taking drugs.


Regular drug tests are carried out by sports associations such as the IOC to try and prevent drugs from being used unfairly. A panel of doctors, athletics and sports officials are often used to review any positive drug tests and decide the outcome between them.

A first positive result will often carry a sentence of penalties of the competitive season but the athlete is often still allowed to compete. If an athlete is tested positive on more than one occasion then more serious consequences can be given. These consequences can include:

  • One year ban from competition
  • Loss of scholarship or sponsorship
  • Lifetime ban from completion

In addition to the consequences that are given by the official sports association, further consequences of public knowledge and humiliation are often given. This happens as many top athletes with positive results have hit sports headlines.


It is true that taking drugs can benefit athletes in many ways however there is much publicity that surrounds the practice of illegal drug taking. With the measures that are in place, the risks far outweigh the benefits. On top of this there are many side effects that can cause long term health complications.

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