The Use Of Performance Enhancing Drugs In

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The Use Of Performance Enhancing Drugs In Sports Essay, Research Paper Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Sports: A Silent Epidemic They stand behind the starting blocks, rigid and serious; the tension is palpable. Without a sound, the athletes step onto the starting block; the only barrier remaining between them and Olympic gold is some fifty meters of cool, clear water. They know that in less than twenty-two seconds, the race will be over; the difference between the winner and the loser measured by a margin of a few thousandths of a second. At their inspirational best, the Olympic Games affirm the beauty and glory of sport. As we watch extraordinary athletes compete and achieve feats of incredible strength, speed, and agility, we are moved to awe. But to see these performances

athletic besieged by assertions of the rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs among athletes puts the essence of athletic competition at risk. Many athletes who compete and win based solely on talent and determination are viewed with skepticism. As sports are becoming increasingly more competitive and profitable, athletes of all levels are questioning how they can continue to improve. These athletes are exploring new options in training, technique, and nutrition as a means to gain a competitive edge. Increasingly, athletes are incorporating performance-enhancing supplements and ergogenic aides into their fitness regime when their natural ability has been fully developed. As more and more athletes turn to drugs to enhance their performance, the question becomes what role

should performance-enhancing drugs play in sports? Like 86% of Americans, I disapprove of drug use and doping in sports. I believe the deliberate use of performance-enhancing drugs should be banned and that stricter sanctions regarding the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs should be implemented on an international level. While the use of dietary aids to enhance athletic prowess is centuries old, research indicates that today s highly competitive athletic world is causing youth performance-enhancing drug use to grow significantly. Studies by Our National Drug Control Strategy (ONDCS) show that steroid use among twelfth grade females jumped 100 percent between 1991 and 1996; during this same five-year period, steroid use among tenth grade females jumped 83 percent and

jumped 75 percent among eighth grade girls. This trend is alarming as sport is often promoted as a means to achieve physical well-being. While we currently lack concrete information on the possible long-term effects of performance-enhancing drugs on the human body, preliminary studies suggest performance-enhancing drugs put the health and safety of those who use these substances at serious risk. The Stasi, a secret German police organization that managed East Germany s national doping program during the 1970 s, has documented health problems related to performance-enhancing drugs ranging from androgen-induced amenorrhea and severe ovarian cysts to advanced liver damage, and fetal malformation in pregnant women. The risks are significantly higher for young people as the use of

exogenous hormones during development can severely impair or alter the normal cycle of development. While perceived to help achieve maximum athletic benefit, performance-enhancing drugs have athletes literally dying to win . Within the U.S., there is little regulation over performance-enhancing drugs. Domestic sports, particularly professional sports, permit the use of some performance-enhancing drugs. What message does this send to our youth, who often admire professional athletes and look to them as role models? A professional athlete endorsing the use of performance-enhancing drugs says that we cannot complete honestly and expect to win, implying that it is acceptable to deprive clean athletes of a lifetime of hard work, and clean athletes stand no chance against competitors