Performance Enhancing Drugs Essay Questions

This article provides a brief overview of the history of the introduction of the performance enhancing drug, anabolic steroids, into American sport. Performance enhancing substances/drugs are discussed in terms of the method of use, the performance enhancing properties and effects of the substance, and the adverse effects of the substance. Particular attention is given to steroids, creatine, ephedrine, and androstenedione. Guidelines for coaches, athletic administrators and other related professionals are provided for the recognition, intervention, and prevention of steroid use, following those proposed by Johnson and Van de Loo (2002).

Keywords Androstenedione; Creatine; Dianabol; Drug Abuse; Ephedrine; Dietary Supplements; Performance Enhancing Drugs/Supplements; Pyramiding; Stacking; Steroids; Testosterone


The history of the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport as a means to improve athletic performance extends beyond a time frame that most would think possible. Athletes have been using performance enhancing substances for over 3000 years (Prokop, 1970), yet not until 1935 was testosterone isolated and determined to be a means to increase muscle tissue size (Berning, Adams, & Stamford, 2004). In 1954 Dr. John Ziegler, physician with the United States Weightlifting team, learned about the use of testosterone by Soviet athletes at the world championships. Dr. Ziegler returned to the United States and worked with a pharmaceutical company on the development of a synthetic testosterone which was released in 1958 (Goldman, Klutz, & Goldman, 1987). Athletes began trying the synthetic Dianabol without much information on the possible side effects of the substance (Berning, Adams, & Stamford, 2004), but as the increase in muscular strength of these athletes grew at exponential rates, more and more athletes began taking the drug privately. Dianabol usage was not illegal at this time, but athletes who were users kept their use private and the general public believed Dianabol usage to be limited; that these athletes had too much to lose and would not risk being caught (Berning, Adams, & Stamford, 2004).

The stripping of Ben Johnson's Olympic medal and world record at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988 after he tested positive for anabolic steroids brought the use of steroids by elite level athletes into mainstream America (Berning, Adams, & Stamford, 2004). As a result, anti-doping measures were strengthened for the 2000 and subsequent Olympic Games. However, the subsequent revelations of ongoing performance enhancing drug use by athletes such as Olympic sprinter Marion Jones and Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who were never detected as drug users through ordinary sport-related testing, have created concerns that the use of performance enhancing drugs could be much more widespread than indicated by official test results (Dimeo & Taylor, 2013), and that official testing agencies may never be able to keep up with new means of artificially enhancing performance and ways to mask the use of banned drugs . This brief overview of the history of how performance enhancing drugs infiltrated International and American sport provides the necessary background to discuss and explore the prevalence, use, and types of substances that are currently used by adolescent athletes in the United States.

“It is easy for coaches and athletic administrators to say, ‘That does not happen here’ when it comes to a discussion on student athlete performance enhancing drug supplement use. The increased availability of these products on the Internet, by mail order, or from nutritional supplement retailers and illegal vendors, allows student athletes access to a wide variety of performance enhancing drugs and supplements that are highly marketed in fitness and strength training magazines with promises, endorsed by faulty research claims, of extraordinary weight loss, explosive power, or tremendous strength gains. Athletes consume these substances in addition to their normal diet because of the belief that these products will live up to the claims. Unfortunately, supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and, therefore, may include undisclosed ingredients have negative side effects, may be harmful when combined with other substances, or are impure and may be potentially unsafe or harmful to the consumer” (“Nutritional Supplements, ¶ 1).

Use of Performance Enhancing Drugs by Adolescents

The focus of this article is the adolescent use of performance enhancing drugs/substances. In a survey conducted by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association's Healthy Competition Foundation, 1002 adults and 785 youths between the ages of 10-17 years were surveyed to assess the prevalence of performance enhancing substance use and knowledge about the potential harmful effects of these substances. The survey revealed that one in five American youths know someone who is using a performance enhancing drug and approximately 96% of American youth are aware that there are potential health hazards of using (Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, 2001). However, only 70% of the youth and 50% of the adults surveyed could specifically identify the potential effects of performance enhancing drug/substance use (Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, 2001). The Healthy Competition Foundation study also found that the top performance enhancing substances being used by youth were creatine followed by anabolic steroids (Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, 2001). Another study conducted by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) in 2003 revealed that 1 in 30 student athletes was using a performance enhancing substance or steroids with 2.1 percent of 12th graders and 1.4 percent of 8th graders reporting steroid use in the previous year (Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, 2004).


A 2011 survey by Lorang and colleagues found that although the rate of use of anabolic steroids by high school students is low (1.4%), rates of use were high among males, recreational drug users, and those participating in school sports. In addition, many students believed that steroid use improved athletic performance (49%) and/or appearance (38%). Research conducted by Buckley and his colleagues (1988) indicated that of high school anabolic steroid users, approximately 65% were student athletes, suggesting the need to educate student athletes about the risks involved with steroid use and the need for future research to monitor changes in steroid use. Adolescent student athletes who have reported using steroids cite the desire to improve their athletic performance with the highest rates of use in football, wrestling, and track and field (Bahrke et al., 2000). Hodge, Hargreaves, Gerrard, and Lonsdale (2013) found that moral disengagement was a predictor of the use of performance-enhancing drugs among elite athletes.

Anabolic steroids are comprised of synthetic testosterone and mimic some aspects of the androgenic effects and most of the anabolic effects that natural testosterone has on the male body (Johnson & Van de Loo, 2002). The androgenic effects of testosterone are development of the sex characteristics including the development of the male reproductive tract and secondary sexual characteristics such as pubic and facial hair growth, increase in penis size, and development of prostate gland and scrotum (Johnson & Van de Loo, 2002). The anabolic effects of testosterone include increases in skeletal and muscular strength, growth of the long bones, thickening of vocal cords, increase in protein synthesis, decreased body fat, enlargement of the larynx, and development of the libido (Johnson & Van de Loo, 2002). The production and development of synthetic steroids has allowed manufacturers to minimize as many of the androgenic effects as possible to decrease these unwanted side effects (Johnson & Van de Loo, 2002). Steroid use aids individuals in improving their muscular strength and size; however there are some conditions that contribute to these improvements. Steroids may be taken orally or through injections, with injectable steroids being more slowly absorbed. Different types of synthetic steroids produce varying levels of androgenic effects (Johnson & Van de Loo, 2002).

Medicinal Uses of Steroids

Steroids may be used for several medicinal purposes including, for example, hormone replacement therapy, the stimulation of pubertal development, osteoporosis in women, to treat Turner syndrome, and late stage breast cancer (Johnson & Van de Loo, 2002). However, non-medicinal use focuses on the development of muscular strength in size. Muscular improvements occur when individuals

• "Intensely train in weight lifting immediately before using anabolic steroids and continue intensive weight lifting during the steroid regimen,

• Maintain a high-protein, high-calorie diet, and

• Measure their strength improvement using the same single repetition, maximal weight technique (i.e., bench press) they used in training" (Johnson & Van De Loo, 2002).

Steroid usage differs for endurance athletes seeking to slow the protein breakdown process during training versus athletes who seek power and explosiveness through increased strength (Johnson & Van de Loo, 2002). Steroids may also be taken using different patterns with the goal of decreasing the unwanted side effects and androgenic effects (Johnson & Van de Loo, 2002). These patterns include stacking, using more than one steroid at a time and pyramiding, starting steroid use at low doses and then increasing the dose gradually and then tapering off (Johnson & Van de Loo, 2002). While the improvements in muscular strength and size are the desired effects of steroid use, there are many unwanted and unhealthy physiological, cardiovascular, dermatologic, and psychological side effects of...

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Introduction Performance enhancing drugs in sports has become a controversial topic in todays professional sports world, as pros and cons are discussed in the media and among professional organizations. Todays athletes continue to push the boundaries of excellence in performance and physical fitness. Helping these athletes are more refined training methods and technologies. Never have athletes had more training aids at their disposal. The down side is that never before have athletes had more opportunities to cheat mainly through the use of performance enhancing drugs. Defining Performance Enhancing Drugs Sport enhancing drug used by athletes to enhance performance include Steroids, Creatine, Amphetamines, Stimulants, Peptide Hormones, Human growth Hormone, and Insulin.

Steroids and performance enhancing drugs are used by todays athletes to increase the testosterone production in the body. These drugs work by stimulating muscle growth and muscle development. Athletes also seek this effect through the use of over the counter substances such as creatine, androstenedione, and erythropoietin especially at the high school level. These drugs do have some medical uses, but are carefully controlled when used for medical reasons, and are illegal unless used in accordance with a prescription. The article from CBC In Depth look at Drugs Amphetamine-like sympathomimetics are described as drugs that stimulate the central nervous system, as well as the cardiovascular system. In addition, they increase glycogen and fatty acid metabolism.

Such compounds have been shown to improve athletic performance to various degrees in strength and endurance exercises, improve reaction times, and reduce fatigue. Amphetamine and its analogues can cause euphoria, boost confidence, and intensify aggression (2006). The concern with this group of drugs is ephedrine, which is available in the United States and abroad, and is often found in combination allergy and cold products and in dietary supplements. The NCAA prohibits the use of ephedrine, and the National Football League (NFL) added ephedrine to its list of banned substances in 2001 Nowadays more and more athletes are tempted to use GH as a performance drug.

It is considered to be efficient undetectable and without major side effects. Athletes use it to increase their muscle mass and strength. GH is also believed to reduce injuries and to shorten recovery periods between workouts. Pros of Performance Enhancing Drugs The pros of using sports enhancing drugs include; physical enhancement, bigger body mass, improves strength and endurance, improved performance. Steroids increase muscle mass and strength which helps athletes recover quicker from injuries.

Cons of Performance Enhancing Drugs The cons of using sports enhancing drugs include negative physical side effects. All of the physical side effects can present very serious medical issues. Males are subject to hair loss, acne and liver cancer which can be a life threatening disease. Females are exposed to growth of body and facial hair and they are also liable to contract deepening of the voice. Gaining that little bit of competitiveness can lead to greater increases in performance but may affect an athletes overall health. Moral issues and the impact on high school sports are issues also surrounding the use of performance enhancing drugs.

Performance enhancing drugs are on the rise in high schools. Athletes hear about the pros using the drugs and they see the difference it makes, but what they don't know or don't care about are the long term effects. The effects on teenagers are similar to the effects on adults. If a teenager starts out using at this young age and constantly uses, they will never be able to stop because of the addictive ness the drug has on them. Controversial Issues Surrounding Performance Enhancing Drugs Controversial issues in professional sports are all over the media. There has been a lot of media controversy about steroids in sports.

The pressure has caused some sport stars to admit to their use of steroids. Some of the professional baseball players that have admitted to steroids use Gary Sheffield, and Jason Giambi. Steroids seem to be very helpful to professional athletes. The people who takes steroids has advantage over other people. Babe Ruth vs Barry Bonds home run record is another hot topic in the media. Barry Bonds who has denied using steroids even though he has been accused of steroid use has broken Babe Ruth home run record.

Should history show the record broken by Barry Bonds if he was on steroids or should there be a foot note in the history book? Ben Johnson Olympic record was also questioned. Johnson captured the imagination of Canadians on Sept. 27, 1988, when he won the 100 -metre sprint title in a world-record time of 9. 79 seconds at the Seoul Olympics (CBC Sports 2003). To make the victory even sweeter, Johnson captured the gold medal by handily defeating American rival Carl Lewis.

The euphoria of Johnson's win didn't last, however, when it was found the Canadian tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol. Johnson's claim that the positive test stemmed from a spiked herbal drink the night before the race was unfounded (not that his positive test was any surprise, considering his inflated deltoid muscles and jaundiced eyes, but how many Canadians wanted to believe that? ). Johnson was stripped of his gold medal and world record and banned from competition for two years. The disgrace of the event was a black eye on Canadian amateur sport and pushed the drugs-in-sport issue to the forefront like never before. Nearly 15 years later, it was discovered that several American track athletes tested positive for drugs before those same Seoul Games. Allegedly among them was Lewis, who was awarded the gold medal after Johnson's disqualification...

Tour de France athletes using drugs to win, Some say cycling faced a near death following the 1998 doping scandal in which French officials caught an employee of the Festina cycling team with a carload of performance-enhancing drugs, including erythropoietin (EPO) a hormone that helps the blood carry more oxygen, letting you go faster and longer on your two wheels. Tour de France winner American Floyd Landis has failed two drug test following his victory this year. Conclusion Pressure placed on athletes to perform better. The fierce competitive nature of the modern sports world, in combination with society's demand for excellence, has caused athletes to seek alternative means to enhance their performance. Today's athlete faces an increasingly difficult choice: to use drugs to enhance performance or to accept what could amount to a competitive handicap.

It is a choice, which carries significant ethical considerations. Should athletes be permitted to make this choice, or should society, through the sports' governing bodies strictly enforce the ban on performance enhancing drugs? Some argue that the choice should be left to the athletes in order to respect their individual choice above any ethical considerations. Others choose to ban performance-enhancing drugs with the intention of protecting the athlete against the potentially harmful consequences of his or her own actions. Athletes who are caught using illegal drugs are often exposed through the media and negatively discriminated against by the sporting community. The result is that the athlete faces a double bind conflict: he or she is pressured to produce superhuman performance, yet must remain ethically human while preparing for them.

The negative effects of cheating in sport are numerous and all harmful in nature. Beyond the negative aspect which cheating in sports presents, are dangerous physiological and psychological side effects, which the athlete faces when, using performance enhancing drugs such as anabolic and androgenic steroids? At the heart of anti-drug use in sport debates, lies the idea that using sport enhancing drugs take away the true intention of sport. The continuing media frenzy of drug use in sport is negatively impacts the athlete, as well as the sporting itself. Drugs and other performance enhancers do not reflect the forms of human excellence which sports are intended to honor.

Using performance-enhancing drugs is the same as using a corked or lead-weighted bat in baseball. In either case, the true skill, hard work and excellence of the athlete are masked behind a form of cheating. In addition to the negative impact of cheating in sports, the side effects of anabolic and androgenic steroids present another negative realm of drug use in sport. Drug testing is not yet extensive enough yet to deter the athlete from using he drug, but has enhanced fair competition in certain sports.

Without any testing, drug use would be out of control (CBC Sports 2003). The future of drug testing can serve to be an effective deterrent if money, research and cooperation contribute together with positive incentives for drug-free athletes. Modern sports competitions place little emphasis on the means when dealing with the end results. This presents itself to be a dangerous situation both for the athletes as well as for the integrity of sport.

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Research essay sample on Performance Enhancing Drugs In Sports

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