In 1986, Len Bias, a star basketball player at the University of the Maryland tried cocaine. Shortly after, Len Bias died from cardiac arrhythmia as a result of cocaine overdose (Peck 36) . Not only do drugs ruin the health of athletes, but the use of performance enhancing drugs also ruins the integrity of the sporting world. Therefore, there should be mandatory drug tests for all athletes. Performance enhancing drugs were first used in the 8th Century B.C. by ancient Greek athletes who ate sheep testicles to improve their athletic performance (Egendorf 78). Drug use then continued in the 20th century with substances such as heroin and cocaine (78). Athletes then started using
drugs from peer pressure, to be cool, or to look good. Drug addiction starts as (1) casual use, (2) regular use, (3) addiction or chemical dependence (Peck 32). The most common performance enhancing drugs are anabolic- androgenic steroids. Anabolic means muscle-building, while androgenic refers to masculine characteristics. In the 1930s, these drugs were made to mimic the effects of male hormones testosterone enabling a persons body to regulate the development of muscles and secondary male characteristics (Egendorf 23). Sports such as football, wrestling, weight lifting, track and field, and swimming have the most steroid usage. The average steroid user spends between $50 and $600 per month while steroid pushers make between $300 to $400 million each year (Peck 54). There are about 80 different types of steroids (25) and the effects of these steroids in teens are severe acne on their faces, chests, backs, and arms, bad headaches, high body temperatures, nosebleeds, loss of hair, damaged hearts, roid rage, memory loss, and the loss of feeling to pain. The reason why athletes take Sellers-Otero 3
drugs is to help them improve their performance, recover from an injury quicker, boosts of strength, and have the ability to train harder and longer. Then scientific researchers developed new drugs such as amphetamines, which increased alertness, faster heart rate, and reduced tiredness feeling. They found ways of making substances found in the body such as testosterone. Testosterone was given to German Soldiers during WW ll to make them more aggressive (Gifford 34). After World War ll, amphetamines were used heavily by cyclists , speed skaters, and other athletes who wanted a speed advantage no matter what the cost was (Gifford 35). Blood doping and gene doping are prohibited methods. This means that athletes are able to alter their genes, which take place of natural genes and enabling the body to produce mass amounts of proteins, hormones, and other substances (Gifford 37). Stimulants are the second most common drug being used. Stimulants force the lungs and heart to work fast and productive so that it can move blood throughout the body more efficiently. Making the user feel Sellers-Otero 4
less tired and alert. Narcotics analgesics and diuretics are used to act on the brain and central nervous system to reduce pain a person is feeling. The side effects of this drug is depression, vomiting, serious breathing, and severe heart problems (Gifford 43). Diuretics are used for sports that require strict weight categories. This drug helps maintain a certain weight. This drug can reduce the amount of water in the body, resulting in dehydration. Dehydration causes dizziness, headaches, cramps, and loss of balance. In the 1970s, athletes did not deny their use of performance enhancing drugs. Howard Bryant, in his book "Juicing the Game," writes: Drugs were part of the weightlifting world. . . Gyms across America provided the conduits to information about which substances
worked best and where illegal drug could be obtained. (Egendorf 56).
Some people argue that even natural ability is as unfair as the advantage of performance enhancing drugs; perchance even more so, because while these drugs are...