Persuasive Speech: Steroids
What is the first thing that goes through your head when you think of steroids? Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, or Greg Valentino? Maybe “cheating” comes to mind. You might think of the hideous backne or the infamous “roid rage” that comes along with steroid use. Steroids have always been given a bad reputation as a “dangerous” and “unfair” drug because every couple of years a famous and successful athlete gets caught using them and the media butchers steroids’ reputation. I believe that because of this bad reputation as being a “deadly” and “cheater” drug, steroids are unjustly represented and thus categorized as a schedule III drug and should be treated as any other legal drug. I am here today to clear the air about steroids and tell the truth behind the side effects, the “cheating” aspect, and why the government’s current stance on steroids needs to be changed.
Now, not all of us are gym rats or maybe not even watch sports, but as an athlete and an avid fan of sports, it’s safe to say that I know a little bit about steroids. For those of you who don’t, that’s ok, I’m going to give you a brief explanation of what steroids are so that you can follow what I am saying. Steroids are synthetic versions of hormones that your body naturally produces and can be taken orally or through injection. The illegal steroids I was talking about are anabolic steroids, such as testosterone or HGH. These chemicals are derived from the male sex hormones and tell your body to increase muscle size and strength and help you recover from workouts faster. But these aren’t the only kind of steroids. There are many types of steroids, however, that are legal and have more dangerous side effects, such as cortical steroids and birth control pills that contain progesterone and estrogen. Steroids are everywhere in society whether you know it or not, and all pose certain risks if you decide to take them. Now, here’s a list of side effects of one of the steroids I presented and you tell me if it sounds dangerous. Well that was for birth control pills. So why are these steroids legal and the others not? Because, Austin, they are more dangerous!
Of course! A drug so dangerous must kill thousands every year. According to the CDC, tobacco kills 435,000 people every year, alcohol 75,000, anabolic steroids three. According to the CDC, steroids are ranked 142nd on the list of reasons for emergency room visits. Anabolic steroids can be dangerous yes, but with proper and safe usage, side effects can be avoided. Dr. Charles Yesalis has published over seventy articles on the use of steroids and is one of the top experts in the world on drugs in sports. On the dangers of steroids, he commented, “Anabolic steroids can be used relatively safely, but at even low doses they can have side effects. No drug, supplement, or substance is totally “safe.” And he’s right. Anything in excess can be harmful. A woman died from drinking too much water in a “hold your wee for a Wii” contest. Certain people can eat one peanut and go into anaphylactic shock. Does this mean we should make peanuts illegal? No, this is why we have warning labels. Steroids are the same way. In excess, they can cause liver and kidney damage just like any other drug, but if they are used properly, they can improve a person’s health dramatically.. In the 1930’s, steroids were introduced into medicine and were considered a miracle drug. In 1992 Jeff Taylor was diagnosed with PCP pneumonia, a rare disease often found in HIV patients that fills the lungs with a fungus, and both of his lungs collapsed as a result. The day he left the hospital he had 2 T-cells and weighed 125 pounds. He underwent a clinical trial with anabolic steroids and gained thirty pounds in six weeks and his T-cell count went back to normal. Society’s view on steroids tells us that if you are sick, steroids help you, but if you are a healthy athlete or body builder, they’ll kill you. This simply is not true.
Another negative connotation associated with steroids is that they are seen as the “cheater drug” and anyone caught using them is automatically a stripped of their titles and deemed a cheater for life. Technically, this is correct. By current rules laid down by professional sports foundations everywhere, performance-enhancing drugs are always against the rules. It’s obvious why they are against the rules, and I’m not trying to argue that they shouldn’t be, but before you blame all the cheating in sports on steroids, you might want to think again. You would all say that vision is pretty important in golf right? So if someone undergoes a Lasik eye surgery to improve their vision, like Tiger Woods did in 2007, would that be considered cheating? Is anyone in here a musician? Do you ever get nervous playing in front of people? What if I told you you could get up on stage next time and play without getting nervous? Would you play better? Well some professional musicians take Beta-blockers to keep them from getting nervous. Beta-blockers simply don’t let you get nervous. They bind to epinephrine and stress hormone receptors inhibiting your body to become stressed or nervous. Is this considered cheating? I’m not trying to argue that two wrongs make a right, but why is it ok for society to say that cheating in certain ways is acceptable and to single out steroids as the “deadly cheater” drug? All I’m saying is that when someone gets caught using steroids, they are portrayed as the worst thing in the world, when in reality people are cheating everywhere and no one says a thing. The rules regarding performance enhancements need to be looked at from all angles and to single out steroids simply isn’t fair.
This brings me to my next point. After the drugs scandal in the 1988 Olympics, Congress wanted to pass a law that would control steroids the same way as drugs like cocaine and heroin, so they called experts from the DEA, FDA, and the American Medical Association, but they all testified that steroids should not be treated like illicit drugs. So Congress disregarded their experts and in 1990 they passed the Anabolic Control Act turning non-medical users into federal drug criminals. This law proves to be ironic because in an attempt to stop a cheating problem in sports, the law affects all the people who aren’t cheating in sports. Athletes only account for fifteen percent of all steroid users. This leaves the other 85% to the gym rats. Now how is this fair? Eight-five percent of steroid users use steroids for simply cosmetic purposes, yet are getting arrested and treated as felons if caught.
Imagine if steroids were made legal, except in sports of course. Scientists would be able to run experiments that would help us understand more about anabolic steroids. We could regulate them and eliminate the black market. The DEA can focus its resources on more important drug busts and we can empty the jails of all the convicted steroid users, saving us millions. This can all be possible if you all help sign the online petition. I encourage all of you to sign this and not be so quick to judge steroids.
In conclusion, when used properly, steroids can be beneficial to your health and side effects can be minimized. Steroids are currently illegal, like cocaine and heroin, and pose a rather insignificant risk to society. The law passed after the drug scandal in the 1988 summer Olympics was aimed to stop cheating in sports, but affects users who don’t even play sports and because of these reasons steroids should be made legal.
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