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Performance Enhancing Drugs

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I'm pretty sure you all have engaged in some sort of athletic competition that could be classified as a sport. If you can say that you have, most of you could not keep up with some of the more naturally athletically gifted people you were competing with or against.. If you are sitting there remembering that feeling of being inadequate, thinking back when your parents told you all that mattered is that you tried your best, was a huge crock. No matter how hard you tried you failed, you felt like the scum of the earth, and everyone was laughing at you. You let everyone down, if this has ever happened to you. You are not alone you share the same feelings of many amateur and professional athletes who feel that the only way to reach their goals, to be in the limelight, to make the winning score, they need that edge. The edge that puts them ahead of the rest, to be on a level that most can only dream of achieving. The edge some athletes use is steroids. There are many types of steroids. To many to name, so they are talked about in groups. These groups are as follows: Stimulants, Narcotic Analgesics, Cannabinoids, Anabolic Agents, Peptide Hormones, Beta-2 Agonists, Masking Agents, and Clucocorticosteroids The most commonly used is called Anabolic steroids. A anabolic steroid is a chemical similar to the male hormone testosterone. Steroids are taken by pill, or injection. They enter the bloodstream they are distributed to organs and muscle all over the body. After reaching the organs the steroids surround individual cells in the organ, and then pass through the cell membranes to enter the cytoplasm of the cells Once in the cytoplasm, the steroids bind to specific receptors and then enter the nucleus of the cells. The steroid-receptor complex is then able to alter the functioning of the genetic material and stimulate the production of new proteins. It is these proteins that carry out the effects of the steroids. The types of proteins and the effects vary depending on the specific organ involved. Steroids are able to alter the functioning of many organs, including the liver, kidneys, heart, and brain. They can also have a profound effect on reproductive organs and hormones.

Steroids were first experimented with in the 1860 by Brown-Sequard, although he did not know what he was using. He would draw fluids from the testicles of animals and would inject these fluids into himself and his patients. He said that it made him stronger and he could run faster and jump higher. Today athletes are using steroids knowing the risks. Recently baseball has become the center of attention as learned in a recent article by ESPN writer Dan Patrick- The estimate of the number of players on steroids in MLB rises and falls more than the Dow Jones.

In his recent interview in Sports Illustrated, former NL MVP Ken Caminiti unintentionally lit a match -- and it's spreading like wildfire. There isn't a big enough fire extinguisher to put it out. Caminiti has acknowledged his problems with substance abuse, and as part of his recovery process he's been told to come forward and be honest. He didn't do the SI interview to get sympathy. He did it to talk about life after baseball, and he said the steroid issue was just touched upon. Now it's the focal point of an ongoing debate.

Caminiti acknowledged "dabbling" in steroids; he said he began taking them in 1996 for medicinal purposes (coincidentally or not, the year he won the MVP). He also saw other players take steroids. But he's not interested in bringing others down. Despite being quoted in SI as saying that half of baseball players use steroids, Caminiti told me his statements were misconstrued and the actual number is far fewer than 50 percent.

Unlike Jose Canseco's plan for a tell-all book, there was no intent to expose others behind Caminiti's SI interview. Perhaps now that he sees the repercussions of his statements, he's backpedaling. But Caminiti's only ax to grind is with himself. He's not blaming anyone else for his mistakes. He admits he cheated. And now he just wants to disappear. I couldn't help but feel sympathy for Caminiti.

Curt Schilling, however, isn't as sympathetic. Arizona's All-Star pitcher believes the bottom line is that Caminiti took steroids. But Schilling thinks only about 15 percent of MLB players use. Even if it's only 10 percent, is it 10 percent too many?

So the witch hunt has begun. It's a shame, with everything that Major League Baseball has had to deal with lately (labor issues,



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