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Performance-Enhancing Drugs

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"It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has

prospered" (Ð"†schylus, n.d., Ð"†schylus Quotes, ¶ 15). Ð"†schylus spoke this 500 years

before the birth of Christ, and these words still hold true even to this day. There are many

reasons why men would try to gain an upper hand in competition with one another.

However, there are very few solutions that men use to their advantage. The one solution

that is raising eyebrows and causing concern within the population are performance-

enhancing drugs. Sports in general are a competition in itself. However, some forms of

competition are important enough to actually use performance-enhancing drugs to gain

an advantage. With the severe increase of media coverage these days pertaining to

performance- enhancing drugs, our society; and especially our children, are getting a

first-hand glimpse of these unfortunate substances. It is in my opinion, that performance-

enhancing drugs are a danger to any athlete that decides to take them.

Performance-enhancing drugs, in any form, are harmful to both the mind, and to

the body (Saltzman, 2006). Performance-enhancing drugs are classified as any substance

that is used to increase performance in a given activity (Saltzman, 2006). There are some

drugs that you can obtain over the counter, some through a prescription, and others that

are simply illegal. Depending on the type of drug that is used, the positive effects of using

these drugs include helping the user relax, increase the user's oxygen supply, or building

muscle mass (Saltzman, 2006). Performance-enhancing drugs that are legal in this

country are as simple as caffeine, protein drinks, or even nutritional supplements like

vitamins or fat-burners (Saltzman, 2006). In terms of media coverage, these are mostly

used by professional athletes in professional sports.

These drugs are also being used in schools, and even for medical use (Saltzman, 2006).The biggest drug that is being used

today; especially in professional sports is without a doubt anabolic steroids.

Even though there are many short term benefits to using performance-enhancing

drugs as I previously listed, there are also many negative effects of using these drugs.

Using performance-enhancing drugs can create extra cholesterol, which can in turn bring

the user closer to heart disease (Saltzman, 2006) Prolonged use of performance-

enhancing drugs can include damage to the user's liver, heart, and kidneys

(Saltzman, 2006). When and if these drugs reach the brain in the case of anabolic

steroids, they affect the hypothalamus and the limbic system (Saltzman, 2006). Steroids

can severely lower the testosterone level in males and even disrupt the menstrual cycle in

women (Saltzman, 2006). The limbic system, which pertains to memory and mood, is

also affected. Anabolic steroids are especially dangerous if younger people use it, as

these drugs can stunt important growth of bones and general body development

(Saltzman, 2006).

Although there are many negative effects of using performance-enhancing drugs,

there are actually some positive effects that they have on the body when used in the

correct manner. When used in lighter amounts than what is used by professional athletes,

anabolic steroids can be used to treat kidney problems and also anemia problems. Severe

burn victims also benefit from the light use of anabolic steroids. Even some forms of

breast cancer are fought with minimal amounts of anabolic steroids (Saltzman, 2006).

Some experts say that the physical dangers of steroids are overblown. Sidney Gendin is a

professor of philosophy at Eastern Michigan University, and stated the following about

the overreaction of performance-enhancing drugs.

The fact that they are illegal is truly unfortunate since they are not any more

unnatural than any of dozens of other means to success, and the dangers of their

use have been vastly exaggerated. Popular condemnation ignores the fact that

there are dozens of different steroids, varying greatly in their effectiveness and

safety. Most of the significant risks accompany the use of oral steroids, not

injectables. Even the lesser risks are probably exaggerated but since steroids are

Schedule III drugs, it is not legal to test them for their purely enhancement-

performing effects. Thus there are no research trials establishing real statistical

data about them. All reports about their side effects



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