Stimulants Androstenedione allows athletes to train harder and recover quicker from strenuous work outs.
Messenger The World Athletics Championships are currently in full flow. Three other athletes in the final — Mike Rodgers, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell — had also received previous bans for doping. Almost everyone seems to be in agreement that performance-enhancing drugs are a blight on competitive sport.
Two major claims underpin the aversion to this use of drugs. The first is that it is cheating. The second is that performance-enhancing drugs threaten the health of athletes. But is either claim persuasive?
Using drugs is unfair The problem is not that athletes try to gain an advantage over their competitors by enhancing their performance.
We praise them for doing so, and it is the main goal that athletes set for themselves. The complaint is not against performance enhancement, but the method by which it is achieved. The real concern behind the cheating claim is that athletes who use drugs are gaining an unfair advantage by accessing something not available to those who follow the rules.
Those who use drugs prosper at the expense of those who play fair. But things are murkier than they seem. How interested are we in fairness in sport?
Athletes try to enhance their performance in many ways: All of these are used to gain an advantage, which is often unfair because, like drugs, they are available to some — wealthy athletes rather than cheats — but not to everyone.
The Tour de France, a sporting event well known for drug use, would not suddenly become a level contest if drug use disappeared. The race winner has his performance enhanced by the quality of his team. The Tour would only be a true test of individual riders if teams were banned.
Performance is also unfairly enhanced when governments fund athletes. The advantage gained through financial support might be different to that gained by drug use because it is not achieved through underhand means.
But, if fairness is our goal, the source of the disadvantage is secondary. So, if our objection to drugs is that they create an unfair advantage, consistency demands we apply the same standard to many other aspects of athletic competition. There seems to be no reasonable justification for drawing a line in the sand that places drug use on one side and the above-mentioned performance enhancers on the other.
Given that drugs are significantly cheaper than psychologists, permitting their use might actually level out the playing field for poorer athletes.
Finally, if fairness is our major concern we can easily solve the problem by lifting the prohibition — thus making drugs available to all athletes. Removing the prohibition might make things fairer but it would come at a heavy price.
In response to this objection, ethicist Julian Savulescu has argued that performance-enhancing drugs are not particularly dangerous, and if their use was no longer clandestine they would be safer still.
Is harm prevention a reasonable justification for limiting drug use in sport? One thing to bear in mind is that the very act of participating in many sporting activities is dangerous. Climbing, boxing, mixed martial arts, rugby, AFL, NFL, cricket, horse riding and many other sports can cause significant physical harms and sometimes result in death.
There is no rush to ban people from climbing Mount Everest even though it is far more dangerous than taking EPO. Still, NFL athletes are allowed to collide with great force every week.Jun 06, · Read CNN's Fast Facts about performance-enhancing drugs in sports and learn more about professional athletes in connection with steroids, HGH and other PEDs.
Not every athlete who uses performance enhancing drugs does so because of a powerful drive to win or because the drugs are integral to being competitive in their chosen sport.
In fact, for many teens and young adults who use performance enhancing drugs, their motivation is concern for their future. In sport, there seems no reasonable justification for drawing a line in the sand that places drug use on one side and the other performance enhancers on the other.
Effects of Performance-Enhancing Drugs With all the information, attention, and debate over performance-enhancing drugs (or PEDs), many people want to further understand how performance-enhancing drugs affect one’s body. Jun 06, · Read CNN's Fast Facts about performance-enhancing drugs in sports and learn more about professional athletes in connection with steroids, HGH and other PEDs.
Sports and Drugs urbanagricultureinitiative.com is a nonpartisan, nonprofit website that presents research, studies, and pro and con statements on questions related to the use of performance enhancing drugs in sports.
This website uses the term "performance enhancing drugs" to mean legal and illegal drugs that are considered to enhance performance in sports.