At the onset, drugs are chemical substances that can affect the physical body. They are primarily made to treat illness and disease. However, there are some drugs that are used for other purpose beyond treating physical illness. These drugs are commonly known as the social drugs and are usually taken “to help people to or to give users an enjoyable experience” (Beashel, P. Sibson, A. & Taylor, J. p. 140).
While there are social drugs that are illegal, Beashe, Sibson, and Taylor (2001) aptly stated that many of these drugs are available within social institution and can be taken in the context of relaxing experience and enhancing sports performance (p. 140). There is nothing wrong with these so long as these drugs are publicly available which means their uses by the public are allowed by law. In other words, they are particularly not harmful to the physical body. Most of the performance enhancing drugs belongs to the so-called “social drugs.
” They are drugs that are available within social institution and are therefore not particularly harmful to the physical body, hence they should not ban from sports merely in the context of unfair competition since anyone can avail of those drugs within social institution. Currently, all performance enhancing drugs are banned in sports regardless of its positive physical effect. According to Beashel, Sibson, and Taylor, there are some performance enhancing drugs that are harmful but many are not.
Doping drugs like Nandrolone, testosterone, stanozolol, clenbuterol have the effect of reducing recovery time to be able to train harder and longer. These drugs also “increases muscle bulk, strength and endurance when combined regular exercise” (p. 141). These drugs are not harmful when taken correctly or responsibly, their impacts are obviously enhanced through regular exercise. Analgesics (narcotic) like Codeine, Methadone, and heroin are pain killers which their effect “allows training and competing even when injured” (p.
141). Other performance enhancing drugs such as Human growth hormone (HGH), erythropoietin are thought to improve performance, and increase number of red blood cells, which means that more oxygen can be carried to the muscles and endurance is improved. On the other hand, there are some drugs that need to be ban from sports. These drugs are those that are harmful to the physical health. Among these drugs are the Beta blockers. This drug according to Beashel, Sibson, and Taylor “keep heart rate and blood pressure low (p. 141).
While there are some benefit for low heart rate but this is only during the resting time not during the time of extreme activities. This is same with low blood pressure. Low blood pressure means that the does not pump enough which is important when doing extreme activities such as sports competition. Low heart rates may lead to dizziness and weakness in the flow of blood to the brain. Alcohol and tobacco drugs are no doubt harmful and should be banned as they also contribute to the reducing blood pressure and the heart rate. Banning only harmful drugs
Since performance enhancing drugs can be easily identified as harmful and not harmful, the government should ban only those that are harmful but allow with minimal restriction the use of non harmful drugs in sports. Responsible use of these drugs will not pose health problems rather it will enhance the potential of the athlete. Therefore what is needed is for the authorities to come up with better guidelines on the proper and responsible use of these drugs. Banning only harmful drugs will help athletes avoid using the wrong drugs that causes the health problems.
Thus, by categorizing harmful and non harmful, health authorities can easily provide necessary guidelines and information that will help the athlete avoid those harmful drugs, and they may be able to identify what type of drugs that they need. Banning all the performance enhancing drugs in sports is counter productive as it only leads to criminal offense due to substance abuse in the sense that it was use against the existing ban and not against the law concerning public health protection.
Allowing athletes to use performance drugs should they decide to do so Given the many hazardous and more dangerous substances that that are practically available to every body such as alcohol and tobacco which are among the top causes of deaths in America and in many parts of the world, it would be unjust to ban athletes from using performance enhancing drugs simply because of isolated case of death relating to the use of such drugs.
As it has been argued above, the lack of proper guidelines as to which drugs are harmful and which are not makes it more dangerous for those who really wanted to explore their potential rather than the drugs it self. Athletes who may wish to use such drugs should be given freedom to do so just as anyone who may wish to drink alcohol or they want to smoke they can simply buy tobacco practically anywhere. This is an inherent rights and the essence of the freedom of choice exercise freely by tobacco smokers or the alcoholics.
The arguments concerning natural and unnatural enhancement which emphasized that drug enhanced performance is illegitimate is not sound argument every athletes are taking all sorts of drug supplement such as vitamins, pills and so forth, just to keep themselves fit. The Database Book (2004) points out, “There is nothing “natural” about taking vitamin pills or wearing whole-body Lycra suits. The book noted that diet, medicine, technology, and even coaching already give an artificial advantage to those athletes who can afford the best of all these aids” (p.
88). By allowing athletes to use of performance drugs, it will provide equal playing field for everyone and athletes can compete openly and fairly. Allowing athletes to use performance enhancing drugs if the so wished enhanced the quality of sports and the entertainment it provides to the viewing public. Vincent Parrillo (2008) pointed that the most obvious reason why athletes wants to use performance enhancing drugs are “to become a better athlete and have enhanced sports related outcomes” (p. 263).
Parrillo further add that athletes use such substance “to recover from and prevent injuries, to improve their appearance, and in some cases in response to pressure from coaches” (p. 263). These reasons are not at all subjective and they are valid. Regardless of what others say, athletes are being pressured to do more than they can do with their natural capacity by their coaches to win their games. The argument that allowing athletes to use performance enhancement drugs is like sacrificing the health of the athletes for the sake of better entertainment does not really hold much.
With proper information and guidelines on the use of such chemical substances, there is no way that the athlete’s health could be sacrificed. It could not be denied that the public enjoys watching high level competition. The public are the tax payers where the money for sports development is coming from and they deserve high level sports. The incidents of deaths among athletes who used performance enhancement drugs can still be considered isolated compared to the deaths caused by alcohol and tobacco.
If there is any thing that should be banned in sports it is certainly not those harmful drugs, but first and foremost are tobacco and alcohol and those drugs that are proven harmful to the health not only of the athletes but of everybody. The use of performance enhancing drugs among athletes continued to scandalize different sports competition spawning splinter group of competitors and sports administrators to promote the concept of officially legalizing the use of some of the substances that enhanced performance.
Legalizing drugs will not only eliminate the problems of unfair competition but also the shame and embarrassment of athletes who may have use the substance not for winning a particular game but for fast recovery from injury to be able to play the next game. Allowing the use of performance enhancing drugs for athletes is very practical and a solution to the conflicting view of what is drugs and what is not. Nigel South (1998) noted that even tea and Coffee “have both been illegal drugs and vilified, as is alcohol today in Saudi Arabia and a number of other Muslim countries” (p.
104) while cannabis and other stimulant drugs “have been and continue to be not only legal in some parts of the world but also an important aspect of their culture in which they are used” (South, p. 104). Conclusion While most of the authors and important personalities in sports are against the use of drugs in sports, they cannot deny that no matter were the efforts to make sports drug free, it remains the source of scandal and embarrassment not only for the athletes, but also for the nation they represents.
Just like the problems of illegal drugs on the street that have never been beaten despite on the war on drugs, the use of performance enhancing drugs will persist so long as the athletes are being pressured to do beyond their capacity in order to win the game. Because of the nature of some drugs and its medical prescription on patient, there will always be an effort to exploit the situation to gain an advantage in sports.
Only when athletes are allowed to use such substances should they decide to use them can the fair playing field will be realized. Thus, Athletes should be allowed to use such substances in the name of fairness and high level competitive sports. Reference Beashe, P. Sibson, A. & Taylor, J. (2001) The World of Sport Examined China: Nelson Thornes The Debatabase Book (2004) USA: IDEA Parrillo, V. (2008) Encyclopedia of Social Problems USA: Sage Publication South, N. (1998) Drugs USA: Sage Publication.