Should athletes be allowed to use performance-enhancing drugs (P.E.D.’s) (such as steroids) or (EPO) or techniques (such as blood doping or oxygen tanks)?
Performance enhancing drugs have instigated controversial debates especially in regards to their consequences to the body of athletes. Performance enhancing drugs form an important area of concern especially in athletics since it is the foundation upon which anti-doping organizations such as USADA and WADA operate. Ostensibly, PED’s have the potential to alter the o biological functioning of the human body and at the same time, they can be highly detrimental and even deadly in some cases. The recent emphasis by anti-doping organizations that no athlete should use PED’s to succeed in athletics has instigated varied views among different people. While the ban on PED’s has been celebrated by a number of stakeholders, to some other people the manner in which PED’s are condemned in most spheres of life is a disappointment. The intent of this paper is present a logical elucidation on one side of PEDS debate while considering the discords of objections from the other side of the debate and eventually support the argument that athletes should be allowed to use performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids.
My argument for this thesis goes as follows:
1. Performance enhancing drugs are illegal
2. Over the years, Athletes have used P.E.D’s in spite of them being illegal.
3. Athletes do not seek to be openly educated and receive regulated dosing of P.E.D’s.
4. Athletes who have used P.E.D.’s have experienced long-term health issues.
5. The Improper use of Performance enhancing drugs have caused long-term health issues.
6. lack of proper education and regulation typically leads to improper use of P.E.D.s
C: Therefore, the use of performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids should be legal because the consequences and penalties administered when an athlete cheats are small compared to the success that follows. Banning an athlete for six month cannot be compared to the multimillion-dollar success they get if they dodge the tests and win.
This paper takes an inductive approach. In this case, therefore the conclusion is based on how strong or weak the premises are in regards to the issue of P.E.D.’s.
The extent to which P.E.D.’s may be termed as illegal is debatable. While anti-doping institutions dictates illegality of performance enhancing drugs, different nations have come up with varying descriptions of the illegality of performance enhancing drugs. Historically, athletes have used performance-enhancing drugs to enhance their muscles. The reason for improper use of Peds and the side effects that athletes suffer after using these drugs is due to the fact that the anti-doping organizations have failed in their mandate to educate the athletes on the proper use of performance enhancing drugs. To ascertain the strength and viability of the conclusion and the scope that this paper takes, the premises are examined below one by one:
The first premise that, performance enhancing drugs are illegal can be best understood within the context of the anti-doping agencies. According to Morente-Sánchez, and Zabala (2013), the world anti-doping agency asserts that performance-enhancing drugs downplay the spirit of sporting activities. Wada has identified Peds as risky to the health of athletes and as such, it is illegal to use any performance enhancing drugs in sports. Sporting activities should be based on fairness and honesty and as such, the winners must enhance fair play throughout the competition (Pitsch, & Emrich, 2011). Due to the detrimental effects of PEDS, Wada has outlined these drugs as illegal and banned their use from all sporting activities.
The second premise that, over the years, Athletes have used P.E.D’s in spite of them being illegal, is a valid assertion since doping is an act that has been widely discussed in sports for centuries. The use of performance enhancing drugs dates back in the third Olympiad competitions. Thomas Hicks who the first athlete to win the first marathon was injected with strychnine (Singhammer, 2012). It should also be understood that most of the event winners in the 1992 Olympics are believed to have used Peds. Moreover, the world antidoping agency estimates that over 15% of the athletes in all the international athletics have always turned positive for doping. According to Kanayama, Hudson and Pope (2010), the administration of small amounts of anabolic steroids boost the muscular strength by over 20%. However, such low amounts of anabolic steroids are safe and do not cause any harm to the athletes. As such, it is the obligation of the world into doping agency to examine the participants before the competition.
The third premise that, Athletes do not seek to be openly educated and receive regulated dosing of P.E.D’s is based on the fact that doping is an illegal act and therefore seeking information on how to use Peds will expose the athlete of his or her illegal actions.
The fourth premise, which is athletes using P.E.D.’s have experienced long-term health issues, is a string claim based on statistics gathered by the endocrine society. According to the endocrine society, doping campaigns only focus on the illegal advantages that the athletes acquired from using Peds and not necessary the health risks associated with doping (Pope et al, 2014). There is limited data on the negative effects of the performance enhancement drugs to athletes. The lack of significant evidence on Peds validates that though Wada terms Peds as health risk factors, the risks are not substantial enough to warrant their ban in athletics.
The fifth and sixth premises reflect on the correlation between education and the proper use of Peds. Instead of banning Peds, it is important to educate the athletes on what doping constitutes and allow the athlete to make an informed choice on whether to use Peds or not based on the facts of the consequences. Lack of knowledge about the proper dosing of Peds is the major reason why athletes that engage in doping end up experiencing detrimental health risks. According to Savulescu (2004), low amounts of Peds used in the short term are not harmful to the athletes and therefore it is high time to reconsider the banning of Peds.
Due to the degree of controversy, that the use of P.E.D.’s elicits it is important to consider why an intelligent or even stakeholder in the sports field would disagree with the inductive reasoning presented in this paper. The most common argument would be that it is important for member states to the World Anti-Doping Agency have to adopt a framework that harmonizes the facts about usage of performance enhancement drugs and the regulatory policies meant to promote sports. Moreover, the assertion that athletes have historically used enhancing drugs does not make it sufficient to assert that that makes them acceptable. Just like applicable in all other constitutional laws, ignorance or lack of education thereof on regulated dosing has no defense. Though improper use of muscles enhancers has caused long term health issues, its conscious use makes it subject to personal discretion whereby those who feel free to use Peds should be allowed to use the drugs.
Kanayama, G., Hudson, J. I., & Pope, H. G. (2010). Illicit anabolic–androgenic steroid use. Hormones and Behavior, 58(1), 111-121.
Morente-Sánchez, J., & Zabala, M. (2013). Doping in Sport: A Review of Elite Athletes’ Attitudes, Beliefs, and Knowledge. Sports Medicine, 43(6), 395-411.
Pitsch, W., & Emrich, E. (2011). The frequency of doping in elite sport: Results of a replication study. International Review of the Sociology of Sport, 47(5), 559-580.
Pope, H. G., Wood, R. I., Rogol, A., Nyberg, F., Bowers, L., & Bhasin, S. (2014). Adverse Health Consequences of Performance-Enhancing Drugs: An Endocrine Society Scientific Statement. Endocrine Reviews, 35(3), 341-375. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4026349.
Savulescu, J. (2004). Why we should allow performance-enhancing drugs in sport. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 38(6), 666-670. Retrieved from http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/bjsports/38/6/666.full.pdf
Singhammer, J. (2012). Age and Gender Specific Variations in Attitudes to Performance -Enhancing Drugs and Methods. A Cross-Sectional Study. Sports Science Review, XXI (5-6).