Are Performance Enhancing Drugs the Answer

“The overwhelming majority of athletes I know would do anything, and take
anything, short of killing themselves to improve athletic performance” (Donohoe, Johnson
1). This statement is made by a once Olympic hammer-throw champion in 1973. It hardly
portrays the importance that substance abuse has with regard to athletes and sports. If
you are one of the many athletes in the United States, you have no doubt in your mind that
this is an ongoing problem in the wide world of sports. If you live breathe, and bleed
sports, than you know the importance of winning. You, in your mind, know that losing is
not an option. You will not stand for it and for that, go to great lengths to be the best,
even if chemicals and drugs are the answer. People have gotten banned from the spot,
seriously hurt and even died due to drugs that they have used to enhance their
performance. Although people may not realize it, there are many consequences to using
performance enhancing drugs. “In some sports, it has been suggested that it may be
impossible to ‘get to the top’ without the use of these illegal substances, but many think
that they can come close without being affected by side effects and long-term effects on
health, they are wrong. (Donohoe, Johnson 1). Performance enhancing drugs are not the
answer and it is not worth loosing your life or career over a sport.

“Doping” is now a common term that people use to describe the use of a substance
of the purpose of enhancing performance. (Donohoe, Johnson 2) “Doping has been
defined as the administration to, or the use by, a competing athlete of any substance
foreign to the body or of any physiological substance taken in abnormal quantity or by an
abnormal route of entry in to the body, with the sole intention of increasing performance
in an artificial and unfair manner.” (Donohoe, Johnson 3). Using stimulants and other
drugs to increase performance is not anything new. The ideas has been around for
hundreds of years. “Roman gladiators and knights in medieval jousts used stimulants after
sustaining injury in order to continue the combat.” In these cases, it is known that these
gladiators uses herbs and dried figs and even when as far as using the rear hooves of an
Abyssinian ass, ground up, boiled in oil, and flavored with rose petals and rose hips to
improve performance. (Donohoe, Johnson 2) There are many types of advanced
chemicals that may be use in this day and age to effect performance such as painkillers,
stimulants, and anabolic steroids to name a few.
A big problem in the sports world with regards to performance enhancing drugs
are painkillers. Every sport is affected by these so-called needed drugs. There are cases
where boxers are massaged with an ointment mixture containing cocaine to provide some
sort of anesthesia during fights. (Donohoe, Johnson 4) There are many drugs blunt the
bodies ability to feel pain and since sports demand a person to train longer, harder, and
earlier in life, these drugs are always in demand. Pain is a reaction of the body to warn us
that we need to take it easy. (Nelson 84) Most athletes take analgesic to ease the
discomfort and enable them to continue. (Donohoe, Johnson 94). Football is a sport
where these drugs are over used. In this sport, a person is put in dangerous situations that
have the ability to seriously hurt an athlete. If an athlete is given a painkiller due to one of
these situations, the athlete continues, not knowing that more injury can come result if the
problem persists. Since the athlete does not feel the pain, than he is ready to win the
game. You may not realize it, but everyone has some form of painkillers at their disposal.
Aprain is a form of painkiller the people use for mild pain and aches and also may be very
hurtful if abused. Morphine and codeine are other types of drugs used by athletes to help
them feel no pain. These drugs are very dangerous and could cause death if not taken
properly. With regards to painkiller, you may think this is the best while playing but you
will soon realize that is was not such a smart move when you come crashing down.

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Another dangerous drug is a stimulant. They were given to both allied and
German forces in W.W.II to increase alertness and endurance. (Eldeson 75) With regards
to cycling, which uses stimulants the most, the first case that has been reported of the first
doping-related death was in 1886. Races placed extreme physical and psychological
demands on the riders; consequently many of them turned to various stimulant to prepare.
Arthur Linton was trained by ‘Choppy’ Warburton in cycling for the Bordeaux to Paris
race. He apparently died after an overdose on strychnine which was given to him by his
trainer. Warburton was know to give all his athletes the drug during the competition. No
one is really sure that the long-term effects of the drug that killed him, since his death was
ruled the result of typhoid fever and not an overdose. Warburton was since banned for life
from the sport. In the 1960 Olympics in Rome, one Danish cyclist died because of an
overdose of amphetamines and nicotinyl tartrate which increases the blood supply to the
muscles. Two other Danish teammates were hospitalized because of toxic conditions.
(Donohoe, Johnson 5). Stimulants were also banned from the NFL. Arnold J. Mandell,
the team trainer, was caught giving these drugs to players and was dismissed in 1974 due
to the lawsuit that was placed when player sued over drug related injuries. Mandall was
found guilty of giving over 1750 pills to player in a three month period and one player
alone received 400 pills. (Donohoe, Johnson 28).An athlete can easily get hooked on
these drugs and may result in an overdose if taken in large quantities which is not
uncommon since depression is a common side effect of the drug. (Garell 76) Stimulant
cause hallucinations and may even cause paranoid schizophrenia. Despite these risk the
athletes continue taking these drugs to live in the moment and not worry about the long-
term effects. As you can see these outcomes could have easily been prevented. These are
a few example that stimulants, perform enhancing drugs, ruin lives and in this case is the
cause of death in some. (Donohoe, Johnson 4)
The biggest and well-known drug in use today is steroids. It is not limited to any
particular sport, amateur, nor professional athletics. (Nardo 18). Steroids are often used
by athletes to build muscle and as strength building aids. (Nardo 21). Another sport that
widely uses steroids is, again, football. Because the size and strength is needed, these
players will go to great lengths to get to where they want to be, and that is the
championship game. There are many negative effects of using steroids. It could cause
liver problems, reduce sperm production, and increase the risk of a heart attack and or
stroke. (Nardo 23). There are many psychological or emotional effects on a person who
uses steroids. Many users often experience mood swings and cause moments of rage and
increase their hostile manner. (Nardo 25) Using steroids to enhance performance, it is
also an issue of fairness in the athletic competition. All these side effects and problems
that arise due to the use of steroids greatly outweigh the gain, and for that you are putting
your own life at risk to be the best and win a game.

As you can see, there are many instances that people have been seriously hurt buy
using performance enhancing drugs. People have been banned from the sport for life if
found caught using and/or distributing these drugs, rendered unfit to play as a result of the
side effects and have even died because the wanted to win and would do anything they
could to be better than their opponent. It is not worth losing you life over a sport. “At
least 80 percent of top sportsmen are slaves of hormone products.” (Donohoe, Johnson
80). Even if someone thinks that it could not and would not happen to them then they are
the true losers. Athletes should keep the game pure and win because you are better
athlete, not because your are a real life form of the incredible hulk. “Unless something is
done soon, international sports will be a competition between circus freaks manipulated by
international chemists.” (Donahow, Johnson 102).

1. Thesis- Its not worth losing your life over a sport
3. Overview- Talk about how bad athletes want to win
1. Drugs have been around for a long time
3. Types of drugs I will be talking about
3. Football- Effects on athletes: being banned, side effects, death
3. History of death and injury caused by stimulants
Works Cited
Edelson, Edward. Sports Medicine. NY: Chelsea House, 1988.

Donohoe, Tom, and Niel Johnson. Foul Play: Drug Abuse in Sports. NY: Basil
Blackwell, 1987.

Nardo, Don. Drugs and Sports. San Diego, CA: Lucent Overview, 1990.

Nelson, Elizabeth. Coping with Drugs and Sports. NY: Rosen, 1995.