The use of performance-enhancing drugs and prescription drugs has become a concern in the present sports world. Many professional players have failed a drug test, for instance, Eliezer Alfonso, Carlos Almanza, and Chad Allen; this has led to massive penalties and suspensions. The major drug scandals that have hit major sports personalities are; prescription medications, performance-enhancing drugs as well as other harmful supplements for gaining a quick advantage ("Learn about doping in sports", 2015). Today, in many parts of the world, sports have been used as a special vehicle to attain recognition and professionalism. This desperate quest to win has led to sport’s personnel to do anything from cheating to using the steroid to achieve the elite status in the sports world. Statistics have shown that approximately 3 million athletes, as well as bodybuilders, have been using illegal steroids. Steroids are hormones that are either injected into the body or taken orally. Steroids trigger a reaction in the body that drastically increases the levels of testosterone and as a result, they increase an individual’s muscle size as well as extra strength. However, this induced power has harmful side effects. The use of theses hormones can cause liver cancer or a heart attack ("Learn about doping in sports", 2015).
Doping has now become a global issue in the international sporting activities all over the world. The international sports federation such as International Olympic Committee has over the past decades tried to contain the rampant spread of this menace. The ongoing Rio Olympics games in Brazil have justified the fact that doping needs to be addressed from a different angle. A Polish weightlifter, a Bulgarian steeplechaser, and a Chinese swimmer have already been suspended for doping allegation in Rio Olympics ("3 athletes sanctioned for doping at Rio Olympics", 2016). It is believed that with adequate educational programs, supportive medical treatment, and frequent testing this problem would notably decrease. However, this issue seems it’s here to stay; professional athletes are using more complex undetectable techniques to abuse substances with more sophisticated distribution channels. These iconic professional athletes are the role models top the younger generation, and therefore they mimic their lifestyle including substance abuse (LeVert & Whiting, 2010).
Performance Enhancing and Prescription Drugs
In the past half a century, steroids as well as human growth hormones usage has been on the rise especially among the professional athletes. Nonetheless, these professional sports personnel do not only abuse the illegal substances, at times the drugs they abuse are administered to them by either their trainers or physicians. The Sports governing bodies are pinned on the wall when making a decision pertaining to substances use because there is rampant use of narcotics painkillers mostly known as opioids, performance enhancing drugs and the increased use of prescription drugs. For instance, NFL faced a formidable responsibility of attempting to stop the use of drugs and at the same time try to assist the athletes to manage their day to day pain. The Washington Post author compiled finding on how pain, as well as pain management in the NFL, triggered the culture of prescription drug use as well as drug abuse. The author used interviews and surveys that were conducted by Washington University School of Medicine (Savulescu, 2016).
One of the many non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs was Toradol which was widely used in the NFL. This drug reduced hormones that would cause inflammation as well as pain in the body. Toradol was only to be used for a short duration to reduce moderate or severe pain in adults especially prior or after surgery. Nevertheless, Toradol had numerous side effects if it was overused, for instance, gastrointestinal bleeding, damages to the kidney and thinning the blood hence exposing the user to easy concussions (Robey, Morrow, & Moore, 2010). Other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs include Indocin, Marcaine as well as Xylocaine. Indocin was mostly used to suppress severe or moderate pain as well as minimize pains that were caused by tendonitis, gout, and arthritis. This drug has alarming side effects, for instance, concussions, shortness of breath, weakness and irregular heartbeats. On the other hand, Xylocane was used to restrict nerves from transmitting the pain signals to the brain. Xylocaine and Marcaine were much similar to Toradol, and their prescription was reported to have caused irregular heartbeats, trouble in breathing and chest pains (Scarth, Clarke, Teale, & Pearce, 2010).
Use and Abuse
Most of the drugs that athletes used in order to maintain their prowess in every event have worrying side effects and in most cases lead to lifetime addiction. Additionally, these drugs over time increase the chances of these athletes suffering more severe injuries (Scarth, Clarke, Teale, & Pearce, 2010). According to research conducted in 2010 at the Washington University Schools of Medicine, out of 644 retired NFL players, 71 % admitted having abused the narcotic drugs while 52% had used opioids during their career to treating pain. The pattern of athletes using drugs to perform better appeared to be consistent throughout the research. The drugs that athletes use typically allow them to perform exemplarily in the field with less pain and preventing any further injury during the game (Robey, Morrow, & Moore, 2010).
Deficiencies in the literature
Most of the literature on the issue of steroid use in sport has not adequately addressed this problem. The research appears to be more reactive rather than active. The literature has criticized this practices as well as the athletes who abuse these substances. Though this study is recommending more researchers to conduct more extensive researches to get to the bottom of it, they also need to change their approach. The previous literature has mostly been based on blame game from the athletes to those distributing these pharmaceutical products. Despite the fact that controlling the use of steroids by testing is crucial, it is not entirely sufficient. This study recommends more appropriate intervention to be formulated especially those that will be biased towards changing the attitude towards the use of steroids. Additionally, there should be more emphasis on educational programs that will capitalize on the health dangers of using steroids, in particular for athletes.
This study will be helpful to the athletes since it will enlighten them on the mess they can get into by abusing any of these substances. They may never reach their career prime if they abuse these drugs which may lead to untimely deaths due to the serious side effects. Secondly, the trainers and physicians who advise these athletes will find this study interesting since it will warn them of risking the lives of their clients. Finally, the Sports governing bodies who have the responsibility of upholding and safeguarding the integrity of sporting events.
3 athletes sanctioned for doping at Rio Olympics. (2016). Cbsnews.com. Retrieved 14 August 2016, from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/3-athletes-sanctioned-for-doping-at-rio-olympics/
Learn about doping in sports. (2015). The Pharmaceutical Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.1211/pj.2015.20067977
LeVert, S. & Whiting, J. (2010). Steroids. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark.
Robey, A., Morrow, T., & Moore, G. (2010). SYSTEMIC SIDE EFFECTS OF TRANSTYMPANIC STEROIDS. The Laryngoscope, 120(S4), S217-S217. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/lary.21684
Savulescu, J. (2016). Doping Scandals, Rio and the Future OF Human Enhancement. Bioethics, 30(5), 300-303. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bioe.12268
Scarth, J., Clarke, A., Teale, P., & Pearce, C. (2010). Comparative in vitro metabolism of the ‘designer’ steroid estra-4,9-diene-3,17-dione between the equine, canine and human: Identification of target metabolites for use in sports doping control. Steroids, 75(10), 643-652. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.steroids.2010.03.010
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