Performance Enhancing Drugs - Essay Example

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The use of performance enhancing drugs in sports is one of the main problems which is closely connected with physical well being of sportsmen and ethics. …
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Running Head Persuasive essay Persuasive Essay The use of performance enhancing drugs in sports is one of the main problems which is closely connected with physical well being of sportsmen and ethics. These substances range from caffeine, a constituent of beverages frequently consumed in many societies, through the generally socially tolerated drugs, such as alcohol and marijuana, to the hard, addictive drugs such as the narcotic analgesics related to heroin and morphine and the psychomotor stimulants such as cocaine. Thesis Very often, female contenders are overlooked when it comes to performance enhancing drugs in sport because of different rules and procedures applied to women and men, and different body constitution and chemicals reactions which prevent laboratories to identify illicit substances.
Performance enhancing drug tests are stricter for male than for female athletes. There is a list of substances banned in males only. Differences between the reporting level for men and women are also acknowledged. The confusion over the nandrolone issue is exacerbated by claims that low concentrations of metabolites conferred no performance -enhancing effect and are due to the contamination of supplements. This conclusion from a single untimed urine sample could not be substantiated; the possibility that the result arose from the long-term use by injection of nandrolone may seem unlikely in the present climate of testing but evidence to the contrary had to be unequivocal (Dean, 2000). The number of positive test results has increased dramatically in recent years, but still, researcher admit that differences in male and female constitution prevent laboratories to identify illicit substances. OTC drugs, such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, are relatively less potent and non-selective than other stimulants, hence their availability without prescription. Following Bowers (1997) this lack of selectivity, with a concomitant likelihood of side-effects, especially if used in supratherapeutic doses, makes them less desirable as potential performance -enhancing drugs, since no improvement in performance has been found in the few research studies on these drugs. Similarly, various 'natural' products such as herbal preparations may, and in some cases frequently do, contain banned substances.
Another argument is that women may have illnesses that require them to take particular drugs. It indicates an increasing trend in its use as a performance -enhancing drug, since its pharmacological properties are likely to have adverse, rather than positive, effects on performance in most sports. Statistical results prove that women swimmers perform much better than men because of inadequate drug tests and differences between male and female constitution. "Unfortunately, many of the illegal, performance-enhancing drugs are extremely difficult to detect, so we have to say they could be a factor" ('Olympic women swimmers' 2005). Although unlikely to be used as a performance -enhancing substance in sport, events in recent years have shown that marijuana is used as part of the lifestyle of many athletes. Critics admit that: "For girls in particular, the trend is an outgrowth of the increased stakes of women's sports in the Title IX era, as well as shifting perceptions of what is considered to be physical perfection" (Sappenfield and Kartin, 2005). One of the continual failures of anti-doping programs generally is the focus upon the athlete as the target of testing and when a test is positive the transgressor who has been found to have cheated by using performance -enhancing drugs.
The main problem is that a particular drug which may be considered performance -enhancing in one sport may well be deleterious to performance in another sport. Drugs with a sedative action, such as alcohol and beta blockers, would be considered useful in events such as rifle shooting where a reduced heart rate and steady stance are important. Accurate data on the prevalence of drug misuse in sport are not forthcoming from evidence derived from medical practitioners.

Bowers, L.D. (1997) Analytical advances in detection of performance -enhancing compounds. Clin. Chem., 43, 1299-1304.
Dean, C. (2000) Performance -enhancing drugs; damned if you do and damned if you don't. Br. J. Sports Med., 34, 154.
Olympic women swimmers eclipse predictions of IU researcher. (2005). Indiana University. Retrieved 03 June 2007, from
Sappenfield, M., Kartin, A. (2005). Steroids now often used for slimming, not just sports. Retrieved 03 June 2007, from Read More
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