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The area of human activity that is associated with a dramatic spurt in the quality and quantity of performance enhancing drugs is the arena of sports. The performance levels required to succeed at the highest levels of sport are at the limits of human endeavor and with so much…
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Allowing Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports Introduction: The area of human activity that is associated with a dramatic spurt in the quality and quantity of performance enhancing drugs is the arena of sports. The performance levels required to succeed at the highest levels of sport are at the limits of human endeavor and with so much competition and money involved in the success associated with sports, there is the strong temptation to indulge in the use of performance enhancing drugs to gain the required edge and be a part of fame and financial gain that success in sports brings.
Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports:
The use of performance enhancing drugs in sports is defined as “the administration to sportsmen or sportswomen, or the use by them, of pharmacological classes of doping agents or doping methods”. (1). Performance enhancing drugs include the use of banned substances like stimulants, narcotics, anabolic steroids, diuretics and peptide and glycoprotein hormones and analogues and banned methods like blood doping and pharmacological chemical or physical manipulation. (2).
The Call for Allowing Performance Enhancing Drugs:
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) justifies the need for combating the misuse of drugs in sports on the basis that the misuse of drugs runs against the spirit of sports that are enshrined in the values of “ethics, fair play and honesty; health; excellence in performance; character and education; fun and joy; dedication and commitment; respect for rules and laws; respect for self and other participants; courage; and community and solidarity’. (3).
In contrast to this the call for allowing the use of performance enhancing drugs revolves around two main themes. The first theme is that the fine ideals of sports as enshrined by WADA are no longer a working model. The misuse of drugs like steroids has become all pervasive in sports, for according to Savulescu, Faddy & Clayton, 2004, p. 666, “the lure of success is great, but the penalties small”. (4).
The first part of this argument brings into focus the role that money is playing in the field of sports. How did this state of affairs come about? Professionalism in sports is at the root of it. In 1986 the International Olympic Committee changed its rules to allow professional athletes to compete on the justification that all the great male and female athletes needed to be part of the Olympics. The consequence has been the increased use of performance enhancing drugs at the Olympics, whereby the enhanced quality of the Olympics has been marred by doping scandals. (5). An allowance made for improving the quality of the sport has in fact been the cause for its decline.
Cheating is a human failing and the lure of fame and money in sports great and so there is no way to control it, runs an extension of this argument. (4). Human society has many failings and it has been the endeavor of human society to keep these failings in check to the maximum possible. Let us follow the transfer of this case scenario to the other areas of social activity. Just because we have not been able to eradicate robbery and rape in society, let us make it an acceptable practice. In short let’s throw all our social morals and social responsibility down the drain. This is why the Medical Director of WADA, Alan Garnier, 2006, stresses that allowing doping in sports is “not simply absurd; it is morally wrong and irresponsible”. (6).
Society looks upon sports as the means to developing strength of character and observation of rules and regulation among several other qualities valuable to society. By allowing the misuse of drugs in sports the character of society is weakened with the ends justifying the means, hardly making for a morally stronger society. (7). By allowing steroids to be used in sports neither do the sports persons gain nor does society, for according to Garnier, 2006, “to encourage doping may be beneficial for their promoters, but not for sport and athlete health” (6).
The second theme in the argument for allowing doping in sports is that it levels the playing field. The argument that by allowing performance enhancing drugs in sports field the playing field will get leveled and thereby enables athletes from even poor countries to perform well in sports is a pipe dream and really works to the contrary. In the opinion of Garnier, 2006, “to accept doping would allow the use of economic resources and scientific expertise to decide competition, and only those with access to those resources and expertise would win”. (6).
One final aspect that needs consideration is the ruin of the health of the sports person through the misuse of performance enhancing drugs like steroids. There is awareness and concern over the health risks associated with the misuse of performance enhancing drugs. (2).
In conclusion there is no basis for any argument to allow the use of performance enhancing drugs like steroids in sports. For, if we do that we would be spelling the demise of sports as we know it. “It would mean the end of merit for athletes. It would mean that prizes and medals would no longer be awarded to athletes but to pharmaceutical companies and research teams”. (6).
Works Cited
1. “Definition of doping”. 2006. European Commission. 15 April, 2008. .
2. “Doping and Sports”. 1998. Department of life sciences.15 April, 2008 .
3. “World Anti-Doping Code”. 2003. WORLD ANTI-DOPING AGENCY.15 April, 2008. .
4. Savulescu, J. Foddy, B. & Clayton, M. “‘Why we should allow performance enhancing drugs in sport’. British Journal of Sports Medicine 38, 666-670.
5. “OLYMPIC CHANGES: DOLLARS AND SENSE”. 1996. 15 April, 2008. .
6. Garnier, Alan. “Letter to the Editor: An Open Letter to Those Promoting Medical Supervision of Doping”. Medscape Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine 10. 2 (2006) 15 April, 2008. .
7. Stamm, H. Lamprecht, M. Kamber, M. Marti, B. & Mahler, N. “The public perception of doping in Switzerland, 1995-2004”. Journal of Sports Medicine 26.3 (2008): 235-242. Read More
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