Use of Drugs

Use Of Drugs

  • The dangers of performance enhancing drug use, eg physical effects, loss of reputation, sponsorship and income
  • For strength (human growth hormone, anabolic steroids)
  • For aerobic performance (EPO)
  • To mask other drugs (diuretics, alcohol)
  • Benefits and limitations of drug testing

The Dangers of Performance Enhancing Drug Use

  • Drug screening (Dope tests) are common for elite athletes.
  • News of a positive dope test could spread really fast through the media.
  • Loss of reputation will follow, players are often banned for life from participating in a sport.
  • Players also lose sponsors since no brand would want to associate with defaulters.
  • The chain of events trigger mental conditions such as anxiety and depression.

For Strength

  • Often, athletes intake human growth hormones (HGH) as supplements to enhance strength and power development.
  • Side effects include:
    • Pain in the nerve, muscle and joint
    • Muscular weakness due to under development
    • Elevated cholesterol
    • Disposition of a giant (large chins, ears, hands, feet)
    • Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases
  • Some athletes also enhance power development by changing body composition using anabolic steroids. These come with severe health implications as well.

For Aerobic Performance

  • Erythropoietin (EPO) is a hormone that is naturally produced in our body by the kidneys for synthesis of red blood cells (RBC).
  • Some individuals take extra EPO from external sources to trigger more RBC production leading to heightened levels of oxygen transport facilitating aerobic activities.
  • Excessive RBC in blood can increase blood pressure and lead to:
    • Heart disease
    • Stroke
    • Cerebral or pulmonary embolism
    • Block and damage to the arteries

To Mask Other Drugs

  • Diuretics dehydrate the body quite quickly and triggers eliminations of water through urine.
  • When the urine becomes dilute, the presence of drugs cannot be detected precisely.
  • Because of this mechanism that could easily hoodwink a dope test, the use of diuretics and alcohol is banned in many sports.

Benefits and Limitations of Drug Testing

  • Benefits
    • Restraining athletes from cheating maneuvers by using drugs
    • Ensuring fair play and good sportsmanship is maintained
    • Promotion of safety and equity in sports
  • Limitations
    • Limited to a certain spectrum of drugs.
    • Often athletes are exposed in front of testers so there’s a concern regarding privacy.
    • The testing methods are sophisticated and therefore expensive.