How Society Is Affected By Drug Usage In Sport?

Topics: Olympic Games, Illegal drug trade, Drug addiction Pages: 6 (1552 words) Published: November 16, 2005
Drugs have been a problem in our society for years. They have been used and abused by many groups, including amateur and professional athletes. Drugs are also used for recreational use not just for performance enhancement. Society is directly influenced by the usage of drugs in sport. A study in 2002 showed that "An estimated 3 million people aged 15 or older reported that they used marijuana or hashish at least once in the year before the survey" This shows that 12.2% of all Canadians either have health related problems which condone the usage of illegal drugs or athletes have nothing better to do.

Drug usage in sport is cheating whether it be to play better, to be more relaxed or to gain more muscle mass. Like many drugs such as cocaine (used by 1.3% of all Canadians) can give athletes, that extra advantage to reduce seconds of their time. This is unfair towards all the other athletes not using them.

Athletes have always been seen as role models by young children and by using illegal drugs this gives impressionable children the wrong idea about what has to be done to succeed in sport. Ben Johnson went from hero to zero through the usage of steroids. "At the Seoul Olympics in 1988 Ben Johnson ran the 100 meters in 9.79 seconds making him the fastest man ever. It was a proud moment in Canadian athletic history that quickly turned into a nightmare." After his suspension was over, Ben Johnson attempted to come back. " In the early 1990's Ben attempted to climb to the top once again. Unfortunately, in 1993, he tested positive again after a Montreal track event and was banned by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) for life".

Different sports require different rules for testing and giving out penalties, sports such as baseball, football, basketball and the Olympics require different methods of punishment because of the way the sport is structured.

Baseball.

Testing: Notorious for dragging its feet, baseball is finally testing players--but only for steroids. Penalties: A first infraction results in treatment. For subsequent failures, players are punished by suspensions ranging from 30 days to two years.

Football.

Testing: Football has the toughest pro policy. Since 1990, no steroids, growth hormones, street drugs or ephedrine stimulants allowed. Penalties: Flunk one test, and a player's out for four games; a second, and it's six games; a third means a year's suspension.

Basketball.

Testing: Random tests for steroids, LSD, cocaine, heroin and marijuana but not for ephedra or other supplements. Penalties: First foul draws a five-game suspension; a second costs 10 games; a third, 25 games. The use of anabolic steroids benches a player for good.

Olympics.

Testing: Began testing in '68. The 2004 prohibited list bans well over 100 drugs in addition to methods of blood and gene doping. Penalties: A two-year ban for the first offense, life for the second. Athletes failing drug tests at the Olympic Games lose their medals.

This goes to show that the most strict type of sport is in the Olympics because of the high demand for fair competition. Fairness can be classified many different ways but in the sport industry it is to do with all athletes playing by the rules. This means equal opportunity for all. No one should have an advantage.

Performance enhancing drugs make better athletes no matter which way we look about it. ' "doping"- is to take or have administered to humans or animals a substance designed to elevate athletic output.' Why do athletes take these drugs? This is a question that many individuals believe is an easy task. Many people do not understand that athletes are pressured to perform at such high levels what are impossible to achieve especially when a coach says "I want to see 120% out there" during a competitive game.

The expectations put on athletes to perform from friends, family and coaches is sometimes enough to make them resort to drug usage. The problem is...

References: 5-6. Time, David Bjerklie, Chemical edge: Who 's got it, March 15, 2004
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10.The Economist, 1998, p.12
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