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Performance enhancers can be defined as "narcotic, hallucinogen, or stimulant that increases talent and quality of play". Amateur sport is defined as "any event played part time, especially unpaid or paid very little to perform". And drug can be defined as "a narcotic, stimulant, or hallucinogen" (OED, 2000). Performance enhancing drugs were synthesized in 1887 and were initially commercially available for over-the-counter use as a nasal decongestant. During World War II, these drugs were used as a means of delaying the onset of fatigue and increasing alertness in soldiers. These substances have all the effects needed to enhance performance and are now used in sports. Every year, hundreds of our future athletes perish due to one major issue - drug use. Drug use is the number one abuse in athletics to this very date. How is it possible for our society to stop such a growing trend? The rules and regulations governing the use of drugs in amateur sport are ineffective. The ease of getting the drugs as well as the offset of punishment and danger (involved in using them) by large financial endorsements is a key factor. In addition the laws are too complicated, the testing process is flawed, and the punishments are too weak and vague. All of these factors lead to the steady and heavy use of performance enhancers in amateur sporting events.
In our modern society, prescription and non-prescription drugs are both easily accessible and readily available. Laws written by an organization cannot stop this, and are therefore futile. This provides the athlete with a means. He/she - through no fault of anyone - can obtain drugs to use in sport with the same amount of effort that it takes to buy bread at his or her local convenience store. This poses a problem for the athletes and as a result there is often confusion and chaos over what is acceptable and what is not. The International Olympic Committee, surprisingly enough, bans caffeine. "Taken in certain specific doses, caffeine can raise an athletes metabolic level, body temperature, blood pressure and blood sugar level." (IOC, p.2) This means that if an Olympic runner was to wake up late on the date of their race and had a hangover from the night before he would have to run with a migraine rather than drink some coffee and take a Tylenol. This example is all too real. Silken Laumann, a Canadian rower at the Pan American games had a hefty cold a few days from her race, to relieve her symptoms she decided to take a Benadryl. On the day of the race her team won the gold but the euphoria of victory was short lived when the announcement that Laumann had failed her drug test came through. All four were stripped of their medals. Benadryl is an over the counter cold medicine that contains an illegal stimulant. Ironically there are two types of Benadryl: the one athletes can take and the one that's illegal. Coincidentally, Laumann was handed the wrong kind. In an interview Laumann was quoted saying "It was a negative experience. Ultimately, I felt it was a very innocent mistake and it was treated like a crime at first."(Buffery, p.2). One can clearly see that the extreme availability of illegal substances makes the laws look futile. The laws are also ineffective because the punishments are offset by large financial endorsements that attach themselves to winning thus creating a demand for the drugs that aid winning. Most athletes are told from a very young age that winning is good because of the prize instead of being taught that cheating is bad. At any given amateur sporting event there are
Quotes talked about in this paper
Terminology referenced in this essay
Sports referenced in this essay
Names included in this paper
Silken Laumann, the first gold medal, Yesalis, Coates, Brookler, Browne,
Organizations talked about in this paper
International Olympic Committee, National College Athletic Association, National Football League,
Health Conditions included in this essay
Drug mentioned in this paper
stimulant, decongestant, caffeine, testosterone, growth hormone,
Keywords included in this paper
drug, amateur sport, competition, punishments, performance, drug test, positive test, rules and regulations, Silken Laumann, drug testing, olympic committees, sporting event, International Olympic Committee, national olympic committees, blood sugar level, tar and feather, World War II, Pan American games, stimulant, illegal substances, human growth hormone, creatine, National Football League, Ross, pressure, Ross Rebagliati, blood pressure, gold medal, one thing, convenience store, a crime, ingredient, body temperature, false negative, lenient, court hearing, social institution, court trial, code, food supplement, hallucinogen, international federations, enhancers, international arbitration, high school, narcotic, document, caffeine, Browne, hormone,