Disclaimer: The image is merely for representational purposes and makes no claims that the people in the image is in any way related to the topic.

Over the last few years, numerous athletes in various games have been found to be guilty of consuming illegal performance enhancing drugs. Most of the time, those sports persons who have been tested positive for drug consumption find themselves at the peak of their career. And ever so often, there are numerous cases which go unreported. This “drug-crisis” has come reached a point where if any sportsperson is found to be outstanding in his game, rumours, allegations of his/her drug abuse or other steroids emerge and disappointingly, these allegations turn out to be true after various rigorous tests. The utilization of steroids, supplements, and other performance enhancement drugs- is very unsafe. The usage of illegal drugs or steroids may have raised the entertainment quotient of the games making it more exciting or adrenaline pumping though conversely, it undermines the very essence of  sportsman spirit, the beauty and the respect for the game.

The Growing Drug Industry

The increasing usage of performance enhancing drugs in the sports industry has yet to  turn into community awareness initiatives that require serious thought and level headed discussion in order to be curbed. The sale of drugs have become rampant and drug industries are constantly on the look-out for new ones. One company had come up with a certain kind of chewing gum that claims to increase testosterone levels. Another strange drug that took over the market by storm was a steroid that dissolves in the mouth, when kept discretely under the tongue. If you scour the Net, you will come across all types of promotions of products ranging from better mental strength to the ones that guarantee enhanced sexual performance/pleasure.

Athletes are also forced to consume food substitutes that are known to have potent performance enhancing qualities as well as certain illegal drugs. There are also drugs that are commonly sold as health supplements which gets converted into dangerous steroids once they are  absorbed by the blood stream. The usage of illegal drugs have been been associated with the untimely demise of numerous celebrities especially sports-persons, who ingested more than the permissible dosage of the drug or consumed some illegal/banned drug or gobbled up some deadly cocktail of inimical drugs. These drugs, health supplements are not difficult to procure, and bootleggers are on the prowl for new drugs like how athletes are attracted towards the latest Michael Jordan’s shoe. Initially, a popular drug store chain refused to stock Androstenedione, yet when Mark McGwire, a highly famed baseball player from America confessed to using it during a season when he kept breaking records one after the other; it turned into that one must-have drug in every drug store.

The Steroid Game

Despite the fact that some steroids may enhance a sportsperson’s endurance and muscle development, they can be attributed with countless terribly unsafe reactions. Anabolic steroids(anabolic-androgenic steroids) are available in numerous forms including ones that can be consumed orally, infused, or even applied on the skin. Studies have found that steroids can alter ones mental, physical and psychological pattern. The abuse of such drugs can lead to sudden strokes, stunted growth and also lead to mental aggression. They may additionally prompt a feeling of invulnerability and an unnecessary “macho behaviour”, and  may also trigger the attacks of anger or psychosis.

Men may likewise encounter diminished sperm number, contracted testicles, baldness, and development of breasts. Ladies may experience change in their voice pattern and excessive body hair. As indicated by the NIDA (USA), there could be even more severe life-threatening side effects of  steroid abuse such as liver, prostrate cancer and heart attacks. Addiction and depression are very common issues in drug addicts. Irritability, delusions, paranoid jealousy and lack of good judgment etc. are related issues. Likewise, the sharing and re-using of used needles makes drug users more susceptible to HIV and similar diseases.

The Need of Drugs

Records are broken almost every day. These days, athletes are often compelled to scale unbelievable heights or go the extra hard mile in order to win or reach the heights of glory. The competition has become tougher than ever that despite the reluctance of sports persons succumb to the pressure of their sponsors, agencies, peers and fans.

The utilization of drug is not just unlawful and unjust; it is likewise ethically inexcusable because it discredits years of hard work and practice of honest sports persons as well as disregards the decency and greatness of the game. Additionally, it can have a negative impact on other competitors both physically and psychologically, especially younger ones. If a young contestant, who is very vulnerable, sees his idol achieving success through the usage of drugs, he’s also going to see drugs as the best possible way to accomplishments and success.

The utilization of food substitutes and use of drugs among secondary school competitors is increasing by the day. The values inculcated by being a part of a game, that is, the importance of competition, collaboration, teamwork, commitment, dedication and participation, have been replaced by the thought of recklessly, ruthlessly winning a game or exceeding expectations and succumbing to pressure from external agencies. Young athletes are made to believe that performing exceedingly well is the means and end to the game. Every time a famous sportsperson confesses or is convicted of using illegal steroids, some young athlete out there might think that resorting to drugs is a common attribute of every first class athlete.

Some people believe that steroids and other performance enhancing drugs are safe. CRN (Council for Responsible Nutrition) explains that certain drugs are safe within the prescribed dosage and that the use of some performance enhancement drugs are in fact acceptable. Individuals are always on the lookout for ways to bolster their performance and often drugs are the easiest way to achieve their goals. In any case, the increase in usage of performance enhancing drugs by teens and young adults is a very frightening scenario and has to be curbed at the earliest or else a bleak world awaits the future of sports . Drugs such as creatine is usually recommended as a safe drug for strong individuals; however it shouldn’t be used by individuals with kidney problems. As per studies by Harvard and Columbia, Ephedra and Cantox are said to be used safely under medical supervision.

Games are presumably as prominent as ever, delivering entertainment to a huge number of fans everywhere throughout the world. However, the utilization of the drugs is damaging and unethical. Athletes need to be appreciated for the hard work, commitment and tenacity. However, it ought to be their natural athleticism coupled with perseverance that needs to be appreciated.

Athletes should ask themselves and reconsider the use of drugs: What are you really striving for- short lived fame or long lived glory?

DISCLAIMER: The image is merely representational and makes no claims that there is any connection between the individuals in the image and the subject of discussion. 

Image Credits: Dominik Szopa Via Flickr.com (No changes have been made to the original image)

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