Advantages and Health Risks Associated with Doping in Sports

drug use in sports pros and cons

We draw a thin line between what is morally acceptable in sports and what is not. People think of doping as something that is unethical because it gives someone a potential “edge” in winning. Addiction Resource is an educational platform for sharing and disseminating information about addiction and substance abuse recovery centers. Addiction Resource is not a healthcare provider, nor does it claim to offer sound medical advice to anyone. Addiction Resource does not favor or support any specific recovery center, nor do we claim to ensure the quality, validity, or effectiveness of any particular treatment center. No one should assume the information provided on Addiction Resource as authoritative and should always defer to the advice and care provided by a medical doctor.

Advantages and Health Risks Associated with Doping in Sports

The adverse effects of AAS use depend on the product, the age and sex of the user, how much they use, and for how long. Testosterone is also prescribed for a number of hormone-related conditions, such as hypogonadism. Others, such as anadur, have no therapeutic use, but athletes use them. Anadrol is an example of a steroid with both medicinal and performance uses. They may even cause the body to stop producing its own testosterone. Our team is available to guide you through the steps of assessing your insurance coverage for addiction treatment.

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  • There are five classes of banned drugs, the most common of which are stimulants and hormones.
  • The health risks of drug abuse in athletes and the unfair advantage experienced by them were significant enough to induce the formation of the World Anti-Doping Agency in 1999.
  • “It is complicated by whether kids stick to playing sports and the reasons why they do stick to it or quit.”
  • The Act does not penalize athletes who have been caught doping.
  • Side effects may also be psychological, with testosterone often being connected to increased aggressiveness because it impacts the brains subcortical structures in the amygdala and the hypothalamus.

Products such as morphine and oxycodone are banned but the opiate-derived painkiller codeine is allowed. Anabolic steroids are usually taken either in tablet form or injected into muscles. In December last year, a German TV documentary alleged as many as 99% of Russian athletes negative effects of drugs in sport were guilty of doping, although the Russian Athletics Federation described the allegations as “lies”. As the increasingly popular Tour of Utah pro cycling event passed through parts of the state this month, we definitely saw impressive physical strength and endurance.

Why is it an issue now? A brief history of doping

  • Even the cannabinoids can be justified in those dealing with terminal, painful conditions.
  • In 1998, police found a large number of prohibited substances, including ampoules of erythropoietin, in a raid during the Tour de France.25,26 The scandal led to a major reappraisal of the role of public authorities in anti-doping affairs.
  • Sha’Carri Richardson, the American 100 metre runner, was banned from the Olympics for taking cannabis.
  • The abuse or misuse of EPO can also trigger serious autoimmune diseases, causing the body’s immune system to attack healthy cells.
  • The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) was established the following year.

However, these drugs can cause breast growth, prostate gland enlargement, smaller testicles, and infertility in men. Women may become more masculine, with a deeper voice, more body hair, baldness, and infrequent menstruation. Drug dependence, aggressive behavior, and psychiatric disorders are also possibilities, among many more. Furthermore, sports are designed to test a specific cluster of skills and capacities, including physical, psychological, tactical and technical abilities.

  • This is one of the substances that can demonstrate the health risks of drug abuse in sports.
  • We only have to look at bodybuilding, a sport that has historically encouraged PED use, for proof of this fact.
  • At the college level, organizations such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association60 and individual member institutions conduct standard drug testing programs and enforce penalties for positive tests.
  • The benefit to these random drug tests is that it prevents athletes on drugs from cheating the system if they are unaware of when testing is happening.
  • Gene-doping is a still-experimental manipulation of cells or genes to improve athletic performance.

It is easy to see why sports can be good for those who are able to continue with it to adulthood, Upenieks said. Knoester emphasized that most participants didn’t have clinical levels of depression or anxiety, and the differences among the three groups were relatively modest. The NCAA later that year lessened the penalty for a positive marijuana test to half of a season. Misuse of steroids can lead to withdrawal symptoms when the person stops taking them. People who suddenly discontinue AAS after using them for a long time may experience withdrawal symptoms, including severe depression.

drug use in sports pros and cons

Drugs In Sport and Addiction

The effectiveness of this is hotly debated, given that many athletes still use these drugs despite the potential consequences. It is important for athletes who use drugs in sports to seek help as soon as possible, as a drug test for athletes is a regular occurrence, and one random test could severely affect their reputation. When athletes on drugs are looking for information on substance abuse treatment, confidentiality tends to be one of their biggest considerations. They would not want any harm to be done to their career prospects.

While underlying reasons may change, the consequences of drug misuse in sports remain the same. In addition to severe adverse health effects, drug misuse can lead to legal trouble, suspensions from sports, and even a fatal overdose. Less common is blood doping, where blood is removed from the body and injected back in later to boost oxygen levels. This practice, which can lead to kidney and heart failure, is banned. Other potential benefits or advantages that competitors can have from increased testosterone levels are increased muscle mass, improved cognition and an overall better feeling of well-being. Everyone is looking for an opportunity to have an advantage, and some people are willing to do just about anything.


It creates a situation where athletes are often operating outside of medical supervision. The legalization of performance enhancing drugs in competitive events could help to reduce the risks to the health of the athlete because it would place them under medical supervision for their activities. Instead of using doctors to look for ways to beat doping tests, these medical professionals could consult with each athlete to determine the best training regimen to follow that maximizes results. Without this supervision, athletes are often forced to work on their own, which creates a higher risk to their health. Other performance-enhancing drugs, such as human growth hormone, erythropoietin, and stimulants, can cause an array of adverse effects.

drug use in sports pros and cons

Drugs in Sport: Statistics, Side Effects, Prevention

  • The burden of proof is placed on the league during an appeals process.
  • One could argue that Sha’Carri was not taking drugs to physically enhance her performance.
  • Players who refuse to comply with the treatment program or who test positive for drugs of abuse after their evaluation and commitment to the treatment board may find themselves suspended or subject to other discipline.
  • Some athletes may seem to get an edge from performance-enhancing drugs.
  • Over 50% admitted that they would be willing to take a drug, even if it eventually killed them, if it would allow them to win each event they entered for five consecutive years.