Within the area of professional sports, there are two major problems that are concerned with drugs in athletics: steroid use and other illegal substance abuse. Within this framework, there are various problems--legal, psychological, physical, and sociological, associated with drugs in professional athletics. This paper will examine those two major issues, first dealing with steroids and their effect on athletic performance and attitude, then dealing with various effects that drugs have had in professional sports.
Anabolic steroids are quickly becoming a major, world-wide social problem. The problem focuses on the world of sports, but is not limited to that area of society. Examples are rife in the abuse of steroids. A Florida newspaper reported the tragic effects of a teenage boy who wanted to become "more muscular" and bought steroids from a local pharmacy--later to find that the abuse of the drug caused impotency. other reports show people injecting solutions meant to build up show horses, presumably to help them place higher in bodybuilding competitions. A more typical example of steroid abuse is centered in health clubs around the nation, where fitness instructors sell pills to clients who aren't getting "results fast enough."
It is estimated that as of 1988 over one million Americans were taking the risk of using anabolic steroids. Some forge prescriptions or buy the drugs on the black market. The majority, however, order them by mail or from dealers who concentrate on the health club market. According to the Food and Drug Administration, "the illegal selling of steroids has become a $100-million-a-year black market" (Rowan and Mazie 133-134).
Others, Dr. William Taylor of the U.S. Olympic Drug Control Program for instance, echo the seriousness of the steroid problem. Dr. Taylor stated, "It's not a sports problem anymore, it's a social problem. And the users are playing with dynamite" (133-134).