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Winning & Performance Enhancing Drugs

The drive among athletes to win at all costs pushes them to take risks with their health by using what are known as performance enhancing drugs. There are many categories of performance enhancing drugs, including steroids, growth hormone, stimulants, pain killers, GHB, and diuretics - anything the athlete believes will give them the winning edge (Kowalski, 2003, 6-11). Motivation ranges from gaining college scholarships to high-paying spots on professional teams or becoming an Olympic gold medalist. No level of sports is immune to this problem. The taking of performance enhancing drugs, or doping, as it is called in sports, is banned by most sports regulatory bodies, yet it is rampant in all sports. Three athletes lost their gold medals at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City because they tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Some athletes are willing to take the risk of being caught, even though it may mean being barred from competition for life, just to triumph over their competitors. Winning is the only thing that is important to them.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately five percent of high school athletes take performance enhancing drugs, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association reports nearly 60 percent of its athletes take supplements which may contain banned substances (Kowalski, 2003, 7). Athletes use the drugs for a variety of reasons: to increase their body mass and strengthen muscles; to increase oxygen delivery to their muscles when competing or in training; to mask pain from injuries; to stimulate the body overall; to relax; to reduce their level of stress, particularly when in competitions; to lose weight; and to mask the use of other drugs (Freudenrich, 2004).

The drugs used depend on what the athlete is hoping to achieve. They are known as ôroids,ö ôhype,ö ôpump,ö and ôjuice,ö in the trade, and can be taken orally or by injection (Bruce, 2002). ...

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