There are many powerful forces in the world, but few are as powerful in sports as this. It
is so powerful that 50% of athletes would keep using this knowing it would kill them. This force is
so powerful that 40% of professional athletes use them (Bohan 21). This force is performance
enhancing drugs.


There are many reasons for taking performance enhancing drugs. The first is and most
obvious facto is the improved performance. Another is pressure for results. That factor is the
leading reason for taking drugs. Another factor is money. Since the main users of the drugs are
professional athletes, who need results for money, they are usually the select few that can afford
them.

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The reasons for not using the drugs are more numerous and considerably more
dangerous than the reasons for taking them. The most sever, of course, is death. One example of
this tragic end is Florence Griffith Joyner’s death. Though she was tested and found with no drugs
in her system, she was rumored to have taken small doses of anabolic steroids during her
illustrious track and field career. Another reason is many health risks, many not resulting in death
though. These include stoppage of growth, loss of bodily functions, dehydration, and many more.
Plus, these drugs are illegal in sports. Many are available only through a doctor’s prescription for
certain diseases.


The sport that sees the highest rate of competitors using performance enhancing drugs is
bodybuilding. Many of these athletes were skinny and not very popular during their high school
years. They use the steroids to bulk up and create a shield against the criticism. Due to this fact
of psychological instability and the effect of the steroids, a violent person is created from a once
calm person. This has been illustrated in the many murders involving bodybuilders recently.


An example of one of these murders was the murder of Kristy Ramsey. She was engaged
to Gordon Kimbrough, with whom she won the 1991 USA pairs bodybuilding title. After she
admitted to have an affair, Kimbrough strangled and stabbed her twice, and afterwards tried to dill
himself. “According to a family member, Kimbrough was meek and shy when not on steroids and
became short-tempered and violent when using them” (Harris 99).


There are many types of performance enhancing drugs. Stimulants, which include
amphetamines, cause you to “speed up” too much. In large doses stimulants override a person’s
normal felling of exhaustion, which causes people to push themselves too hard. Strong
painkillers are another type of performance enhancing drug. The increase a person’s pain barrier
and are extremely addictive, resulting in permanent injury. Anabolic steroids cause heart attacks,
growth stoppage and violent outbursts. Women develop deep voices and facial hair if taken too
long. Many snooker (pool) players use beta-blockers, which slows the beating of the heart. This
helps them stay calm in pressure situations. A side effect of this drug is bonchospasm, which
causes the lungs to tighten, making it difficult to breath. Diuretics are used to remove water from
the body, which improves muscle tone and subtracts weight from water in the body. Taking this
drug can cause serious dehydration, sometimes resulting in death.


I believe all performance enhancing drugs should be banned from sports. There are just
too many risks to athletes taking them. But that is a very unlikely scenario, mainly because testing
can’t keep up with the new drugs being produced. New drugs are created everyday. This is
illustrated by Mark McGwire’s historic home run binge. Before this year, nobody knew about
androstenedione. McGwire admitted to taking the drug, which helps build muscle. His record
will forever have an asterisk beside it because of that fact. But if these drugs are banned, you will
soon see all of the asterisk disappear from the record books.


Bibliography
Bohan, Janet. Drugs in Sports. New York: Broderbund Publishing Company, 1988.


Harris, Gary. “Brady Hits Em in Bunches.” Sports Illustrated. April 28, 1997, pp. 96-106.


Reilly, Rick. “Muscle Murders.” Sports Illustrated. May 18, 1998, pp. 99-107.


Encarta Encyclopedia. Microsoft, 1998.