Doping: The Future of Sports?

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Tomas Sierra, Freelance Writer

It is estimated that 30% of usual gym-goers have done or are doing anabolic or androgenic steroids. The use of PEDs is more common than you might think, although it’s still considered taboo in most cultures.

PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs) such as steroids are banned in most professional sports. As a result, athletes will do anything they can within legal parameters to improve, sometimes recurring to cheating drug tests. Legalizing PEDs will allow athletes to reach new performance levels and enable them to reach their true potentials. Athletes should be allowed to use PEDs in a league of their own to discourage illicit use and cheating. Just as supplement and training regimens steroids are a choice, PEDs should be as well.

Athletes should have the freedom to take risks that they feel are appropriate. Performance-enhancing drugs give the human body a short dose of medicine that allows people to work out harder, faster, and longer while reducing their risks of suffering an injury. Whether it is applied through a cream, an injection, or pills, athletes can use these items for short periods and then stop the cycle from allowing their bodies to recover. Although this action does come with a risk to their health, that choice should be theirs to make instead of dictated by someone else. Even if they took performance-enhancing drugs every day, that doesn’t change the fact that they still need to be talented to succeed. Doping might help people perform better on some level, but it doesn’t shift the foundation of their skill at all. Although some athletes might feel pressured into using performance-enhancing drugs, the results at the end of the day always come back to a choice. No one forces someone to become a competitive athlete, just like no one holds down someone to administer a PED injection unwillingly. In an NBC sports interview, famous/infamous cyclist Lance Armstrong talks about his choice “I don’t want to make excuses for myself that everybody did it or we could never have won without it. Those are all true, but the buck stops with me. I’m the one who decided to do what I did, and it was … I didn’t want to go home, man. I was going to stay.” said Armstrong. The use of steroids is a choice, and, just as diets and supplements, athletes subject themselves to what they choose to reach their goal.

Performance enhancers, like steroids and other forms of doping, harm long-term health. People argue that these enhancers’ users are hurting themselves in the long run without improving their short-term rewards from athletic competition. This is the main reason for banning steroids and other forms of doping. Although this is true, playing contact sports such as football and rugby is widely known to lead to problems caused by repeated concussions, but it doesn’t prevent athletes from pursuing the sport. PED use has decades of research under its belt and, through experience and testing, its use has become safer. As a result, steroids are being used at a higher rate than in past decades, despite their growing association with underground illegal trafficking. Instead of making athletes take experimental or designer drugs to cheat drug tests, drugs should be allowed and monitored by health experts. 

Antidoping control is used to prevent damage from doping. However, sports are dangerous, even if no drugs are taken. Playing soccer comes with high risks for knee and ankle problems, and boxing can lead to brain damage. Every performance-enhancing drug needs to be studied and assessed in case of troubles caused by this technology.  Such work can’t be done while the use of performance-enhancing drugs is illegal. Instead of driving doping underground, the use of drugs should be permitted under medical supervision. Through close monitoring, not only can athletes ensure their overall health while competing, but they can also administer drugs and supplements correctly with prescriptions and checkups.

People argue that athletes don’t take these drugs to level the playing field; they do it for an advantage. And if everyone else is doing what they’re doing, then instead of taking 10 grams or they’ll take 20 or 30, and a vicious circle simply becomes more prominent. Despite this, steroids don’t correspond with the bigger means better narrative. Steroids are efficient to a certain degree to where taking more would just be a waste of organ strain with no rewards. So arguing that an athlete can just compromise and take the whole bottle won’t mean he’ll be any better than an athlete taking a regulated amount.

Sports are watched to see the best of the best go at it, and steroids, just as expensive equipment and trainers, give professionals the edge to surpass themselves and improve year after year. Instead of the athlete with the better connections to access drugs that drug tests won’t pick up, this will make it fairer despite drug use’s connotations. Free steroid use will level the playing field and let pros reach their true potential. There isn’t an argument to support the claim that enhancing performance is unfair. If it were, coaching and training would be banned. Competition can be unjust if there is unequal access to particular drugs, but equal access can be achieved by removing regulations against them. Some teams have better trainers or training grounds, and some athletes have access to undetectable illicit drug use. This will give all players a fair level playing field.

People argue that if doping becomes unchecked in athlete competition, it would require changes in the rules to accommodate the performance shifts. This would then cause a difference in the regulations, which would make the need for more doping, and that creates a cycle that would continuously repeat unless the performance enhancers were removed from the equation. This is not necessarily true, as there is no such thing as “new” PEDs or more effective ones. Steroids are hormones, and a variation in dosage doesn’t mean better. New hormones aren’t coming out, so this proves people lack a real understanding of what they are and how they work and are subject to myths or fake information about them.

PEDs are misunderstood and taboo in the general public’s eyes, yet regular people at the gym use them. Allowing their use will give specialists and doctors more reason to research, regulate, and teach the safest way to take them.  

PEDs are no different from training and supplements, but they shouldn’t be m lightly either, as they’re drugs and should be supervised. Under these circumstances, they could open a world of possibilities for athletes and minimize their risk caused by unregulated or experimental use. This could be the next step and evolution of sports and what they could be in tomorrow’s world.