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How Society Is Affected By Drug Usage In Sport?

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Drugs have been a problem in our society for years. They have been used and abused by many groups, including amateur and professional athletes. Drugs are also used for recreational use not just for performance enhancement. Society is directly influenced by the usage of drugs in sport. A study in 2002 showed that “An estimated 3 million people aged 15 or older reported that they used marijuana or hashish at least once in the year before the survey” This shows that 12.2% of all Canadians either have health related problems which condone the usage of illegal drugs or athletes have nothing better to do.

Drug usage in sport is cheating whether it be to play better, to be more relaxed or to gain more muscle mass. Like many drugs such as cocaine (used by 1.3% of all Canadians) can give athletes, that extra advantage to reduce seconds of their time. This is unfair towards all the other athletes not using them.

Athletes have always been seen as role models by young children and by using illegal drugs this gives impressionable children the wrong idea about what has to be done to succeed in sport. Ben Johnson went from hero to zero through the usage of steroids. “At the Seoul Olympics in 1988 Ben Johnson ran the 100 meters in 9.79 seconds making him the fastest man ever. It was a proud moment in Canadian athletic history that quickly turned into a nightmare.” After his suspension was over, Ben Johnson attempted to come back. ” In the early 1990’s Ben attempted to climb to the top once again. Unfortunately, in 1993, he tested positive again after a Montreal track event and was banned by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) for life”.

Different sports require different rules for testing and giving out penalties, sports such as baseball, football, basketball and the Olympics require different methods of punishment because of the way the sport is structured.


Testing: Notorious for dragging its feet, baseball is finally testing players–but only for steroids. Penalties: A first infraction results in treatment. For subsequent failures, players are punished by suspensions ranging from 30 days to two years.


Testing: Football has the toughest pro policy. Since 1990, no steroids, growth hormones, street drugs or ephedrine stimulants allowed. Penalties: Flunk one test, and a player’s out for four games; a second, and it’s six games; a third means a year’s suspension.


Testing: Random tests for steroids, LSD, cocaine, heroin and marijuana but not for ephedra or other supplements. Penalties: First foul draws a five-game suspension; a second costs 10 games; a third, 25 games. The use of anabolic steroids benches a player for good.


Testing: Began testing in ’68. The 2004 prohibited list bans well over 100 drugs in addition to methods of blood and gene doping. Penalties: A two-year ban for the first offense, life for the second. Athletes failing drug tests at the Olympic Games lose their medals.

This goes to show that the most strict type of sport is in the Olympics because of the high demand for fair competition. Fairness can be classified many different ways but in the sport industry it is to do with all athletes playing by the rules. This means equal opportunity for all. No one should have an advantage.

Performance enhancing drugs make better athletes no matter which way we look about it. ‘ “doping”- is to take or have administered to humans or animals a substance designed to elevate athletic output.’ Why do athletes take these drugs? This is a question that many individuals believe is an easy task. Many people do not understand that athletes are pressured to perform at such high levels what are impossible to achieve especially when a coach says “I want to see 120% out there” during a competitive game.

The expectations put on athletes to perform from friends, family and coaches is sometimes enough to make them resort to drug usage. The problem is that these ‘illicit’ drugs aren’t exactly difficult to get, when searching the internet, I came across websites actually selling drugs such as creatine, melatonin, omega 3, and ephedrine stimulants . There is evidence saying that athletes would use drugs if they knew that taking them would ensure they would win but not be caught. This shows that if there was no risk many of our athletes would put their bodies under too much stress by putting harmful products into their systems.

Illicit drugs such as Marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, MDMA (ecstasy) are all tested for in a standard NIDA (National Institute for Drug Abuse) approved drug test, they all have different detection periods such as:

Marijuana: Single Use: 48-72 hours , Habitual Use: up to 12 weeks. Cocaine:48-72 hours. Amphetamines: 1-4 days. Ecstasy: Single use:1-3 days, Heavy use: 3-5 days. Although these periods are not accurate because they vary between person to person due to metabolism, tolerance, frequency of intake, fluid intake, amount and length of time you’ve been a user.

When athletes get caught we see it all over media, but what about the ones that get away with the help from doctors and pharmacists?, How many are outsmarting the tests and how difficult is it? Typing drug testing into a search engine many athletes will come across websites promoting kits on how to pass such as www.passyourdrugtest.com and www.testclear.com, nothing is stopping them from gaining this information and purchasing certain kits which can reduce drug appearance in under 5 days.

College athletes are getting tested for performance enhancing drugs more often

these days because of the desire to compete to higher levels. “If everyone is doing it then why shouldn’t the average athlete”, this is what many athletes are saying because they have an edge on the ones that don’t use drugs . In the NCAA, if an athlete tests positive for any banned substance they lose their eligibility for one year. A second positive results in a permanent eligibility loss.

Role models in sport are extremely important to young children because the new generation looks up to their favorite player in a sport and respects them. One of these programs that does keep kids drug free is Athletes Against Drugs. It not only helps keep the kids away from drugs, but it also helps the kids to learn to lead a productive life. The program is made up of over 300 professional and Olympic athletes. The athletes in this program are using their fame to help these kids live a better life which shows a direct influence to our society.

Athletes should take pride in being a role model, but should be responsible for acting in a way that is respectful and drug free. This encourages society to do the same and perform just as good without the need for drugs. If an athlete takes his leadership and uses it in a negative way, people will believe that by coping and following their role model they are doing what’s right, but in fact they are doing the opposite. Society expects too much out of our athletes so resorting to drugs isn’t surprising but this is still cheating no matter which way we look at it. An athlete will not achieve the same feeling when he wins a medal with drug use because it is cheating. Winning without cheating is a much better high.

The killing of brain cells is bad enough but to encourage others as a role model is worse. When a small child watches the television only to see that their hero is in fact a drug using cheater the child becomes deeply lost and has no guidance of how to achieve anything without cheating.

I believe that athletes should take the responsibility to stop drug use in sport because it affects the growing community. This in turn, makes children lean towards drugs because they see this as the only way to win or to get that extra edge. I also believe that if athletes use these drugs, they should take the responsibility of their actions and what comes of it. With so much media coverage on sport most professional athletes are role models without even wanting to be. More drug tests should be available in all sports including college and high school to stop the spread of drug use. I also believe that in certain sports there is little care about drug use such as cocaine in the NFL. We need to explain that you can still be a good player without drugs such as steroids.

Even in the local scene, drug use in Grande Prairie is increasing even crystal meth has it the streets more rapidly recently. We can see it all around us as we walk down the streets and as we purchase our food. Is it that these people have nothing better to do? All these people need to do is get involved in sport but if there is little to do people resort to drugs such as in small towns where there in no recreational centers. This is why it is confusing that in Grande prairie, people are resorting to drugs when there is the leisure center, coca cola center and the crystal center.


1-2. http://www.statcan.ca

3-4. http://www.tv.cbc.ca/witness/doping/

5-6. Time, David Bjerklie, Chemical edge: Who’s got it, March 15, 2004

7. Canadian Sport Sociology, Crossman, J, page 79

8. Kamal Bains, Wolves Soccer coach


10.The Economist, 1998, p.12

11-12. http://www.erowid.org/psychoactives/testing

13. Canadian Sport and Sociology, Crossman J, page 79

14. Daily lobo news

15. http://www2.ncaa.org/

16-17. http://www.joinaad.org

18. http://www.crystalrecovery.com

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