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Professional athletes and Drug use penalties

Skelly
English II
May 8, 1999



Professional Athletes and Drug Use (Penalties)




This research paper is about athletes and their use of drugs. The drug that is most

frequently used by athletes is alcohol. Most athletes who use drugs do not get the

punishment that they deserve instead they receive punishment that is too lenient. The

penalties for professional athletes who use drugs are too lenient, they should be more

severe.

Examples of drugs that are used by most athletes are the following: Anabolic

Steroids, Dietary supplements, Blood Doping, Stimulants, Narcotics and Corticosteroids,

and Alcohol. Anabolic steroids are used illegally by athletes, to increase muscle mass

and strength. Anabolic steroids are also called Androgenic-anabolic steroids. They get

their name from the Greek words "Andro" and "Gennan" which mean male producing,

and "Anabold" which means to build up. Anabolic steroids are chemically similar to the

male hormone testosterone. The testis, a male sex organ, produces this hormone.

Anabolic steroids are usually injected into the testis when taken or ingested in tablets.

Athletes who abuse Anabolic steroids exceed the natural level of testosterone. Dietary

Athletes to replace or increase chemical or vitamins in the body use supplements.

Androstenedione is a hormone pre-cursor that increases testosterone in the blood,

which increases muscle mass, strength, and power. Blood

doping is when extra blood is injected into a person's veins to increase red blood cells and

oxygen. Endurance athletes, who need as much oxygen as, mostly use this drug.

For example marathon runners, tri-athletes, and decathlon participators.

Stimulants are drugs that are taken to speed up the central nervous system. The most

Frequently used stimulant today is marijuana; most athletes are usually caught in

possession of this drug. Alcohol is a depressant that is used by athletes. A depressant is a

drug that slows down brain and body reactions. "Alcohol is the drug most frequently used

by athletes." 1

The effects of drugs on the users and those around them sometimes do not seem

To be as bad as they really are. The athletes play a vital role as role model for the nations

young people. As athletes they have obligations to their sport, teammates, fans, and most

importantly themselves. Professional sports are a workplace. Pro athletes are paid to play

their sports, just as a doctor is paid to treat his patients, a carpenter is paid to build

houses and a truck driver is paid to drive his truck. Athletes have an example they must

set, but when they use drugs they fail at the example they set. Marijuana and Steroids

affect the human body in various ways, which is what some athletes do not know.

Marijuana is an addictive drug. " Marihuana smoke produces functional, structural,

And irreversible lung changes in long term smokers." 2 Marijuana smoke is more

damaging to the lungs than tobacco smoke. The effects of marijuana in psychiatry

evaluated conditions such as schizophrenia and alcoholism. Steroid use has many

long term effects. Months to years of steroid abuse can lead to liver tumors, sterility

coronary artery disease and increased aggression. In males shrinkage of the testis and

an increase in breast size are some side effects, and in females a decrease in breast size

and sterility.

The reasons for drug use by athletes are many, but the main one is the plain desire

to win. Anabolic steroids are used legitimately for skeletal and growth disorders for

certain types of anemia and to offset the negative effects of radiation and chemotherapy.

When most athletes turn up using drugs, then most young people think drugs are OK.

A medical journal says," Sports has become so artificial that it is hard to tell between

acceptable and unacceptable aids." 3 Some athletes take drugs for sicknesses that show up

on drug test these are cases when the drugs are accidental. Baseball star Darryl

Strawberry said that pressure from teammates to do cocaine. In many cases drug use is

brought on by peer pressure, but it is still no excuse for the use of drugs. Another reason

for drug use might be because in certain sports drugs are not banned. In 1994 the Dietary

Supplement Education Act was passed which made substances that create testosterone

unclassified as a drug. Reason for higher sales in supplements between this year and last

year were because many superstars like Mark McGwire who is suspected to be taking

Androstenedione.

Most solutions of drugs use should start with the athlete him or herself, but here

are a few methods of the National Drug Control Strategy (NDCS). The NDCS has three

goals to fight against drugs. One goal is to educate and enable America's youth to reject

illegal drugs as well as tobacco and alcohol. Another goal is to reduce the health and

social costs to the public of illegal drug use. The last goal is to promote the national

adoption of drug free workplace programs that emphasize a comprehensive program that

includes drug testing, education, prevention, and intervention. The high visibility of the

professional sports, workplaces only underscore the need to make these drug-free places.

"Under the NDCS, ONDCP has an obligation to support drug-free workplaces no matter

whether the business is basketball, banking or baking" 4. Coaches are a very

important part of solving athletes drug problems. Coaches need to recognize problems

early so they do not get out of hand. Most drug problems in sports need the attention of a

coach. Which is why the coach must be very aware of all his or her players.

The penalties of drug are more than just being sentenced in court. They also have

long term effects, such as sickness and disease legal problems and maybe even death. The

use of marijuana is a drug abuse and should be as such in all ways. This statement is do to

fact of the things that we see on television when professional athletes are caught with

marijuana most people consider it not to be such a big deal. When yet in reality it is a

problem that should be taken more seriously than it should. When young people see these events

happening on television they take as a sign that its ok to be caught with marijuana there is

not much that can happen to them. That is why these problems should be taken care of in

a more serious manner than that of the past. In recent years Chinese women have set

remarkable world records; with 19 Chinese swimmers having tested positive for drugs

already this decade, the U.S. federation would like the drug rules to be made even

tougher. This is not such a bad idea, if drug rules were made tougher it would filter out

athletes who use drugs and make room for those athletes who work hard become the best

instead of those who prefer to take the easy way out. Not only will tougher drug rules

help out those athletes who chose to be all "natural", but it will set an example for the

younger generation, and let them know that these things will no longer be tolerated. In

March, 1996 Pittsburgh Steelers running back Byron "Bam" Morris was indicted, for

possession of cocaine and marijuana. He spent a couple of months in prison, but was

soon released and back on the field. Although be convicted for this crime, made players,

coaches, and fans lose some of the faith in the player they had once cheered and rooted

for. Athletes should know that with the use of drugs come many consequences. Like an

incident in Dallas, Texas, with America's supposed team. Also in March of 1996 Dallas

Cowboy's star wide receiver Michael Irvin who is also the all-time leading receiver in

Dallas Cowboy history, was indicted with a felony charge for possession of four grams

of cocaine. Also with this came consequences Mr. Irvin lost a lot of money and a lot of

trust. It also took him away from the game he so loved. In the next season he missed over

half the season and when he came back he did not receive such a warm welcome from his

fans. Although these consequences are great, the greatest consequence of all is death. Len

Bias was a NBA superstar until death because of the use of stimulants. Dwight Gooden of

the New York Mets was also a case in which he was taken away from the sport he also

loved because of an alcohol problem he was suspended from baseball. Another

consequence would be embarrassment, and none would probably know it better than

track star Ben Johnson who was the fastest man alive in the 1988 Olympics until he

tested positive for steroids and soon after his gold medal was revoked.

From the information above reader's should be better informed about dangers and

rewards from the use of drugs. Although sometimes they might get away with in the long

run they will suffer the consequences. The penalties for professional athletes who use

drugs are too lenient they should be more severe. Although at this time the penalties do

not seem to be becoming more severe, but when in fact they really are, and they will get

worse as time progresses.










Bibliography



"Marijuana Problems Summarized" Internet

Chicago Tribune, "Steelers' Morris Indicted on Drug Charges," March 27,1996

Associated Press, "Cowboys' Irvin Is Indicted, "Kansas City Star, April 2, 1996

Galas, Judith Drugs and Sports San Diego: Lucent Books 1997

Roan, Shari " Supplements Gaining Muscle" Los Angeles Times April 12, 1999

Shapiro, Harry Facts on Drugs and Sport New York: Franklin Watts 1989

"Where Athletics Fits In The National Drug Control Strategy" Internet

"Drug Problems In Sports" Video

"Athletes and Steroids "Mayo Clinic Health Letter V. 1, no.9-September '94 Internet

Dolan, Edward F. Jr. Drugs In Sports United States: Franklin Watts, 1986


Notes



1.Judith Galas Drugs and Sports (San Diego: Lucent Books, 1997) p.61

2.An international conference held at New York School of Medicine " Marijuana Problems Summarized (New York: Charles Mott Foundation, March 20-21,1998) Internet

3.A medical journal "Daily Telegraph"(? Daily Telegraph, Aug. 7,1998)

4.National Drug Control Strategy (United States, 1999) p.1 of 2


Bibliography:
Bibliography "Marijuana Problems Summarized" Internet Chicago Tribune, "Steelers' Morris Indicted on Drug Charges," March 27,1996 Associated Press, "Cowboys' Irvin Is Indicted, "Kansas City Star, April 2, 1996 Galas, Judith Drugs and Sports San Diego: Lucent Books 1997 Roan, Shari " Supplements Gaining Muscle" Los Angeles Times April 12, 1999 Shapiro, Harry Facts on Drugs and Sport New York: Franklin Watts 1989 "Where Athletics Fits In The National Drug Control Strategy" Internet "Drug Problems In Sports" Video "Athletes and Steroids "Mayo Clinic Health Letter V. 1, no.9-September '94 Internet Dolan, Edward F. Jr. Drugs In Sports United States: Franklin Watts, 1986

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