Should Steroids Be Banned From Society?

Travis Redfield Eng. 101, 12/2/96

It\'s amazing what athletes will do to achieve higher levels of
performance and to get an edge on the rivaled competition. Often people do not
realize the long term effects that result from the decisions they make early in
life. This resembles the obvious phenomenon with steroids. Steroids became a
spreading exposure to athletes in the Olympics and other major sporting events
during the 1950\'s. This use of steroids among athletes became apparent when
Canadian sprint runner Ben Johnson tested positive for steroid use after winning
the gold medal for the 100 meter dash during the 1988 Olympics. Now a skinny
fifteen year old can just walk down to the local gym and find sellers to obtain
the drug that will make him the idol of all his classmates. Being such an
attractive drug, as shown in the analogy above, and seeming harmless to the
unaware user, steroids can have a potentially jeopardous effect. Consistently,
users, new and experienced, have no knowledge to the dangerous consequences\'
steroids can have on their minds and bodies. Although steroids cause minimal
deaths in our society, banning of steroids is purely justified because steroids
have extremely perilous side effects on the unsuspecting user.
Though steroids are known as a somewhat dangerous substance, they are
legal to possess and consume, and there has not been a true clinical study that
proves such possible side effects are linked to medical problems of steroid
users. Sure, there has been several cases where someone has died and an otopsy
showed the person was using steroids, but this does not mean they are a lethal
drug as some medical professionals have stated. Some advocates believe that
because steroids are legal, and since it\'s the decision of the user to take the
drug, steroids are not causing a problem in society. Alcohol and cigarettes are
consumed by millions, causing deteriorating effects on their bodies, but there
has never been a protest to put a ban on the items because of their harmful
nature. So how are steroids any different? Some people may state that the wide
spread use of steroids among athletes is forcing young upcoming athletes to use
steroids, even though it\'s against their morals. This is because they know they
can not compete adequately against their opponents who are using steroids to
achieve higher levels of performance. One might say this is how competition
works though. Race car drivers and gymnasts are out there every day, pushing
themselves harder and harder, going just a little faster, or doing a new, more
difficult trick. Many believe they are forced by their own desire to win, and
the hazardous risks they take, be it taking a corner a little faster or pulling
an extra flip in a routine, are no different than the risks a football player,
wrestler, or weight lifter takes when they choose to use steroids to increase
their skills. Many believe these reasons make steroid abuse morally justified,
and say their use in sports and other activities are just an added element in
boosting performance.
It is true, there has not been any defined medical research to prove
steroid abuse is linked to severe medical implications, but words of warning
from chronic users dealing with massive medical difficulties they believe were a
result of steroid abuse is just cause to prove the harmful effects of steroids.
Alcohol and cigarettes are major contributors to the deaths of thousands each
year. Frequently we see a family member, or friend, suffering from diseases and
health conditions caused by smoking and drinking. These conditions can often
lead to an early, horrible death for the individual. Many find these
experiences an obstantial reason to not drink and smoke. In a similar situation,
young athletes see their former athletic idols suffering from medical problems
caused by steroids. These professionals will even admit to their former steroid
abuse in hopes to persuade the thousands of young athletes participating in
steroid abuse each day. I find it hard to reason how young athletes can simply
ignore the warnings of these suffering abusers. This can partly be blamed on
the lack of education about steroids a young athlete will receive. Nevertheless,
when they see the effects steroids have in the long run on such professional
athletes as Lyle Alzado, they should realize the need to give up their abuse,
even if they must sacrifice the chance to win that gold medal, or give up that
buff body they always dreamed of. If an abuser was to listen to what a former
addict has gone