The Performance-Enhancing Supplement Controversy

The use of performance-enhancing supplements among athletes should be banned
from all athletic sports and competition, in that it provides an unfair
advantage over other athletes trying to excel naturally. Performance-enhancing
drugs are a controversial topic in today’s society, which are currently under

Performance-enhancing drugs are substances, which are used to stimulate
certain areas of the body to make an athlete excel in a certain event. A
performance enhancing supplement is defined by Edward Dolan in his book Drugs
and Sports as “any substance or method used to enhance athletic performance”.
The most common form of performance-enhancing supplements are called steroids.
According to Hank Nuwer in his book Steroids, steroids are anabolic drugs that
build growth hormones that include the androgens (male sex hormones) principally
testosterone and estrogen and progestogens (female sex hormones). Steroids were
first developed for medical purposes. Steroids are compounds that are necessary
for the well being of many living creatures, including human beings. These
include sex hormones, bile acids, and cholesterol (Nuwer 17). Steroids are used
in the medical field to treat many ailments, and this use is not the use, which
is currently under controversy. As steroids entered the mainstream after their
historic introduction in the 1930’s to help patients malnourished due to the
war and disease, they evolved into something understood by more than the
prime-time college or Olympic-bound athlete as John Papanke reports in Sports
Illustrated. The medical uses of steroids are to treat anemia, asthma, anorexia,
burns, intestinal disorders, and much more (Nuwer 15). These types of steroids
are called cortical steroids.

In addition to the medical use, another purpose of steroids and
performance-enhancing drugs are that they are used by athletes to gain an unfair
advantage over their competitors, or use them to keep up with the competition
since so many athletes are using these types of drugs. These desired effects
range from increasing muscle size and strength, to decreasing fatigue, providing
quick temporary weight gain, inhibiting growth, and even simple pain relief (Lupica
24). Performance-enhancing drugs are taken in a variety of different ways. The
two most common ways these drugs are taken, are orally in a pill form, or
injected into the body with a needle. The most common kind of
performance-enhancing drugs are Nelvar, Deca-Durabolin, Anavar, Stanzolol,
Dianabol and Anadrol-50 (Nuwer 19). These drugs are much more dangerous then
legal performance enhancing drugs because the athletes take more than the
recommended doses that would be prescribed by a doctor. Athletes feel that the
more pills or injections they take the stronger, faster, and the better they
will perform when competing, but this is not always true.

The effects of steroids on the human body are well recorded, they could
permanently damage the heart and liver, stunt growth and change sexual
characteristics (Green 81). Performance-enhancing drugs and steroids have been
proven to be harmful to ones health according to many studies. These studies
have shown that steroids have been a major factor in causing liver damage,
cardiomyopathy (the wearing out of the heart), jaundice, peliosis hepatis (blood
filled cysts that form in the liver), and adverse affects on both the
cardiovascular system and on the reproductive system (Meer 97) other side
affects which are shared by both sexes which include high blood pressure, water
retention, depression, cholesterol problems, septic shock, diarrhea, continuous
bad breath, heart disease, yellowing of the eyes or skin (due to liver
problems), insomnia, fetal damage for pregnant women, aggressive behavior, and
of course, death (Bamberger 61). Yet, women and men are still willing to risk
their health and their lives in order to win and stay competitive in the world
of sports. These products have also been linked to causing some forms of cancer.
Due to these hazards, many performance-enhancing drugs have been banned in
certain national and international sports, such as the NFL, NBA, ABA, WNBA, CFL,
AFL and the Olympics (61). Although these performance-enhancing supplements are
banned, this does not mean that athletes participating in these sports do not
take them, however. Professional athletic sports are a major area in which
performance-enhancing drugs are used. Although some people use them just to try
to make themselves look bigger and better, most people use them to help keep up
with the competition in athletic events. The use of performance-enhancing
supplements and drugs gives the user an unfair advantage over their competition
through achieving strength in a shorter amount of time. The main purpose of
performance-enhancing supplements is to get bigger and better faster.
Unfortunately, it is not just the major athletes in pro sports and in the
Olympics who use these drugs.

Performance-enhancing drugs are used in all levels of