Mandatory Drug Tests for Athletes In 1986, Len Bias, a star basketball player at the University of the Maryland tried cocaine. Shortly after, Len Bias died from cardiac arrhythmia as a result of cocaine overdose (Peck 36) . Not only do drugs ruin the health of athletes, but the use of performance enhancing drugs also ruins the integrity of the sporting world. Therefore, there should be mandatory drug tests for all athletes. Performance enhancing drugs were first used in the 8th Century B.
C. by ancient Greek athletes who ate sheep testicles to improve their athletic performance (Egendorf 78). Drug use then continued in the 20th century with substances such as heroin and cocaine (78). Athletes then started using Sellers-Otero 2 drugs from peer pressure, to be cool, or to look good. Drug addiction starts as (1) casual use, (2) regular use, (3) addiction or chemical dependence (Peck 32). The most common performance enhancing drugs are anabolic- androgenic steroids.
Anabolic means muscle-building, while androgenic refers to masculine characteristics. In the 1930s, these drugs were made to mimic the effects of male hormones testosterone enabling a persons body to regulate the development of muscles and secondary male characteristics (Egendorf 23). Sports such as football, wrestling, weight lifting, track and field, and swimming have the most steroid usage. The average steroid user spends between $50 and $600 per month while steroid pushers make between $300 to $400 million each year (Peck 54).
There are about 80 different types of steroids (25) and the effects of these steroids in teens are severe acne on their faces, chests, backs, and arms, bad headaches, high body temperatures, nosebleeds, loss of hair, damaged hearts, roid rage, memory loss, and the loss of feeling to pain. The reason why athletes take Sellers-Otero 3 drugs is to help them improve their performance, recover from an injury quicker, boosts of strength, and have the ability to train harder and longer. Then scientific researchers developed new drugs such as amphetamines, which increased alertness, faster heart rate, and reduced tiredness feeling.
They found ways of making substances found in the body such as testosterone. Testosterone was given to German Soldiers during WW ll to make them more aggressive (Gifford 34). After World War ll, amphetamines were used heavily by cyclists , speed skaters, and other athletes who wanted a speed advantage no matter what the cost was (Gifford 35). Blood doping and gene doping are prohibited methods. This means that athletes are able to alter their genes, which take place of natural genes and enabling the body to produce mass amounts of proteins, hormones, and other substances (Gifford 37). Stimulants are the second most common drug being used.
Stimulants force the lungs and heart to work fast and productive so that it can move blood throughout the body more efficiently. Making the user feel Sellers-Otero 4 less tired and alert. Narcotics analgesics and diuretics are used to act on the brain and central nervous system to reduce pain a person is feeling. The side effects of this drug is depression, vomiting, serious breathing, and severe heart problems (Gifford 43). Diuretics are used for sports that require strict weight categories. This drug helps maintain a certain weight. This drug can reduce the amount of water in the body, resulting in dehydration.
Dehydration causes dizziness, headaches, cramps, and loss of balance. In the 1970s, athletes did not deny their use of performance enhancing drugs. Howard Bryant, in his book “Juicing the Game,” writes: Drugs were part of the weightlifting world. . . Gyms across America provided the conduits to information about which substances worked best and where illegal drug could be obtained. (Egendorf 56). Some people argue that even natural ability is as unfair as the advantage of performance enhancing drugs; perchance even more so, because while these drugs are available to anyone, athletes cannot change the genes they were born Sellers-Otero 5 ith. An example of this is cross-country skier Eero Maentyranta. He won 3 gold medals in the 1964 Winter Olympics. Later tests showed that his blood naturally contained 40 to 50 percent more red bloods cells than average (Egendorf 33). Michael Le Page, a writer for the magazine New Scientist reasons the same point of view as said: Sports are inherently unfair. Genes alone do not make you a winner, of course, but some people’s genes give them a massive advantage (Egendorf 34). Though programs cannot restrict natural born talent, they can prevent the use of performance enhancing drugs through mandatory drug tests.
Depending on the league or organization, athletes experience different consequences if they test positive. At the college level, any player who tests positive cannot compete for a full calendar year and also loses one year of athletic eligibility. The penalty for amateur track and field athletes is a public warning, disqualification from the event, and the loss of any prize money or award. A second positive test results in 2 years of ineligibility, and a third test leads to a lifetime ban (Egendorf 47). Drug testing Sellers-Otero 6 rograms can be mandatory with interscholastic student athletes only as voluntary or reasonable suspicion. This type of program (drug testing) does require more testing which increases the total costs of the program. Voluntary programs do help students who have been caught breaking rules such as using drugs or alcohol, but does not make a mass amount of impact on students using them and not getting caught. Reasonable Suspicion programs are very effective, but have little restraint to use by students in the general population. Dr. Joseph C.
Franz, Medical Director says, Schools contemplating a drug testing program must first document their student athletes using drugs to comply with the U. S. Supreme Court ruling. Likewise it is imperative that they rally community support for such a program in order for it to be a helpful tool used both my school officials and parents. Urine drug testing is the industry standard and recommended over hair or saliva testing which may not be defendable in court. Any program of drug testing involving students should have a certified MRO to Sellers-Otero 7 review all results and make a final decision as to being positive or negative.
A Medical Review Officer (MRO) is a licensed physician who has additional training and certification in the area of drug testing. Specifically they have learned how drug testing is done, what affects the results, specifically medications and foods, and how individuals will try and adulterate the specimens to give false negative results. A physician can be certified by the Medical Review Officer Certification Council (MROCC) or the American Association of Medical Review Officers (Franz). Mandatory testing of high school athletes is necessary to protect teens from the hazards of using performance-enhancing drugs.
Some teens who use these drugs have committed suicide. Follow-up studies on the young East German Olympic athletes who used performance-enhancing drugs reveal long-term reproductive and health problems (Lipsyte). Sellers-Otero 8 Ken Caminiti, a former baseball superstar, admitted having taken steroids during his 1996 MVP (Most Valuable Player) season. He died in 2004. Even if his death is shrouded in mystery (some say heart attack, some say overdose), many are citing his case as a clear example of what happens when people use performance-enhancing drugs.
With many deaths of athletes, the NCAA at championship events in all three divisions at least once every five years, and some championships are tested every year. About 2,500 student-athletes annually are screened for steroids, diuretics and masking agents, stimulants, peptide hormones, anti-estrogens, beta-2 agonists, beta blockers and street drugs (“National Collegiate Athletic Association”). Many NCAA institutions and conferences conducts their own testing programs, though the NCAA is not required to report the results of the administered drug test but they are required to enforce their own policies.
Sellers-Otero 9 Ninety percent of Division I, sixty-five percent of Division II, and twenty-one percent of Division III schools conduct their own drug-testing programs in addition to the NCAA testing. The NCAA shares the responsibility of promoting a drug-free athletics environment to protect the health of student-athletes. Approximately 11,000 Divisions I and II student-athletes in all sports will be randomly tested each year for steroids, diuretics, masking agents, peptide, etc.
Since the NCAA began testing at championship events, the NCAA has expanded its program to include other banned substances, including street drugs, masking agents and stimulants, among other things. A 2009 NCAA survey of institutions across all three divisions found that 92 to 96 percent of programs do random testing of all sports. Yet some colleges recently have drawn attention for either starting random testing for the first time (Grasgreen). Sellers-Otero 10 Drug testing programs are designed to promote fair play and deter? drug use among athletes. Under conditions of anonymity a group? f professed non-user athletes volunteered for drug testing. Two positive results were identified indicating the importance of continued testing and need for further testing and education, as testing alone is not a sufficient deterrent to eliminate? drug use among college athletes (Meldrum). With continuance of drug use, the NCAA currently promotes drug education and mandates that each athletic department conduct a drug and alcohol education program once a semester, presumably to increase the athletes’ understanding of the drug-testing program and to promote the avoidance of drug use.
Sellers-Otero 11 Work Cited Egnedorf , Laura . Performance Enhancing Drugs . San Diego, CA : ReferencePoint Press,, 2007. Print. Franz, Joseph. “Student Athlete Drug TestingISSN: 1543-9518 . ” The Sports Journal . SPORT SAFE Testing Service, Inc. , 18 Grace Drive, Powell, OH 43065. Web. 24 Mar 2013. Gifford , Clive . Drugs and Sports: Face the Facts . Chicago: Raintree, 2004. Print. Grasgreen, Allie . “High-Stakes Test You Can’t Prep For. ” Insider Higher ED . N. p. , 27 Sep 2012. Web. Apr 2013. Lipsyte, Robert. “Testing Teen Athletes for Performance-Enhancing Drugs Is Mandatory. ” N. p. , 15 Nov 2006. Web. 3 Apr 2013. Peck , Rodney . Drug and Sports . Rev. ed. . New York : Rosen Pub. , 1997. Print. “National Collegiate Athletic Association. ” and Safety/Drug Testing/Drug Testing Landing Page . N. p. , 29 November 2012. Web. 3 Apr 2013. 2 Meldrum, . “Drug Use by College Athletes: Is Random Testing an Effective Deterrent? ISSN: 1543-9518 . ” N. p.. Web. 3 Apr 2013.