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Drugs and Sports

Drugs have been a problem in our society for many years. They have been used and abused by many groups, including professional athletes. It is certainly quite common to hear about or read about athletes and drug use. Although drugs have a lengthy history of use by athletes, they have varied effects on the body and different preventions.

Much of the world’s supply of cocaine is produced in South America. Thousands of years ago, the ancient Incas of Peru chewed coca leaves because they made it possible for them to work in the high mountains of the land for longer periods of time. In the 1880’s Bolivian soldiers were given the drug to help them gain endurance and overcome fatigue. One hundred years later as many as 90 percent of the natives of the Andes Mountains in Peru regularly chewed coca leaves. It wasn’t until the early years of the 20th century that cocaine increased in popularity among athletes (“Coca”).

Cocaine is a naturally occurring alkaloid, extracted from the leaves of the coca plant. It is an excellent local anesthetic and a widely abused illicit drug. Cocaine is an odorless, white powder. The many street names of cocaine include “coke,” “snow,” “lady,” and “gold dust.” Street cocaine consists of cocaine hydrochloride that is mixed or “cut” with a number of other white, powdery substances. These include procaine and lidocaine, sugars like lactose and dextrose, stimulants such as dexedrine and caffeine, and other substances including cornstarch, talcum powder, and flour. Street cocaine today contains only 12 to 50 percent cocaine hydrochloride. About 100,000 pounds of cocaine are brought into this county each year. Eighty thousand tons of coca leaf will eventually produce about 200 tons of cocaine(“Coca”).

Marijuana was first smoked as a medicine as early as 2737 B.C.E. in China. Marijuana is a mixture of leaves, stems, and flowering tops of the hemp plant. The hemp plant has the highest cannabinoid concentration found in the flowering tops. Marijuana is referred to as grass, pot, tea, or weed. The hemp plant grows wild through most of the world and can be cultivated in any area with a hot season. It grows best in central Asia. The main psychoactive compound in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinal, better known as THC, a strong hallucinogenic that passes from the lungs into the blood and the brain. The THC content of marijuana has increased eight fold in the last few years and some now exceed 10 percent.

Anabolic Steroid Use Must be Stopped

Athletic competition has been part of society since the

early beginnings of man. Gladiators, wrestlers, and sprinters are some the

early types of athletes that competed. Mankind seems to have been born with a

desire to compete; every man feels the need to have dominance over another

man. These facts are even apparent in today’s society. Now there are all kinds

of sports to choose from, and many of these sports are played at a

professional level. These sporting events give individuals that chance to be

the better of another person, just as the earlier ones did. That inbred desire

to dominate will lead men to do almost anything for victory. This is good in

many cases because it shows courage and perseverance; on the other hand, many

have taken it to the extreme of using outside agents to better their chances

for dominance. By this I mean, a large number of athletes use performance

enhancing drugs. “Athletes have taken natural or synthetic performance aids

since the earliest days of organized sports competition”(Clark, Cooper, and

Griffen, 525). The usage of performance enhancing drugs like steroids has

become too widespread and it needs to be stopped. The illegal production and

distribution of steroids should be halted.

The athletic community as a whole looks down upon the usage of such drugs. Many rules and

regulations have been created to cut down on the number of athletes that use

drugs to heighten their performances. The Olympics exemplify this strategy

very well. If an Olympic competitor admits or is tested positive for steroid

use the can be stripped of any medals won, or they can be disqualified from

all competition. A well remembered instance in which this occurred was when

the sprinter Ben Johnson won the gold medal in the 100-meter dash, but not to

long after he was denounced from his position as the worlds fastest man.

Professional and college football in the United States also takes this

approach to athletes caught using steroids. Football players may be fined or

suspended from playing in games for testing positive. Just last month three

National Football League players were suspended from the last four games of

their season because of testing positive for substances that were similar to

steroids. These are not the only events in which testing and penalties take

place. Many other sports test their athlete for steroid use.

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