People who follow the “spirit” of a sport will continue to do so, whether they take HGH or like to eat steak every night for dinner. Marijuana is frequently banned by sports organizations, yet the drug’s status as performance-enhancing is questioned. Further complicating the issue is that marijuana, as a medical or recreational drug is legal in most US states.

drug use in sports pros and cons

Our culture expects athletes to display mental toughness at all times, and we often view struggles with substance abuse in athletes as antithetical to that expectation. Even though science has made it clear that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain, many people still believe it is a symptom of personal failure or lack of character — especially in the sports world. Many people, including athletes, don’t realize PEDs can be addictive. They assume that because the drugs don’t necessarily produce any euphoria, they don’t have any addictive potential. However, the often extreme motivation that drives sportspeople to try performance-enhancing drugs makes it easier to become addicted to their effects, despite the adverse effects of drugs in sport. Athletes of all ages feel the drive to succeed with pressure from both internal and external sources.

A High-Profile Case of Anabolic Addiction

In general, the long-term effects of performance-enhancing drugs haven’t been studied enough. Athletes take human growth hormone, also called somatotropin, to build more muscle and do better at their sports. But studies don’t clearly prove that human growth hormone boosts strength or helps people exercise longer.

GOLO Review: Pros, Cons and Effectiveness – Sports Illustrated

GOLO Review: Pros, Cons and Effectiveness.

Posted: Wed, 06 Sep 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Some sports scientists argue that drug taking should be legalized to stop the more dangerous aspects of this habit. This argument has also been used for the legalization of recreational drugs and has not been successful. Many athletes in all sports have received bans and fines for taken illegal recreational drugs such as cocaine and marijuana. These are still drugs, but are performance reducing rather than enhancing. Although obviously drug taking should not be encouraged, there is a difference between taking something illegal to win and other rationales.

Illegal Drugs

However, violations of drugs of abuse are treated clinically first, rather than through suspension. In the NBA, all players are subject to four random tests per season, and the league conducts reasonable-cause testing. Similarly, in the NFL, players are tested up to three times per year at random.

drug use in sports pros and cons

One study looked at individuals admitted to an inpatient treatment facility for opioid addictions. Nearly 10% of them claimed they abused anabolic steroids drug use in sports earlier in their life. The use of performance-enhancing drugs, also known as doping, dates back to the first Olympic games in ancient Greece.

Performance-Enhancing Drugs and Addiction

It means that athletes have two different avenues of drug use in sports. As with any drug use, the exact reasons an athlete turns to drugs in sport are personal. However, a common factor is—as one would assume—improved performance and physical condition. A study performed among young elite athletes in Italy provided interesting information showing that the most used illicit drug among athletes is cannabis. While the drive to perform at their very best pushes athletes to use drugs in sport, they face other factors that can cause different kinds of drug abuse. However, these drugs can cause breast growth, prostate gland enlargement, smaller testicles, and infertility in men.

  • In sports, cocaine may help enhance endurance and strength, reduce pain, and give users a greater sense of self-confidence.
  • The NFL’s drug policy differs from the MLB’s, which differs from the NBA’s, and so on, although the leagues’ different drug policies do have some common elements.
  • Side effects include appetite increase, balance and coordination impairment, concentration loss, drowsiness, motivation loss, panic attacks, and weight gain.
  • Athletes take the drug illicitly to reduce anxiety, pain, and reliance on opioids.