Research Paper on Substance Abuse

Signe Jorgenson

3/24/10

Juicing – Essay on Substance Abuse

The history of competitive sports is realistically the history of drugs in competitive sports.  The demands of a sport and the physical and mental abuse the body takes makes anabolic drugs very effective to improve the body image, sport performance, physical function, and body size of the athlete.  Furthermore, anabolic drugs do work to increase performance and are viewed as a short cut to achieve the goals that would require much more time, work, dedication, and preparation for the athlete and coach (Hoffman).

A wide range of substances have been used by athletes to improve their performance since the Ancient Olympics.  Athletes have been driven to great lengths by the aspects of competition in search of becoming the best, and using performance enhancing substances helps them reach that point.  This started with the Roman gladiators who would use herbal stimulants to distance runners drinking brandy and experimenting with different kinds of cocktails to improve the strength and overcome fatigue during performance. American Tom Hicks used a combination of these substances to help him win the 1904 Olympic marathon.  Athletes have used and continue to discover ways to improve their performance since the  Dolgner 2

beginning of competition. The use of these performance enhancing drugs is becoming more and more scientifically advanced and the popular anabolic steroids and human growth hormone are becoming yesterday’s drug of choice with the new advancements being made in the industry (Kotler).

The ability to enhance muscle control and reaction time is essential to the top performance of every athlete.  Anti-Narcolepsy stimulants and many other neural enhancers have been used throughout sports to achieve these results artificially.  The scientific names for these drugs are dopamine and norepinephrine.  These drugs are also able to increase positive mood with the serotonin. These drugs are considered a “steroid for the mind” and Kelli White, an American sprinter, used these substances in the 2003 Track and Field World Championships in France (Hari).  With the aid of these substances her 100 and 200 meter times improved by a second and a half to help her win.  These drugs are only legal for individuals suffering from narcolepsy, and the use is not permitted for professional athletes of any league.  However, the pharmaceutical industry will continue to produce stronger substances that last longer with fewer side effects to enhance brain function to optimal performance. These more advanced substances are supposed to enter the market within the next 3 years, and the use among athletes in search of enhancing muscle control and reaction time will be prominent (Kotler, Hari).  The ability to increase lean muscle mass is an essential goal for an athlete of any level. Myostatin is a protein within the body that keeps muscle stem cells inactive during normal use, and blocking myostatin’s signaling function would result in the cells ability to grow  Dolgner 3

rapidly.  The potential of creating this environment within the body would result in drastic gains in lean muscle mass, which is nearly every athletes dream.  Researchers were able to discover this mutation occurring naturally within a few Popeye-esque whippet dogs and in a race the dogs with the mutation ran almost twice as fast as the dogs with normal genetics.  Another test occurred by accident with a German baby who was born without the protein Myostatin.  This baby experienced extremely overdeveloped muscles.  Several years later this person is still extremely muscular and living in perfect health without any side effects.  After discovering these two naturally occurring mutations researchers decided to test this discovery synthetically on mice.  The mice produced a permanent 50 percent muscle gain.  Side effects that have been recorded are stress, brittle tendons, and less force production (1) due to the increased mass in these test subjects.  The use of myostatin blockers is being used in a clinical setting to fight muscle wasting disease.  Creating this environment with the body artificially is being researched and these drugs have the possibility of being on the market in the next five years.  I believe athletes should not be able to use myostatin inhibitors because it will take away the aspects of hard work, dedication, perseverance, and time needed to achieve such success.  This will also eliminate many athletes who are not able or choose not to supplement (Kotler, Myostatin inhibitors reviewed). Stem-cell (2) therapy and the possibilities for improvement are endless.  Stem-cell research has been successfully used in treating cancer and neurological disease, increase in muscle mass and bone density, and cultivating new organs.  The ability for athletes to use stem-cell research to improve and repair their bodies is where the line might be drawn as enhancement, although researchers are viewing it as injury prevention.  The decision of an  Dolgner 4

athlete to use stem-cell therapy (to help build bone density in a broken arm so they can recover faster) should be allowed.  However using stem-cell research to increase muscle mass should be prohibited because the body is being genetically altered.  Researchers have not yet discovered how to deliver stem cells to the appropriate muscle and get them to function properly, however the answers to these questions are suppose to be discovered within the next ten years (Kotler, Medical News Today). Every serious athlete has at one point experienced the “in the zone” feeling that makes them feel unstoppable.  The ability to mimic that feeling artificially would give many athletes the edge they need and desire in competition.  Anandamine is what the body creates that gives athletes the feel of being “in the zone.”  Anandamine is very similar to THC, or the chemical found in marijuana.  The process of discovering a way to mimic this artificially may take up to fifteen years because of all the neurochemicals involved in this process, but is certainly in the future for illegal-performance enhancing supplements (Kotler, Science News). Athletes who use performance-enhancing drugs should face consequences for the use of these illegal substances.  There are many reasons why an athlete should not take performance-enhancing drugs; it is unethical and the use of these illegal drugs is another form of cheating, and in this case it is cheating time to get the desired results quicker.  However, most athletes don’t realize these substances have negative side effects, and although time is being cheated to get the desired results quicker time is also getting taken off of the athlete’s lifespan.  With health risk at stake and unethical practices being performed, there must be

Dolgner 5

consequences made within the sport and from a legal stand to make athletes reconsider their options before using and hopefully diminish the use within sports completely. The types of consequences would vary depending on the drugs that are found in the athletes’ body and if they are caught with the actual drugs.  The penalty for failing a drug test should range from being fined, suspended, and or removed from the sport permanently depending on the degree of violation.  If an athlete is caught with possession of these illegal substances, legal action should be conducted.  For example, if John Smith gets caught by the police with possession of cocaine he will be arrested.  A similar action should occur if an athlete is caught with an illegal performance enhancing substance. The athlete should be apprehended and turned in to the police for violating the law.  I feel strongly that current methods of enforcement are not adequately addressing the problem of illegal performance enhancing drugs in competitive athletics and there is a need for stricter measures to be implemented. The health risks presented with the use of performance-enhancing drugs are very prominent, and the prosecution of athletes who have been caught using will force other athletes to reconsider healthier decisions. There are many dominant athletes who have experienced very early and rare deaths that seem to happen without warning.  These deaths have a high probability of related performance-enhancing substance abuse (British Journal of Pharmacology).  Reggie White raises questions to his early death at the age of forty-three.  Reggie’s death occurred from cardiac arrhythmia, and anabolic steroids have shown to cause negative side effects for cardiac health.  Although his autopsy states that this was not the  Dolgner 6

cause nor did it contribute to his death, the question is raised if performance-enhancing drugs might have played a role in his young death (New York Times).  The fields of exercise science, biomechanics, kinesiology, exercise prescription, and nutrition are constantly advancing and discovering new ways to improve an athlete’s performance the natural way.  The ability to implement correct training techniques is essential to optimal performance output and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) has placed emphasis on educating the athletes and coaches so they are more knowledgeable not only on correct training techniques, but also what not to do, and what an athlete shouldn’t be consuming.  NSCA discredits the use of performance-enhancing substances and provides alternative ways to improve performance that do not put the health of an athlete at risk.  Also, optimizing an athlete’s diet so the athlete is consuming all the nutritional requirements necessary for the body to repair and grow will contribute to increased benefits for the natural athlete that is choosing not to take performance-enhancing substances (Hoffman, Dixon).   The use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports is unethical and if users are caught and prosecuted, this action will force other athletes to reconsider using performance-enhancing drugs and other unethical choices due to the increased consequences.  The use of these substances in sports is a form of cheating and takes away from the dedication, hard work, and perseverance required for being an elite athlete.  It is unfair to the other athletic competitors and the fans who take part in the sporting events, hence the public and league response to Mark McGuire and Barry Bonds record breaking careers and the revelation use of  Dolgner 7

their substances banned by the league.  I have personally experienced what dedication, hard work, and perseverance with the proper training and diet regiment achieves.  However, I am constantly accused of using performance-enhancing drugs by others, which is evidence in itself that if the proper guidelines are followed it is possible to achieve the desired performance without using performance enhancing substances.  I know I am not the only hard working individual that doesn’t use performance-enhancing supplements, and if users are caught and prosecuted then the playing field becomes even and the definition of what it means to be a top athlete becomes a combination of genetics and simple old fashion hard work.      Despite the risks involved many people use performance enhancing substances because they work very well.  Throughout my bodybuilding experience I have witnessed a bodybuilder change his body composition from obese to a very visible six pack in as little as one week from using performance enhancing drugs, although the claim was a changed diet. This however is not humanly possible in the time period of one week.  The major negative side effects that the body may endure due to such a drastic change can include jaundice, fluid retention, liver tumors, and high blood pressure. Men may also experience infertility, development of breasts, baldness, shrinking of the testicles, and a reduced sperm count. Women may also experience a change in their menstrual cycle, growth of facial hair, and a deepened voice (Dermatology Times).  The positive short-term effects are not worth facing the spectrum of negative side effects seen in long-term use, since the side effects can be irreversible and potentially life threatening.

 

Dolgner 8

The magic of sports is the element of competition.  People enjoy relating personal experience to that of an elite athlete; either through their own training experience or from the realization of how difficult it is to achieve excellence.  The public wants to know that the level of performance they are seeing is from hard work not just from swallowing a pill or taking an injection.  Sport philosophers are concerned that the top athletic competitor will just come down to whom has the best performance-enhancing drugs.  Prosecution could prevent this from happening, so that those who have the option of taking performance enhancing drugs won’t become the top athletes just due to their bank account, preventing discrimination against those with less income. Prosecution will hinder sports from turning into a competition of wealth verse natural ability. The human potential naturally has certain limits.  The use of performance enhancing drugs allows athletes to set new limits, and with athletes using performance enhancing drugs they are taking competition to a level that isn’t naturally achievable. Humans who use performance enhancing drugs are become bionic in a sense, and depending on the type of drugs they are using, they may be altering their genetic code.  Many spectators do not see this as a problem because as the level of competition increases so does the excitement of the event.     Many have proclaimed that bans on performance-enhancing drugs should be ended as they have no real ethical justification. Athletes are and always will find ways to enhance their performance even if approval is not granted.  This is why prosecution needs to become stricter with harsher punishments.  If athletes decide to take performance enhancing drugs,  Dolgner 9

then they can be caught using them.  It’s simply, if taken, it can be found.  The industry for performance enhancing drugs is constantly growing and becoming more scientifically advanced, so in turn new discoveries for identifying these substances within the human body must be made to prevent the use in sports (Petersen).  Fans enjoy watching sporting events and the higher the level of performance the more intense the excitement.  People feel like they are getting their money’s worth this way.  Without performance enhancing drugs the level of performance may be hindered.  There are many ways to prevent this from happening.  Human performance is a cutting edge science which is constantly advancing.  Every professional athlete has access to a biomechanics lab that studies how the body works and develops the science behind exercise.  Athletes are studied in a very precise way, there body mechanics are analyzed and a prescription is written.  Implementing new exercise strategies within an athlete’s routine will lead to improved performance.  The other major concern for improving performance is diet.  It’s the fuel that your body burns, and just like a vehicle if it’s given a low grade fuel or in our case unhealthy food choices, it won’t run at optimal capacity.   In conclusion, there are two kinds of science in the fitness industry: positive and negative science.  Positive science works on discovering innovative and natural ways to improve performance.  An example would be Reggie Bush and his unique treadmill workout; Free Flo Do.  This innovative treadmill routine has Bush throwing medicine balls, doing flips, rolls, and jumping and crawling under hurdles.  Its impact is to develop mental and physical awareness, strength and conditioning, adaptability, injury prevention, and spiritual growth (3).   Dolgner 10

Negative science, however, works by discovering new drugs that will be more effective with less effort, fewer side effects, and the possibility of being undetectable.   Athletes who choose the negative science approach, in essence, cheating, should face consequences for the use of these illegal substances.  The science of human performance is continually emerging with new innovative ways of improving performance that capitalize on the ethic of the hard working individual.  As president Obama has said, nothing beats hard work.

 

Dolgner

Appendix

(1) Force production-Force accelerates mass.  The heavier the mass, the smaller the acceleration.  The greater the force, the greater the acceleration.    (2) Stem-cell-One of the human body’s master cells, with the ability to grow into any one of the body’s more than 200 cell types.    (3) FRE FLO DO

* Mental and Physical Awareness

* Injury Preventative Movement Mechanics (IPMs)

* Cardiovascular & Functional Strength Conditioning

* Fluid Spontaneous Adaptability

* Spiritual Growth Philosophy

FRĒ FLŌ DŌ is rooted in traditional martial arts principles, Eastern philosophy, and the spiritual values of its creator, Kappel LeRoy Clarke. Combined with his fascination with the cause and effect correlation of performance training, FRĒ FLŌ DŌ teaches its participants to ‘embrace letting go’ of fear, counter-productive thinking and patterns of behavior which serve to inhibit self-mastery in any situation.  Under the watchful eyes and guidance of ‘Trackers’ (licensed Teachers and Coaches of FFD), participants are taught how to safely and effectively navigate the LAUNCHPAD™ ‘The Official Platform of the FRĒ FLŌ DŌ Experience’. The dynamic environment facilitated by this state of the art equipment and the training system’s progression of comprehensive skills, along with the ‘deliberate-unpredictability’ of the Tracker’s extensive arsenal of drills result in an unparalleled workout experience that always keeps participants moving and reacting. As engaging as any live sport, FRĒ FLŌ DŌ challenges and dramatically improves one’s equilibrium, focus, agility, balance, coordination, strength, stamina and mental capacity to remain composed in unfamiliar territory. When it comes to innovative training methods, nothing comes close! FRĒ FLŌ DŌ is currently benefiting: Professional, Collegiate and Recreational Athletes; Performance Artists in Dance, Theatre, Television and Film; Stunt Performers; Firemen; Secret Service and Military Personnel; high-powered Executives and those seeking an effective, unique and fun means of achieving a superior state of mental and physical readiness. The Tracker Qualification Course & Trials is an extensive licensing process which was developed to provide Fitness Professionals/Facilities, Strength & Conditioning Coaches, Athletic Trainers and Physical Therapists with the opportunity to complementtheir services with the benefits of FRĒ FLŌ DŌ; thus enhancing the effectiveness and the overall quality of the client/athlete’s training experience. Dolgner

References

British Journal of Pharmacology. N.p., June 2008. EBSCO. Web. 12 Apr. 2010. Dermatology Times. N.p., Feb. 2001. EBSCO. Web. 1 Apr. 2010. Dixon, Nicholas. “Rorty, Performance-Enhancing Drugs, and Change in Sport.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport Spring 2001: Vol. 28 Issue 1, p78, 11p. Hari, Johann. My experiment with smart drugs . N.p., 5 May. Web. 7 Apr. 2010. Hoffman JR, Kraemer WJ, Bhasin S, Storer T, Ratamess NA, Haff GG, Willoughby DS, and Rogol AD. “Position stand on androgen and human growth hormone use.” The College of New Jersey August 2009: Vol 23. Kotler, Steven. “JUICING 3.0.” Popular Science August 2008: Vol. 273 Issue 2, p38-41, 4p. Medical News Today; What are stem cells? 2007. Web. 16 Apr. 2010. Myostatin Inhibitors Reviewed: Does Brown Seaweed Amplify Muscle Growth? . N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Apr. 2010. New York Times. N.p., 28 Dec. 2004. EBSCO. Web. 15 Mar. 2010. Petersen, Thomas S and Kristensen, Johannes K. “Should Athletes Be Allowed to Use All Kinds of Performance-Enhancing Drugs?–A Critical Note on Claudio M. Tamburrini.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 2009, Vol. 36 Issue 1, p88-98, 11p. Science News; 2/6/93, Vol. 143 Issue 6, p88, 3p, 2 Color Photographs