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Performance Enhancing Drugs

Should Performance Enhancing Drugs Be Illegal?

There are many different types of ‘performance enhancing drugs’. Athletes commonly use performance enhancing drugs to boost endurance, strength, adrenaline, energy, stamina and concentration. This essay will elaborate on reasons as to why performance enhancing drugs should be illegal in all codes of sport, specifically. These three main reasons include the effects performance enhancing drugs can have on an athlete’s person, integrity of athletes and sporting events or meets. As well as disadvantages other competitors, who choose not to use performance enhancing drugs, experience and are not creating an even playing field.

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Sporting competitions and events are at their most competitive and entertaining when all athletes are using their naturally abilities and not relying on performance enhancing drugs to power their efforts. Sporting competitions are supposed to be a showcase of a person’s natural ability, their mental strength and how far they can push their bodies whilst performing against some of the best athletes in the world. Sporting competitions should not allow the use of performance enhancing drugs because they change the natural ability and make-up of the athlete and their performance, possibly awarding the athlete with untrue medals and prizes for their supposed achievements.

Athletes not using performance enhancing drugs, whether this is due to the athlete not wanting to risk their health by taking performance enhancing drugs, not being able to fund the taking of drugs or just because they think it is wrong, can be disadvantaged compared to athletes who do take the drugs. These specific athletes have the tendency to have higher achieving, performance enhancing drug using, athletes chosen over them for positions in teams and events. This then causes non-drug taking athletes to spend less time practicing their chosen sport, to lose money if competing in professional competitions, to lose mental and physical strength as well as compromise personal success. Also a majority of division one competitions involve teenagers as well as adults. Taking performance enhancing drugs for a teenager would have a worse side affect on their body than it would on an adult.

Sportsmen who use performance enhancing drugs may suffer physical effects including liver and kidney damage, baldness, skin discolouration, testicular shrinkage, a higher voice, infertility and breast growth. Women however, may experience liver and kidney damage, deepening of the voice, breast reduction, menstrual cycle irregularities and facial hair growth. As well as these physical effects, men and women both can be subject to emotional distress, severe mood swings, hallucinations and violence on and off the field. Performance enhancing drugs, if taken by an adolescent, can cause long term health problems and stunt the person’s further development. A recent study of high school students in America shows that statistics on students who used steroids rose from 1.2% of 40 kids to 1.7% of 40 kids in one year.

Therefore, performance enhancing drugs can cause complications on an athlete’s health, mentally and physically, are untrue to what sporting events are about and their ethics and disadvantage many athletes as well as imbalance the playing field. All of these reasons strongly indicate that performance enhancing drugs should be illegal in all codes of competitive sport.


  • unknown, January 25th 2001, Drugs: An Athletic Wrecking Ball, [online accessed 31/05/2008]


  • unknown, May 5th 2008, Academics Defend use of Performance Enhancing Drugs, [online accessed 31/05/2008]


  • Jeff Wilson, January 28th 2005, Performance Enhancing Drugs Have Potentially Damaging Effects, [online accessed 31/05/2008]


  • Kathy Henry, unknown, Performance Enhancing Drugs-Athletes Should be Allowed to use Them, [online accessed 31/05/2008]


  • unknown, unknown, Performance Enhancing Drugs, [online accessed 31/05/2008]


  • Mayo Clinic staff, December 26th 2006, Taking Performance Enhancing Drugs: Are You Risking Your Health?, [online accessed 31/05/2008]


  • John W Orchard, Peter A Fricker, Susan L White, Louise M Burke and Deborah J Healey, May 9th 2005, The Use and Misuse of Performance Enhancing Substances in Sport, [online accessed 31/05/2008]



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