Athletes and Drug Use
Whether legal or illegal, drug use can occur at all levels of sports, from high school or college student athletes, to international Olympic competitors, to professional athlete celebrities. At the professional and Olympic level, each athlete is responsible for the drugs they consume and knowing if any of these substances are published on the World Anti-Doping Code Prohibited List or prohibited by their specific sport.
The use of performance-enhancing drugs by professional athletes, or “doping,” has been acknowledged as a problem since at least the 1960s. There are several types of performance-enhancing drugs: anabolic steroids, stimulants, human growth hormone and some supplements. The use of performance-enhancing substances to augment an athlete’s ability to succeed in competitive sports is an ongoing occurrence.
Some people advocate that congress should consider introducing legislation to create federally mandated drug testing in professional sports. Others question whether any such action is necessary, warranted, or appropriate, instead suggesting athletes be educated and management strategies developed, aimed at reducing use.
Professional athletes faced with the overwhelming incentives present in modern sports, whether tangible like money or intangible like the competitor’s inner drive, are placed in situations in which more is constantly demanded of them. This has been happening since ancient times; the public and the athlete’s coaches today often push athletes to the extreme, similar to modern day gladiators. However, modern drugs can make this process deadly.
Problematic drug use in the sports of football, baseball, soccer, track and even NASCAR, needs to be better addressed. Furthermore, it should be understood, athletes are people who need and deserve addiction treatment like anyone else, if their situation calls for it. The stigma of addiction can be difficult to confront and recover from for anyone. Residential treatment can offer personalized plans to fit the individuals’ needs and provide recovery.