Author: Gary Jackson

Performance-Enhancing Drug Use in Recreational Athletes

Learn how these drugs work and how they can have effects on your health. The information from a 2020 study among professional athletes demonstrated opioid use in under 5% of participants in the study. Anabolic steroids, used to improve the ease and efficiency of building muscle, became a mainstay among weightlifters and bodybuilders in the 20th century. The right treatment for an athlete depends primarily on how long they have been struggling with substance abuse, the substance they are abusing and their history of relapse or lack thereof. Whatever the athete’s lifestyle or goals, there is a treatment program to suit their needs.

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. All types of athletic competition — especially in professional sports — require mental and physical toughness beyond that of the average person. Between the intense scrutiny of the consumer market and the coaches and families who dedicate their lives to supporting a person’s career, athletes are subject to immense pressure from all sides. Several others looked at abstinent smokers and found either reduced craving, or improved success rate of abstinence by reducing risk of relapse by 3-fold [45,72,73].

How to Prevent the Use of Performance Enhancing Drugs

Most of the available literature primarily looks at substance use in adolescent and college athletes with more emphasis on alcohol predominately and is limited in relation to treatment modalities. Current existing medications have variable success at preventing relapse providing rationale to investigate alternative methods. A goal in the treatment of athletes would be to find either new medications without side effects such as sedation, weight gain or cardiac effects or non-medication options including neuromodulation techniques discussed above that can provide benefit without any daily side effects. Athletes need to feel confident that a treatment will not cause impairment or violate any anti-doping policies. TMS, tDCS and ketamine provide promising results for the future of addiction treatment as a whole. Alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, stimulants and prescription opioids are the most commonly used substances among elite athletes but overall consumption is lower in professional sports than in the general public [2].

drug use in sports

Then there are stimulants, which make athletes more alert and can overcome the effects of fatigue by increasing heart-rate and blood flow. But they are addictive and, in extreme cases, can lead to heart failure. A major drug scandal at the 1998 Tour de France, external underlined the need for an independent international agency to set standards in anti-doping work. The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) was established the following year. In 1966, the world governing bodies for cycling and football were the first to introduce doping tests in their respective world championships, with the first Olympic testing coming in 1968, at the Winter Games in Grenoble and Summer Games in Mexico. By the 1970s, most international federations had introduced drug-testing.

Cheating the tests

Clearly, some gifted athletes can push themselves through almost anything. They can endure the discomfort of training and conditioning and seem to thrive on the discomfort and physical gain. Yet, other mere mortals can tolerate far less physical exertion and pain and dread even the thought of those efforts.

  • Individuals who abuse anabolic steroids at some point during their life are more likely to turn to other drugs.
  • The drive to be the best in sport dates to ancient times, as does the use of performance-enhancing substances.
  • A therapeutic use exemption must be on file before an athlete tests positive for the substance allowed by that therapeutic use exemption.
  • An athlete’s sources for PEDs may extend their supply to include other forms of illegal substances.

She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer. It is an anabolic steroid, and in fact, most anabolic steroids misused by athletes are synthetic variants of testosterone. In younger athletes, disapproval from those closest to them helps deter their use of drugs in sport more than any other barrier. A focus on education and helping these athletes see their potential without drugs in sports is vital to keeping them clean. It is also essential to establish a moral framework that helps the athlete see that doping isn’t the right choice, even if others are doing it.