p.p1 torn apart by drug abuse”, says John

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“Sports bring us together as a community, as fans, and as families. But we are being torn apart by drug abuse”, says John Underwood from Current Issues (“Drugs and Athletes”). While many people believe that the use of drugs, such as performance-enhancers, can increase their performance and are not bad for them, others beg to differ. Using drugs, especially for sport use, is becoming more and more widely popular. Many athletes may feel that they are the best because they are winners while using these drugs, but the real question is: Are they really the true winner in the end? Although the use of drugs can enhance an athlete’s performance, it can be dangerous, be considered a form of cheating, and also is illegal in the United States. 
The amount of danger and the variety of harm that comes along with the use of performance-enhancers, ranging from steroids all the way down the chain to supplements, is more real than anyone could imagine (“Drug Testing Student Athletes”). There is a portion of the athletic community that believes the use of these drugs among athletes is acceptable because they increase their muscle mass and strength. They also help athletes to recover quicker than normal from their workouts, which allow them to be able to work harder the next time (“Endocrine Reviews”). On the other hand, impaired judgment is a common side effect of using any type of performance-enhancing drugs. Many athletes use them to ignore the pain they are already feeling, but these impaired judgments cause them to inhibit the risk of worsening their injury. Athletes can encounter delusions and irritability as a result of taking these drugs. Dosage amounts can also affect whether or not irritability and delusions take place. When younger athletes see their idols taking performance-enhancers, they often feel that it must be the only way to achieve their goals. In 2004, a Newsweek article showed an estimated 300,000 teens between the eighth and twelfth grades had tried some type of performance-enhancing drug due to their idols they looked up to (“The Use of Performance…”). Steroids interrupt the processes of puberty in males and females, especially if a person begins using them at a younger age. Causing the body to halt its production of testosterone, males often develop female characteristics, such as high-pitched voices and enlargements in the breasts. Steroids normally give women the opposite effect in that they receive male characteristics, such as losing the breasts and gaining facial hair and deeper voices. Abnormal psychological behavior can as well come along with the use of these performance-enhancers. For example, strokes, stunted bone growth, and elevated aggression levels are all possible causes of steroid use. In 2007, Chris Benoit murdered his wife and child before committing suicide due to rage from steroid use (“The Use of Performance…”). Stimulants, commonly used by runners and cyclist, can allow your body’s blood pressure to raise, cause changes in the rhythm of your heart, and cause chemical addictions and anxiety. Erythropoietins cause clotting in the blood, which leads to heart attacks. Human growth hormones often cause acromegaly and gigantism, which often cause people to die before their mid age of forty. Supplements cause deaths mostly because athletes exceed the dosage and they mix them with other medications, causing them to become too strong for their body’s system. 
Cheating is perceived through various aspects, so it is easy for people to assume that using performance-enhancing drugs is a form of cheating. Many supporters of performance-enhancers believe that athletes should have the freedom to make their own choice as to what is in their best interest (“Is a Potential Negative…”). Moreover, so many athletes today use these drugs that other athletes almost feel that they have to use them as well to achieve as much success as their opponents. One writer says, “Using such drugs gives athletes an unfair advantage over those who choose not to use performance-enhancers. It creates a pressure among athletes to use such drugs if they want to remain competitive” (“Drug Testing Student Athletes”).  Many people say that using drugs in sports basically interferes with the values of being trustworthy and honest. Rules and guidelines are set for a reason, and therefore athletes should follow them for their own safety. Sportsmanship is violated highly when an athlete chooses to cheat. John Whetton says, “Using chemicals to do what your body isn’t capable of doing is cheating, but it is a form of cheating that is hidden and therefore it is a nasty form of cheating” (qtd. in “Drugs and Athletes”). 
Although athletes tend to find their way around it, using performance-enhancing drugs are illegal and have been banned in many areas. Supporters of the legalization of performance-enhancers don’t see eye-to-eye on why they are illegal. The question, “Why are painkillers, which allow athletes to compete at all, viewed with less condemnation than performance-enhancing drugs, which allow them to get better?”, was asked by one supporter (“Endocrine Reviews”). The drugs are now so widely used that is not as hard as people would think to obtain them, legal or illegal. A simple prescription from the doctor is all it takes, or even more easily, athletes can go online and order them straight off the internet. The widespread use of drugs in sports has gotten so out of hand that athletes from other countries  have even began traveling all the way to the United States in order to purchase their own performance-enhancers. Since 1973, most performance-enhancers have been banned and forbidden in most sports. Also, many supplements convert into a type of illegal substance once entered into the body of an athlete (“Drug Testing Student Athletes”). Performance-enhancers are illegal for certain reasons due to their increased amount of danger, so when athletes go against these rules, they are definitely considered to be breaking certain laws, rules, and procedures which have been set to insure the safety and well-being of them. 
Athletes that use performance-enhancing drugs can be at a risk for danger, be mediated as a cheater, and normally be considered of being in the possession of illegal substances. While many athletes feel that they are doing what they need to do to gain success, they are hurting themselves more than they know. As the use of drugs in sports becomes more popular, more and more athletes are at risk. Now, are they truly the winner in the end? No, the risk factors are too high, and the rate of death is too increased. The use of performance-enhancers should not be a question. Nobody wants to be labeled as a swindler or a con artist. The media and social groups are not to blame. Only the person obtaining the drugs and using them can be held accountable for their own actions. To avoid getting caught up in drugs like these, is to train on a regular basis by working out. Striving to reach an ultimate goal can be good, as long as it is done right. 

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