The Use of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports and Its Effects

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About this sample


Words: 1223 |

Page: 1|

7 min read

Published: Oct 25, 2021

Words: 1223|Page: 1|7 min read

Published: Oct 25, 2021

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Brief History of PED
  3. Factors of Using PEDs
  4. Effects of using Performance-Enhancing Drugs
  5. Current trend
  6. Conclusion


The consumption of performance-enhancing drugs (PED), more commonly known as ‘doping’, continues to have a scandalous effect across all sporting communities. Doping is notorious for having severe health problems for the consumer, such as abnormal growth, heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, hypertension, blood cancers and arthritis. It also creates disparity in competitions, as the consumer is given an unfair advantage over others. Finally, illegal activity such as doping tarnishes the sports reputation in general and drastically diminishes the reputation of athletes. Therefore, we can safely presume that performance-enhancing drugs are detrimental not only to sporting communities, but to all other communities in contemporary society. However, to fully understand this current issue, we must be informed on the historical perspectives on this issue, what factors are influencing the issue, the impacts the issue has in sports, the ethical implications this problem has and what future perspectives this topic will provide.

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Brief History of PED

In 1896, the first modern Olympics took place in Athens, Greece that featured 280 participants and 12 nations that each competed in 43 events. This was the historical milestone where the concept of doping was brought into existence. All competitive athlete’s have a strong desire to win by any means necessary, this would include the use of performance-enhancing substances to “get a competitive edge”. A great number of individuals were obsessed with having the ideal athletic body and used what was referred to as image-enhancing substances. Image and performance-enhancing drugs (IPED) were consumed legally; throughout history, people consumed potions and medicines that dramatically improved an individual’s performance in normal task, without acknowledging the unprecedented side effects on the individual. Moreover, during the 1960s, UK cyclists, Knut Jensen and Tommy Simpson died to an overdose of an amphetamine substances later revealed during their post-mortem. In 1967, the International Olympic Committee established a Medical and Scientific Commission to investigate doping in sports, where the issue of consuming performance-enhancing substances became more prevalent. After the investigation, doping was then officially banned from all Olympic competitions and sports.

Factors of Using PEDs

Despite the permanent ban on all performance-enhancing substances in all sporting events, many athletes continue to consume these drugs for all sorts of reasons. The first being the social pressures to dope; the more adept and proficient an athlete becomes, the more pressured they are by external and internal influences that promote doping. International athletes (for example), are under constant pressure, because they are a proud representative for their home country. Athletes occasionally conjure this ‘win at all costs’ mentality, if not, they are brought forth as a major disappointment to everybody believing in them, which involves coaches, family and the audience. Another reason why athletes capitulate to the pressures of doping, is to earn more money. If an athlete is performing exceptionally well in their chosen sport, they will receive more financial opportunities such as sponsorships. Sponsorships are one of the main sources of income for athletes, therefore, the more sponsorships they earn, the more revenue they will be generating by having companies promote the athlete’s image universally.

Effects of using Performance-Enhancing Drugs

There are various performance-enhancing drugs that are available in the drug market, such as anabolic agents, human growth hormones (HGH), peptide hormones, erythropoietin (EPO), stimulants and opioids, that all deliver an increase of red blood cells, oxygen levels and muscle growth. While these effects are temporary, the side effects that follow have a permanent impact on the individual. Drugs exercise various organs in the body, depending on the type of drug. Blood doping (for example) is designed to increase one’s red blood cell mass, which allows the body to transport more oxygen to the muscles, which improves the individual’s stamina. Unfortunately, blood doping immensely strains the heart during the process, which makes the individual prone to heart disease, stroke and cerebral or pulmonary embolism. Not only to the everlasting effects of doping hinder an athlete’s physical health, but it also damages their reputation. On average, only 1 to 2 percent of athletes are caught doping by having illegal substances being traced back to the individual, however, to the slim percentage of athletes who got unlucky, are at risk to a lifetime ban, depending on the severity of the offense. A single violation of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code can result in a ban from all sports of up to two years. Finally, the reputation of the sport in general is affected. The more frequent any illegal activity occurs in a sport, the more reputable the sport becomes for having a bad stigma.

The consumption of performance-enhancing drugs allows for an athlete to have a significant advantage over various other athletes. Ever since the early 1960s, where the first casualties caused by doping occurred, doping was permanently banned from all sporting eventscompetitions, which makes doping to be an unfair and illegal practise, as it creates disparity in athletic performance. Lance Armstrong, arguably the most renowned and iconic rider in cycling history is notorious for his repeated blood doping scandals. He had won seven consecutive races in the Tour De France, from 1999 to 2005, where his staggering performance often speculated the usage of performance-enhancing substances throughout his professional career. In July 2012, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) accused Armstrong of doping, following testimonies from Armstrong’s former teammates and collected blood samples from the latter stages of his life. Three months later, the USADA confirmed that Armstrong will be banned from all sports that follow the WADA code, as well as stripping him from all his former accomplishments. The doping case of Lance Armstrong serves as an example to all athletes that consider doping; what consequences await them. Being stripped of your major life accomplishments and having a lifetime ban implemented towards you, is just enough to derail an athletes whole professional career in sports.

Current trend

It is important to understand that doping will be a recurring issue in sport that must be addressed constantly and implement strategies we can to resolve the problem. In 2004, WADA established a document known as the World Anti-Doping Code. This code highlights the regulations regarding anti-doping across all sports and countries. The code undergoes perpetual updates as new ideas would arise and eventually form future rules, regulations and policies. This allows for sporting communities to stay on top of any new drugs entering the market. As new drugs enter the black market, sports communities must identify ways on how they can trace these drugs, to ensure fairness over the competition. However, the production of variations of other drugs will still be manufactured in attempt to make it nearly impossible to trace back to the athlete, which is why it is essential to stay informed. Other documents such as the Athletes’ Anti-Doping Rights Act, informs athletes about their anti-doping rights. Frameworks implemented by organizations such as Sport Integrity Australia, eliminate the possibility of athletes accidentally consuming prohibited substances.

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To conclude, doping remains prevalent in a contemporary setting, due to the immense amount of pressures and temptations that every athlete faces in their career. Despite those pressures, it is important to discontinue the usage of prohibited substances to ensure a fair and just competition for all sports, and to consider the safety and wellbeing of all athletes. Finally, the discontinuation of consuming performance-enhancing drugs will be beneficial to the reputation of your professional career in sports and the sport in general.

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The Use Of Performance Enhancing Drugs Among Athletes. (2022, December 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 19, 2024, from
“The Use Of Performance Enhancing Drugs Among Athletes.” GradesFixer, 06 Dec. 2022,
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