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Athletes and devience

Do athletes engage in more deviance then non-athletes? In the study of athletes and drugs, one major topic that was discussed was the use of drugs by athletes at all levels. With much controversy dealing with the issue of drug testing in high school, college and professional sports, many people are debating whether or not the use of drugs is a problem in the athletic system.

With the problems of drugs appearing in the world of sports, many parents believe that if they place their children into a sport or any other extracurricular activity at an early age they will be spared from the world of drug use and maintain better grades in the long- run. Little do they know that teens who play sports do get better grades, but are also more likely to be the students who use alcohol and drugs. It has been proven that alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana are the leading choice among youths in America today (journal of alcohol and drugs education pg. 49).

Due to the fact that the drugs mentioned above are probably the most common and easiest to get a hold of, they are also usually the ones that kids try first. Alcohol, despite the increase in education and prevention efforts, remains the drug most widely used by high school students. Peer pressure also plays a large role in the amount of abuse that student do to their bodies. Many athletes want to conform and fit into the mold of the school that is rooting for them. A survey suggested that in 1992, 51% of high school seniors claimed that they had consumed an alcohol beverage in the ast month. A study taken among high school athletes in 1988 showed that 83% of high school athletes have tried alcohol once in their lives. While 55% admitted to consuming alcohol varying from a few times a month to once a day. Rainey, Mckeown, Sargent, and Valios (1996) also found that highly active athletes, grades form 9th to 12th conducted in more drug-in taking than the low-active non-athletes. And were more likely to binge drink, concluding that athletic youths are at increased risk of alcohol use and binge drinking.

With the pressure on young athletes by coaches and parents, many athletes in almost every university, high school and junior high feel that they must excel and be the best. For athletes, success in sports can mean finical scholarships, money towards college, jobs in advertising, and for a few lucky people a job as a professional athlete. To achieve these high statuses and dreams many students turn to the use of ergogenic drugs, drugs that enhance athletic performance. Athletes are more likely to take drugs that enhance themselves physically and psychologically.

Many of the drugs that athletes choose to use are stimulants such as amphetamines and many other drugs with ergogenic effects (Bell 1987). Some examples of ergogenic substances and their effects are: Amino acids, which stimulate natural production of growth hormones, amphetamines and cocaine which increase strength, alertness, and endurance, caffeine which reduces fatigue and many more. Many students get started using these drugs with suggestions from coaches and even with the suggestion from a fellow team member.

They feel that with this extra boost of drugs in their system, their energy and sports level will improve their game. With the exception of major pain medications, student athletes report obtaining performance enhancing drugs primarily from sources outside athletic programs, for example from teammates, other athletes, friends, relatives, or even dealers. Athletes who admitted using anabolic steroids within the past year indicated that they received them from athletic personnel at their own personal schools or places of work (Albrecht, 9).

Many possible reasons for college athletes to take socially-used drugs are to improve athletic performance, to make them feel better, for social use, and to help deal with college stress both in the fields of academics and athletics. The amount of drug abuse decreased among Division I athletes since 1989, while an increase appeared to take place in both Division II and Division III. Division III athletes reported the highest percentage of alcohol and marijuana use.

The also reported the highest amounts of cocaine use. Division II athletes reported a higher percentage of cocaine and crack use. The lowest percentage of drug use is found in Division I athletes because they have a stricter drug testing policy and these athletes have more to loose then a Division II and Division III athlete. If college students fail their drug test, punishment can be very severe. Although sports are the same from Division to Division the punishment varies from class to class.

In Division III and II athletics, athletes are not tested unless they have the opportunity to play in national championships or make the regional. Division I athletes are tested periodically with random testing thrown in occasionally whether in game season or not. Division I athletes have more in-store for them unlike Division III athletes. Division III athletes are not given the chance to receive athletic funds or scholarships. Without having the chance to receive athletic scholarships students dont have the risk of being dismissed from school for not participating in their sport.

In the case of Division I athletes where it becomes more like a job, the students must maintain a certain grade point average, remain physically healthy and attend practices without excuses. If these following guides are not followed students scholarship could be threaten and dismissal from the sport or even the school may take place. Theres a believe that the use of illegal drugs and performance-enhancing drugs, and abuse of alcohol constitute a threat to the integrity of intercollegiate athletics. It also creates a danger to the health and the careers of the student-athlete.

As soon as a student athlete joins and decides to participate in an inter-collegiate team, the war begins for the coaches and their staff to keep their players on the right track and not let them get caught up in the mist of that every athlete is more likely to engage in the drug abuse society. To prevent the problem a lot of universities around the world have adopted programs to educate their student-athletes to the personal risks and dangers of drug use and abuse. Another main focuses of these programs are to try to prevent the involvement before it becomes a problem.

And in fact a problem does occur, try to provide treatment, and rehabilitation. Therefore they can detect the problem at an early stage. Although the odds are against the probability of making a drug free inter-collegiate program, its a good attempt to try to minimize the use or abuse of drugs by any student-athlete. Some athletes are more prone to abuse steroids than are others. Football players have the highest rate of abuse, while track and field athletes have the least (Hansons, Venturelli 434). The abuse of these drugs increases as the level of competition increases.

The effects of steroids might be good in the beginning, but the lasting effects can be crucial to ones own image. Having higher androgenic properties and characteristics generally means more side effects, more virilizing (masculinizing) among women, potential for balding, high blood pressure/ water retention, gynecomastia, body hair growth, damaged liver enzymes, ect (Bumangl, 2). Now that steroid use has been prohibited by almost all legitimate sporting organization, urine testing just prior to the athletic event has become commonplace (Lukas 1993).

Although many athletes attempt to avoid steroid detection, they are not usually successful in the end. The use of drug tests to test students for drug and alcohol use is a new technique used by schools today. After undertaking previous prevention efforts that proved ineffective in stopping the increase of drug use, the policy of random drug testing was adopted, along with very detailed procedures to ensure the accuracy of the testing, while minimizing its relative intrusiveness (www. ed. gov/offices/OESE/ACTGUID/drugath. html). Students in drug testing facilities must identify any prescription medication that they are talking at the time.

A test widely used today is that of random drug testing. This test consists of a random selection of students chosen to be tested at different times, making sure that there is no use of drugs in the students system. Many times students are told the night before a testing to make sure that there is not enough time for students to make arrangements for a drug cover-up or even a small chance of having your system flushed of all inappropriate materials in your body. If a student does not show up for their individual test then they are declared a failure and will have to face the consequences of suspension or even dismissal from the sport.

Gender difference in drug testing plays a small role in how students and athletes are tested for drug abuse. Both male and female students enter the testing room with a monitor of the same sex. The observer stands close enough to the student to listen for normal sounds of urination. Each male student remains fully clothed at all times while the testing is taking place. They produce the urine sample while a monitor stands near by to make sure that the student does not tamper with the sample. A female student follows the same steps, but are allowed to go into an enclosed facility.

Monitors are not allowed in the room so they do not get a direct observation of the procedure-taking place. The identity of the student is not taken into consideration as the school determines what drug the student might be tested for. When the tests are finished and sent to the laboratories, scientist check for the following drugs: cocaine, amphetamines, and marijuana. Scientist now and days can search for LSD and other drugs by the request of the school district. The laboratory has a 99. 94% rate of accuracy(www. ed. gov/offices/OESE/ACTGUID/drugath. html).

As the results are determined, the laboratory is responsible to mail the information to the superintendent, principals, vice-principals and the athletic directors. These following people are the only ones subjected to this important information. For an athlete to be successful, a strong commitment to high levels of physical and mental conditioning is required. Theres nothing that can deter an athlete from reaching their goals more than the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Athletes need to realize that they have responsibility to society, especially as role model; and that fair play is as essential to sports as winning or losing.

Athletes themselves are the key to solving the problem (Bell, 101). Athletes at every level are looked up to by our nations as role models to kids at all ages. Go to any stadium across the nation tonight and look at the thousands of young people hanging on their seats, wearing the jerseys of their favorite players, and cheering on every good play. And, it isn’t just the pros that kids look up to. Younger children idolize their local high school athletes, and they pay careful attention to what these older children do in their off the field hours.

College student-athletes, young people a lot of time in their teens, play before national network audiences of millions. Our young people look up to these student athletes as much as they do the pros. When one of these athletes turns up using drugs, young people get the message that drugs are OK, or, worse, cool. Sometimes the mistake is made in believing that athletes are immune from the pressures and tensions that draw individuals to substance abuse. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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