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Drug Testing in Athletics

From workplace to school, from professional sports to the armed forces, the advent of drug-testing procedures has stirred debate and controversy. The issue of drug testing in athletics seems to be the most prevalent debate. An incident that really brought drug testing into the spotlight is the track and field event in the 1988 Summer World Olympic Games. The two competitors in the limelight were Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson, both excellent and very emulating runners who have beaten each other in past competitions.

This was the opportunity for the whole world to see who the true champion was after the 100 eter dash. In a quick ten seconds, Ben Johnson crossed the finish line as a champion, and from then on he was known as the fastest man alive. A week later a drug test was administered to Ben Johnson, and he then confessed to being a user of an illegal drug, anabolic steroids. Since the use of any kind of illegal drugs, including steroids, was and still is against Olympic regulations, Ben Johnson was stripped of his gold medal, that was then awarded to Carl Lewis (Galas,1997).

Due to this incident and many others, drug testing should be enforced because it provides drug using athletes an unfair advantage, can liminate any potential drug related health problems, and so that children can have worthy role-models to look up to and admire. Although designed to protect and thereby curtail the use of illegal drugs, the well-intended procedure of testing athletes involves many difficult issues, such as the issue of privacy.

Those against drug testing feel that it should be banned because it violates the Fourth Amendment which defends and protects the rights of the American citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. The amendment states that The right of the people to be secure in their ersons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized (Cornell. edu).

Many feel that the act of testing a person for illegal drugs is an invasion of ones privacy. What an athlete wishes to do with his/her own body, whether being good or bad, is that athletes prerogative and cannot be infringed. No matter how strenuous the circumstances may be, every one deserves that right of privacy and no ndividual should be permitted to partake in the invasion of it. Another opposition to drug testing is that the results from drug tests are not always 100 percent accurate due to non-certified laboratories, not carefully watched specimens, and no follow up tests being administered.

Opposers feel, a false-positive is the finding by a drug test of a drug that is not, in fact, present in the tested sample (Levine, 1998, p. 102). This can occur when specimens get mixed up. Also tests can pick up substances that are contained in simple over-the-counter products or food that can make the test come back positive Levine, 1998). All some test show is a person came into contact with some type of drug at one time. Tests may not give sufficient information to indicate the way the drug got into a persons body (Levine, 1998, p. 03).

Due to these uncertainties and suspicions, athletes can be wrongfully accused of being a drug abuser and therefore might possibly be wrongfully punished. In addition to not being 100 percent accurate the act of tampering with samples can lead to falsified specimens. There have also been accusations of cheating, when urine samples are collected. Some athletes say that it is easy to witch bottles or to bribe an official to swap the athletes dirty sample of urine for a clean one before it is tested (Goldma & Klatz, 1992, p. 41).

Therefore, drug testing can be highly ineffective and unproductive in ceasing drug usage Another opposition to drug testing is that some specimens that come back positive are insulting and offensive to other athletes, whether being teammates or rival players. Some teammates might possibly be embarrassed to be part of a team where players are involved in illegal activities, such as the use of drugs and steroids. When an athlete from a certain team or school has a test that omes back positive, then those athletes who play by the rules and have negative tests feel as though everyone from that particular organization has a label as a drug abuser.

For example, Lawrence Taylor, a football player for the New York Giants was recently suspended because of drug abuse. Most recent interviews showed his former and current friends having to defend the entire Giant franchisee and the NFLs football program because of Taylors drug use. Also, those opposed to drug testing also believe that it makes drug-free people feel degraded due to the use of drugs taken by their teammates, coaches, and Although there are many legitimate reasons why people would not want drug testing to occur, the positive reasons tend to outweigh the negatives.

There are many benefits toward drug testing in athletics. One benefit of drug testing is that athletes may have an unfair advantage over other athletes who are not on drugs. Testing can help restore an athletes faith in the fairness of sports competition. Although testing does not always stop suspicions or cheating, it does reduce illegal behavior. Finally testing procedures put athletes on notice: if you cheat to win you might get caught and then you will ose it all (Galas, 1997, p. 81). Drug testing can allow those who test positive to be given the help they need to remain drug-free.

Another unfair advantage is that those who take steroids have a physical edge over the athletes who do not. The drug using athletes are stronger than most of the athletes who do not use steroids, because… as a performance-enhancing drug, anabolic steroids have been shown to produce increases in body weight and muscle mass (Nardo, 1990, p. 20). A prime example is Bam Morris, a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Morris, a argely built man who broke a lot of records, was beginning to act like a monster, by having uncontrollable mood swings and being overly aggressive (Mohun, 1988, p. 32).

Finally, Morris was tested for drugs and failed by testing positive for steroids and other illegal drugs. Those athletes, such as Bam Morris, who use steroids do not give clean athletes a fair chance. Testing allows officials to eliminate from competition those who have taken drugs, giving drug-free players a reasonable chance of winning (Nardo, 1990, p. 80). Drug testing does not only reduce the unfair advantage in competition, ut it can also send a message to other athletes about the harm and danger of drug use.

Many people believe that if some athletes took drugs to give them that competitive advantage, the practice would encourage other athletes to take drugs. Many hope that testing will stop drug abuse (Levine, 1998, p. 108). In the long run, athletes will benefit from drug testing. Athletes who might be tempted to use drugs will be discouraged to, due to the fear of getting caught and punished. By having mandatory testing the fear of getting caught is greatly increased causing the temptation to use drugs to greatly decrease. Drug testing can make athletes live more safely by reducing the harmful effects drugs produce.

Athletes who use drugs have an enormous risk of overdosing or becoming dependent on them. In the past couple of years, athletes have been known to overdose and even die from drug addiction. Addiction to most illegal drugs is easier to acquire. Addiction is a physical and emotional need for something (Monroe, 1990, p. 10). Athletes know that drugs can harm ones health as a result of dehydration, overheating, heart and liver failure. The taking of drugs may also cause premature death and serious health njuries and problems (Levine, 1998).

Doctors can give treatment and educate the athletes about the danger of the drugs they are using or the drugs around them. Drug testing can further protect the athletes from these poisonous substances (Nardo, 1990). Many feel drug abuse is a disease and that students should be screened for drug abuse just as they are checked for other medical conditions (Mass, 1998). Consequently, drug testing may help prolong an athletes health and possibly even save lives (Nardo, 1990). Another concurrence for drug testing in athletics is that the athletes are upposed to set good examples and be role models for others.

How are athletes supposed to have and keep their fans when they are setting bad examples for the spectators? An athlete who uses illegal drugs, whether to enhance their performance or not, should not even be considered a worthy role model. For example, a professional football player, Carl Eller, was a very famous athlete and was loved by all until he was caught with possession of cocaine and was forced to declare bankruptcy. This put an end to his potential prominent career in professional football (Mohun, 1988).

After the story was out, steroids also caused his popularity to plummet as his on-looking fans silently disappeared (Mohun, 1988, p. 74). If an athlete wants to set good examples and have fans respect him/her then he/she should do well and win without the use of any In conclusion, one can partially understand why athletes use drugs to enhance his/her performance, due to the fact that any human being, not only athletes, will sometimes do whatever he/she has to do to be the best. One may not understand why some people are so ignorant to use drugs when he/she can risk everything, including their life.

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