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The Story of Drugs & Sports Posted Oct 28, 2020

The craze for sports has been increased with time across the globe. Various competitions and leagues take place with great competition among the teams. Now sports are not restricted up to games or winnings but serious competitiveness. This has made some athletes accomplish their goals by hook or crook.

Therefore, they have turned towards performance-enhancing drugs (PED). However, the use of these drugs is considered unethical and is banned by the international sports organizations. Moreover, strict laws have been made for those who do not follow these rules seriously. The reason for its ban is a health risk and equal opportunity for athletes. This is the concern for online sports bettors whether an athlete is playing fairly or not. Sports betting is not like 100/1 roulette where players play for free. Sports betting involves real money bets and entails the risk of losing it.

What Is Doping?

Doping refers to the consumption of substances in abnormal amounts and with abnormal methods by a healthy person to artificially boost their competitive performance of an athlete. In other words, it is the use of banned PEDs by an athlete to improve their performance.

However, the intake of PEDs leads to harmful effects on the human body. This led to several sporting organizations to ban the use of drugs. In 1999, the formation of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) took place in a world conference on doping and sports. Later in 2009, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), certified by WADA, was formed by the Union government. Both bodies are responsible for dope-free sports across the globe.


The relation between sports and drugs is very old or could be said, the day of the creation of sports brought doping with it. A special diet of athletes had been observed during ancient Olympic games in Greece in 688 BC. They take special herbs infusions to enhance their speed and strength before the game. Ma Huang, an extract from plant Ephedra, was used as a performance booster in China about 5,000 years ago. The word doping emanated in the 1800s when horses were abused with a potion, including opium. Within this duration, various athletes began to intake cocktails of drugs to boost energy and overcome fatigue. This turned into a good score and winnings, but alongside, these drugs were acting like a slow poison in their body.

This streak of doping continued even more with its result in the games, and later it became ubiquitous in every Olympic game and other sports events. Whether it is weight lifting, racing, or cycling, drugs have shown its impact everywhere. A Danish cyclist Knud Enemark died in the 1960 Olympics due to his cycle crash, but later it was found that he had consumed amphetamine. Further strict measures were begun to be taken to prevent doping and drugs from sports. Why Is Doping Prohibited?

There are several genuine reasons for banning the use of drugs in sports. These are:

  • Health Problems. It is the major reason for the ban on drugs. It leads to harmful and long-lasting effects on one's body. It might come out with cardiovascular, nervous or respiratory system ailment along with hormonal disorders. These artificial boosters lead to infertility that may decrease the growth rate significantly.
  • Unfair Practices. It is unethical to take PEDs that give artificial boosters to an athlete's performance. Since sports competitions are made to be done fairly and equally based on natural skills and talent, for instance, an athlete using PED will show better performance as compared to other athletes, which is completely immoral.

Substances and Their Effects

There are various drugs that result in high performance and prevent fatigue. Even more, it may add wins to an athlete's records. This is the reason why some of the athletes get appealed towards these PEDs. Here are some of them:

  • Anabolic Steroids. These are synthetic modifications of testosterone-infused in the body for muscle building and strength. It also reduces muscle damage that happens during a core workout and provides faster recovery. It also provides strength to work out harder. It leads to various men and women’s health problems, including infertility. Besides, it may cause liver abnormalities, hypertension, heart problems, psychiatric disorders, drug dependence, and so on.
  • Erythropoietin. This is responsible for the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin, an oxygen carrier in the body. It boosts oxygen movement in the muscle. Therefore, its synthetic form, called EPO, is consumed by athletes, especially cyclists. Its use was common in the 1900s among cyclists that led to the death of about 18 athletes. Besides, it may cause blood clotting, stroke, and cardiovascular problems.
  • Human Growth Hormone. The growth hormone is responsible for enhancing muscle mass and performance. It is injected into the body and has an anabolic effect. It may lead to hypertension, vision problems, diabetes, joint pain, muscle weakness, and various other severe problems.

Drug Testing Monitors

There are various organizations that monitor doping violations. These organizations vary from sport to sport. A major one is WADA that coordinates anti-doping programs globally. WADA code has been signed by over 660 sports organizations.

Athletes participating in sports sign the WADA code and are liable to be subjected to random in and out competition testing. Type of sport, history of doping in sport, and duration of the season are some of its parameters deciding the frequency and type of test. Penalties involved in violation vary greatly from sports. An athlete may get suspended for a few games or a life-time.

Other than WADA, other anti-doping agencies are the International Olympic Committee, the UK Anti-doping agency, the US Anti-doping Agency, the Court of Arbitration for Sport and so on.

Closing Note

The story of drugs and sports is ancient. However, drugs are still a major issue in sports. However, strict actions are taken for breaking the laws, but a fierce mode of winning makes some athletes consume these PEDs. The obsession of winning among athletes is more than their health. Thus, they are into drugs and other synthetic substances that cause harmful effects on their body or could lead to death. Various anti-doping organizations and even sports committees are working hard to prevent these activities and manage a fair sport event.

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