Steroid Use Controversies of the Term Paper

  • Length: 17 pages
  • Subject: Sports
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #32219224

Excerpt from Term Paper :

e., their use of anabolic steroids (and whether they had ever been offered steroids), their involvement in power sports, appearance and eating problems, and problem behavior. Background information about the participants included their degree of urbanization, parental socioeconomic status and the region to which they belonged.

Analyses of the study's results show that the prevalence of steroid use among Norwegian youth was lower (lifetime use was 0.8% and 12 months prevalence was 0.3%) than in several other Western societies such as the U.S. (2.5% to 7%) and in Australia, Canada, Sweden and South Africa (2% to 3.5%). It also showed that AAS use was first and foremost associated with problem behavior (i.e., drug [marijuana] involvement and aggressive-type conduct problems). Its relation with power sports and appearance came in at second and third place respectively.

The study is, therefore, significant in highlighting the hitherto largely ignored area of problem behavior in steroid use. A major limitation of the study is that Norwegian youth behavior may not co-relate with that of other Western countries.

Athletes and Steroids: Playing a Deadly Game (1987)

This is a general article about steroid use by Miller (1987) that gives an overview of the history of steroids, the people who use or abuse the drug, the side effects of steroid abuse, why people continue to use steroids despite being aware of their ill effects, and what measures are being taken by the authorities to curb steroid abuse. The article also goes on to explain how anabolic steroids act on the bodies of men and women to produce some of the commonly known side effects.

The author opines that the intense Cold War rivalry between the Russians and the U.S. In the 1950s was largely responsible for the widespread abuse of steroids that has proliferated into the present day problem. This was because both Cold War rivals wanted to excel each other in every field, including sports, in order to prove the superiority of their political systems. The Russian sport officials and coaches started to give steroids to their athletes and dominated many sport events. Some American doctors, coaches, and athletes followed suit. The result was massive abuse of steroids by sportsmen and sportswomen that soon spilled over among college and school students and even some law enforcement officers.

One of the measures being taken to control steroid abuse among athletes is the introduction of increasingly sophisticated testing techniques with which extremely small quantities of the drug in a performer's body can be detected. Despite the tests and the crackdowns on illegal steroid trade, its use is not easy to control because of "the winning at all costs" culture in many modern day societies including the American society and the misplaced sense of "immortality" in the youth that prompts them into disregarding the long-term harm to their bodies for short-term gains.

Anabolic Steroid Abuse" (2000)

This is a research report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), USA on anabolic steroid abuse and is available on the Internet in both pdf and html versions. It contains useful basic information about anabolic steroids without getting too technical. The report is written in simple clear language and is aimed at the general audience. However, it can be used for getting basic, updated information and statistics by researchers on steroid abuse.

The report starts off by explaining what are anabolic steroids, why they were developed in the late 1930s, the different types of anabolic steroids that have been developed, information on steroidal supplements, and the scope of steroidal abuse in the U.S. The main focus of the NIDA Report is on the health consequences of steroid abuse and on why, who and how people abuse anabolic steroids. It also contains brief information on the effect of steroid abuse on human behavior, and what can be done to prevent such abuse.

The Anabolic Steroid Abuse Report (2000) does leave out detailed explanation of how the drug actually acts on the body to produce its harmful effects. For example, an important question that comes to mind while learning about the "feminizing" effect of anabolic steroids on the male body such as the growth of breasts and shrinking of testes, is how does a male hormone produce the opposite effect? Those interested in such detailed information on the effect of steroids would, therefore, have to look elsewhere.

Admissions before BALCO grand jury detailed" (2004)

This is an ESPN report on Jason Giambi's admission to a federal grand jury in 2003 that he took steroids and human growth hormone from 2001 to 2003.

Although widespread use of illegal drugs has long been suspected in Major Lague Baseball, this is the first time that a high profile baseball player has admitted to taking steroids as well as other human growth hormones. The Giambi admission has prompted the need for introducing stricter laws for controlling drug (in particular steroid) abuse in the major professional sports in the U.S., including Major League Baseball. As a result, a legislative Act (the "Clean Sports Act of 2005") for introducing uniform testing standards calls for Olympic-style drug testing and stringent penalties for drug use in professional sports is under discussion in the Congress and is expected to be passed soon. The legislation would require a 2-year ban for a first offense and a lifetime ban for a second offense regarding drug use.

The ESPN Report also contains information on how steroid use may have affected Jason Giambi and his career.

Romanowski: I broke RB's finger, took steroids, damaged brain." (2005)

Bill Romanowski, the former American Football player and linebacker, recently admitted to using steroids during the last three years of his NFL career, which ended in 2003. This Sportsline report quotes the recent 60 Minutes interview with Scott Pelley in which Romanowski admitted to taking drugs. It also reports on the deliberate violence committed by Romanwski (fueled by steroids?) during his playing career.

The Demonization of Anabolic Steroids I: What Makes These Hormones So Evil?"(n.d.)

This article by John M. Williams gives an alternative view about the almost universal condemnation of steroid abuse. Williams (n.d.) argues in this first part of a two-part article that the criminalization of anabolic steroids is wrong. While discussing some of the side-effects of anabolic steroids, he contends that most of them have been exaggerated and that there are some benefits of controlled steroid use that have been suppressed by the mainstream social, medical and legal forces in the United States. He questions the results of some of the medical research that reports no palpable strength or muscle gains resulting from the use of AAS and wonders "if some researchers intentionally misrepresented scientific findings in order to discourage the use of AAS for physical enhancement." Williams questions some of the seeming "established" evils of anabolic steroids such as liver damage, cardiovascular damage and "roid rage" by stating that at best such purported effects of AAS are limited to only a few types of anabolic steroids and are mostly reversible on cessation of steroid use.

Examples of a number of prescription / legal drugs that allegedly have far more serious side effects than AAS have been given by the author who believes that the "real" reason for the criminalization of steroids is because they promote muscle growth. Williams believes that the modern society has a peculiar love-hate relationship with muscular strength in which the majority of the public expresses a distaste for women with muscle, does not look with favor at muscular older men, and even equates muscle with deviant and criminal behavior.

Summary and Conclusions

What are Steroids?

In general, a steroid could be "any of numerous naturally occurring or synthetic fat-soluble organic compounds with 17 carbon atoms arranged in four rings in its molecular structure. It includes the sterols and bile acids, adrenal and sex hormones, certain natural drugs such as digitalis compounds, and the precursors of certain vitamins." Among these steroids are a group of synthetic derivatives of the male sex hormones (testosterone) called Anabolic-androgenic steroids that promote muscle and bone growth and male sexual characteristics ("Anabolic Steroid Abuse" 2000, p. 1)

Types of Steroids

More than 100 types of anabolic steroids have been developed. They can be broadly classified into two categories -- oral steroids such as Anadrol or Winstrol and injectable steroids such as Deca-Durabbbolin and Depo-Testosterone (Ibid. p. 2).

Steroidal supplements such as dehydroepian-drosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione (Andro) can be purchased in the U.S. without a prescription. They are also believed to promote muscle growth although it is not yet clear whether these 'supplements' do so on their own or indirectly by being converted into testosterone in the body. Not much is known about their side effects either (Ibid.)

Who Uses Steroids?

Anabolic steroids were developed in the late 1930s to treat hypogonadism -- a male condition in which the testes do not produce sufficient testosterone for normal growth, development, and sexual…

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