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« Daily steroid dose: Clemens updates | Main | Guest spot: German doping controversy festers »

01/20/2008

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Comments

Track Mom

Good article!! Keep up the nice job

TaxPayer

Ridiculous. Congress getting involved for any of these issues is completely a waste of their time and our tax dollars. And more importantly at the expense of all other issues that our law-makers (not enforcers, or judges) should be concerning themselves with. If steroids are wrong - and of course they are, then get a lawyer (not one from Congress) and get a judge, and get a jury and put them in jail if they are guilty.

Jeremy

These are not good reasons to get Congress involved. Some are simply fallacious, some are poorly constructed, & many are inconsistent. Much of this article could be applied as fodder for alcohol prohibition rhetoric.

1) Premise 1: Any advantage a) intentionally sought & b) obtained through effort jeopardizes fairness. Premise 2: If fairness is not maintained in as many way as possible, cheating occurs. Conclusion: Since steroids offer an advantage that is intentionally sought, obtained through personal effort, & creates an unfair playing field, steroids are cheating. This assumption is both incorrect & problematic. If cheating is defined as rule breaking & taking certain drugs violate the rules, than taking said drugs is by definition cheating. That has done nothing to prove a “moral” violation apart from the rule itself. If everyone is using performance enhancing drugs, then it is “fair” (in the sense of equal for everyone) to use them. In fact, that’s how the Olympic athletes worldwide reasoned in the 1950s. What about those who can’t afford to obtain said drugs? Pose that same question to those who can’t afford to go to the best gyms, get the best coaches, etc.

Some athletes have a natural advantage. We know that differences in concentrations of certain neurotransmitters, hormones, red blood cell count, glycogen amount, muscle size, & key enzymes can affect performance. So, we’ll allow those naturally endowed with more muscle mass, endurance, energy production, etc. to perform unharassed against those with lower natural amounts (& whose performance correlates to said differences)? If we wanted true “chemical” fairness & physiological equivalence, we’d isolate key hormones, neurotransmitters, etc. to focus on & manipulate each athlete’s to reasonably equivalent levels.

A more likely problem occurs when those who have a natural need for certain medications, such as thyroid replacement or exogenous insulin, discover that they can slightly amp their performance by increasing their dosages beyond their physiological need. Weighlifters found that out through diabetic bodybuilders. Trouble is, diabetics use varying amounts of insulin, such that there is no universal standard amount of insulin needed to shuttle away a certain amount of carbs (as opposed to testosterone, wherein a blood test would reveal supraphysiological levels). Furthermore, would we simply limit how many carbs that athlete could take (& thereby risk hypoglycemia)?

The person could also use *doctor prescribed medication* in dosages to maintain hormone levels (or energy levels) in the upper normal physiological range. An athlete might have a prescription med for ADD/ADHD & take slightly more Ritalin than he needs. Or take an antidepressant in a similar fashion. That can & will grant a performance advantage.

2) The government could choose *not* to pay for said stadia. Moreover, alcohol is sold there, & alcohol contributes to the death of 75,000 Americans per year (74,497 more deaths than steroids per year). Alcohol is involved in both physical problems to the individual as well as deaths due to impairment & violence. Assuming that “Roid Rage” does occur, wherein steroids cause/contribute to hurting someone else, one likely explanation is taking dosages that are too high that convert to too much estrogen. Thing is, alcohol affects estrogen metabolism too, so alcohol seems to contribute to problems in at least one of the same ways. Let Congress be consistent & take into account the one that does more damage first.

3) The DEA could choose *not* to regulate these performance enhancing drugs in the way that it does. The American Medical Association did not consider steroids to cause the narcotic-like effects of many other drugs in the Schedule III category & notified Congress of this prior to the passing of the Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990. It is good to know that our medical professionals are concerned in light of the risks of controlled substances, but that does not suggest the dangers of each scheduled drug in the same category is equivalent. Many modern medical professionals depend on unreliable information about steroids, thus worrying unnecessarily. As an example, consider Dr. Huggins report in the 1940s about orchiectomy & regression of prostatic enlargement/prostate cancer. Doctors have continued to believe testosterone is strongly involved in prostate cancer despite an abundance of recent studies demonstrating the contrary (& implicating estradiol, another hormone made within the testes & other places, instead).

4) The supply networks operate outside of the law because of the law. If anything, this is a good reason to evaluate legalizing steroids so as to avoid the dangers of people turning to a black market to buy products of dubious quality & safety. Additionally, many fear telling their doctors they are taking an illegal substance. At least they would get the blood work they need, rather than concealing their usage due to fear of prosecution arising from a confession to using an *illegal* substance.

The black market exists because 1) demand is there & 2) the law prohibits what people desire. Many pharmaceutical companies that produced anabolic steroids fled to other countries because of American anti-steroid policy. If it was legal to access them without being hypogonadal, more pharmaceutical companies would arise in America to keep up with American demand. Then we could ensure good quality control.

5) The dangers of using PEDs cannot be made with a blanket statement, as usage protocol is not the same for everyone involved. Some stay on them for a while; some use them intermittently. Many of the dangers can be controlled by simple strategies like reducing dosage, changing the mode of administration (oral to injection), giving blood, cycling (as opposed to staying on something indefinitely), etc.
One veiled allusion to pro wrestler Chris Benoit is not sufficient to warn of the danger of steroids nor isolate steroids as the particular cause.

The current medical paradigm for aging is a disease-oriented, not wellness-oriented. It often employs piecemeal therapy when hormone replacement would be more beneficial (for men, at least- consider how many men have total testosterone levels below 300). Surgery, emergency treatment, & repair is more costly than preventing health problems via HRT or other means.

Any substance that causes a person to feel better can be addictive. Total cost for testosterone injections for a year of hormone replacement therapy is far less than the costs for daily consumption of alcohol or cigarettes for a year. For many steroid users, they spend less on a year’s worth of steroids than an alcoholic or addicted smoker. Often, they also make better health decisions in other regards while seeking to gain muscle, minimize the workload of their livers, & improve fitness level.

Plus, dependence is not the same as addiction. 85% of steroid users are gym rats, not pro athletes. Many of these men hold normal jobs, raise decent families, etc. They are functional in their working/social activities. Can the same level of social functionality be said about cocaine & narcotics users?

Men, women, transsexuals, & those with body dysmorphic disorder have access to cosmetic procedures that are not necessary to life (unless one considers body dysmorphic disorder as a risk for suicide, which it can be). Surgery for silicone implants & the implants themselves present real risks. We allow cosmetic “enhancements” in so many regards, so why do we think steroids are more dangerous when we don’t have the statistics to conclude that?

Since “roid rage” aggressiveness may occur in about 5% of guys using doses that are too high, the aggressiveness is not the source of legal woe. The greatest legal problems related to steroid users are asset forfeiture laws, a criminal record hindering employment, & other means our legal system utilizes to demonize them.

6) I agree that a public position inevitably entails responsibility. Let that same standard reign among politicians, doctors, actors, musicians, teachers, & other role models. Focusing on one group more than others creates the false illusion that cheating is more common in one group/category of individuals than others. This phenomenon initially occurred prior to the Balco scandal, when reports focused mostly on foreign athletes using drugs & Americans concluded that such activity didn’t happen as much here.

7) One could just as easily assert that the congressional hearings in 2005, which spent 8 days discussing steroids- more time than the war in Iraq, health care, or the floods in New Orleans- indicates an unwillingness to confront the other issues with as much seriousness. It’s easy to oppose steroids & garnish public support due to the current opposition by the majority, whereas the other decisions would inevitably require polarizing many voters whose lives would be negatively affected by some cut in federal spending.

In summary, steroid usage in sports is not a congressional issue. Let the sports industries ban steroids & create better tests if they desire. We don’t need laws which penalize individuals unaffiliated with professional sports in order to discourage athletes. We could have distinct sports organizations for both “natural” & “chemically enhanced” athletes. We can protect children from access by restricting steroids to those who are over 18, unless they have a prescription. We don’t need strict laws to substitute for good parental oversight.

Jeremy wasted my time with this crap:

...If cheating is defined as rule breaking & taking certain drugs violate the rules, than taking said drugs is by definition cheating. That has done nothing to prove a “moral” violation apart from the rule itself. If everyone is using performance enhancing drugs, then it is “fair” (in the sense of equal for everyone) to use them...


I now waste your time with this:

If "playing by the rules" has no "moral" value for you, then you're right. It's just a violation of the rule itself. However, your 'morals' suck. :)

If you read the definition of fair (it's a long one), it includes this:
"conforming with the established rules"

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fair


To my surprise, however, I agree with Jeremy's conclusion:

"In summary, steroid usage in sports is not a congressional issue. Let the sports industries ban steroids & create better tests if they desire..."

Jeremy

I'm sorry I didn't communicate my point more clearly. I was insinuating that your defining of terms illogically slants the argument in your favor without attending to the real issues. You didn't address the logical problems attending to the notion of fairness & its extent.

I grant one definition of fairness as "corresponding to the established rules". However, it isn't the only meaning people have in mind, nor the ultimate issue. When the WADA exerted selective disqualification of athletes using PEDs during the 1988 Olympics in Seoul Korea, athletes & others protested the "unfairness" (inequality of enforcement, & thus, injustice) of the rules. Both definitions of fairness (justice & equality) need to be dealt with, as both issues intersect upon this sports issue.

Laws & rules change- often corresponding to the number of people honest about what they really do. If morals are determined by laws & rules, morals can change. Should the laws/rules change, you would have little left to support your position, based on the arguments you've advanced so far. Pointing to existing laws & assuming they are the best strategy because they're the current strategy is not a thorough evaluation.

Jeremy continues putting words together without regard for facts.

"When the WADA exerted selective disqualification of athletes using PEDs during the 1988 Olympics in Seoul Korea..."


As you can see here, WADA was founded in 1999:
http://www.wada-ama.org/en/dynamic.ch2?pageCategory.id=253


Strangely, although I can only shake my head at a lot of what Jeremy writes, I still agree with his bottom line - "...steroid usage in sports is not a congressional issue...".

Jeremy

I'm glad you're coming to my conclusion :-)

Facts are important, & I regret that I confused the WADA with the anti doping activities of the US Olympic Committee prior to the formation of WADA. The *fact* of exemptions granted to US athletes using PEDs in preparation for the 1988 Olympic Games remains.

You focus on my typological or slight technical errors, equating it to "putting words together without regard to facts", yet your post has minimal statistics or records & lacks consistent logical argumentation. Perhaps I need an asterisk preceding each fact to make sure it's obvious. As dangerous as you try to portray steroids, shouldn't you compare them to the dangers of other drugs, legal & illegal? *FACT* 7,000 American kids under the age of 11 are admitted to hospital emergency rooms due to cold & cough medications (http://www.cdc.gov/Features/PediatricColdMeds/). *FACT* The dangers are often dose-dependent. It's the same with lots of other drugs/medications, including steroids. *FACT* Some of the same chemicals used in decongestants like pseudoephedrine are also employed by athletes precisely for their stimulant effect. *FACT* Pseudoephedrine does not pose the same risk for adults as it does for children, yet it still carries risks.
*FACT* The US did not take as severe measures toward pseudoephedrine as they did toward steroids until 2005 when Congress recognized the role of the drug in the production of methamphetamine. *FACT* "Behind the counter" restrictions of pseudoephedrine is not equivalent to schedule III restricted drug status.

You & others have failed to document *the* singular reason or cluster of reasons that justify the stringency of the Anabolic Steroid Control Act (or tighter laws by extension) over that of many other drugs which are not controlled substances.

Jeremy

Correction: 7,000 kids admitted to the emergency room each year.

Jim

The only one here who thought this was a good use of taxpayer money was trackmom, that figures. It should be obvious to the author of this garbage that America is feed up with congressional side shows. With almost one in 6 working Americans not finding full employment the author tries to justify spending money on Congressional hearings for this garbage. Jermey do you really not understand the issues the American people face and how tired they are of these waste of money issues? Wake up, look around you, is this investigation really in the best interest in a country hurting for jobs, healthcare and a declining standard of living? Oh your right steroid use should get priority! Jermey and Marie Antonie Net said "Let them eat cake."Now I understand why people got beheaded.

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