Should performance-enhancing drugs be legalized?
The use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in sports, also known as doping substances, can be traced back to the first Olympic games in Greece (Wada, 2010). This illegal practice, which was then perceived as part of the sport, is now regarded as a serious offence. Just recently in 2012, the court of arbitration (CAS) banned Jan Ulrich, a German cyclist, for a period of two years for using PEDs (CAS, 2012). Even more recently another cyclist icon Lance Armstrong, received a lifetime ban this time by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, in its persistent fight against PEDs (USADA, 2012). Today athletes are subject to incessant drugs tests all year round and just in 2012 the USADA performed 8,490 tests more than half of which were out of competition (USADA, 2012b). The fact of the matter is that, many substances banned by the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) have no reason to be banned, for they are produced naturally by the human body e.g. the human growth hormone, whose levels can decrease (Molitch et al., 2011). In addition, the fight against drugs in sports is vain, as drug testing cannot keep up with all the different types of doping substances and methods (B. Foddy, J. Savulescu, 2007). For instance EPO, a hormone that stimulates blood cell production, was banned in early 1990s but was only able to be detected from the year 2000 (WADA, 2011). Nowadays, athletes who use PEDS outnumber those who do not, which means that there is no fair play in sports (Goldstein, 1990). For these reasons the use of performance enhancing drugs in sports should be legalized.
To begin with, the World Anti-Doping Agency has banned a number of substances, such as the human growth hormone (HGH), which are secreted naturally by our bodies. However, because of our human condition there can be deficiencies of this hormone that need to be regulated. Indeed, it has been proven that an adult weighing 175Lbs with growth hormone deficiency can lose approximately 8% of his lean body mass (Carroll et al., 1998). The injection of this hormone would simply make up for an essential regulatory substance that decreases for various reasons one of which is injuries. Indeed, HGH deficiency in adults can be cause by “structural lesions and trauma”(Molitch et al., 2011). Considering that sportsmen and sportswomen are likely to get injured a number of times throughout their career, there is no doubt athletes are subject to this deficiency far more often than the average man.
In addition, the policies enforced by the WADA to fight doping are not only expensive, 2013 ‘s budget was 23 millions, but they are extremely inefficient as newer doping methods emerge continually leaving this anti-doping agency a step behind each time (Foddy, B. & Savulescu, J., 2007). In 2012, through the US anti-doping agency itself, we learned that Lance Armstrong used EPO from 1998 until the end of his career but went undetected for more than ten years...