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    Thread: Wake up and smell the steroids

    1. #1
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      Wake up and smell the steroids

      April 4, 2017

      Wake up and smell the steroids




      Doping is far more widespread than many might think, particularly among amateur athletes and even school-aged non-athletes



      Many of you will be aware of the current controversies surrounding the cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins and his Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford. The general gist seems to be that Wiggins used an industrial strength corticosteroid to treat hay fever shortly before winning the Tour de France.
      The story is made all the more interesting by the revelations that a package of the stuff was flown all the way from the UK despite it being widely available in France, and that the doctor who prescribed the dose has since lost his laptop. The continually brewing storm of Sir Mo Farah’s involvement with coaches and medics who are under investigation for questionable practises also brings the murky world of drugs in elite sport into wider consciousness.
      Whatever about the risks, legalities and morals of such things, it does call into question the British obsession with knighting any sportsperson who wins anything. Giving honours to two members of the most dominant team in the most drug-riddled sport might turn out to be foolish. Similarly loudly criticising the Russian athletics system for drug use whilst knighting your own dominant athlete may result in a biting of your backside down the line.
      But is it just professional sport that has a drug problem? Surely only the elites can afford the stuff, and in a world where results matter more than anything, surely they are the only ones who can afford to take the risk? Definitely not.
      A recent BBC poll on drug use in amateur sports found that 35 percent of amateur sportspeople know somebody who has doped and that 8 percent admitted to having taken steroids.
      What surprised me most was that half of the respondents thought performance-enhancing drugs were easily available. I say these figures are surprising, not because they are so high, but because I believe they are quite low.

      If you want performance enhancing drugs, they are easy to find. The 50 percent of people who disagreed with that statement have their heads in the sand. Type ‘buy steroids Ireland’ into Google and see what comes up. Heck, 60,000 vials of steroids and human growth hormone were confiscated in Donegal a couple of weeks ago!

      Personally, I have seen clear instances of drug use and would be confident of numerous others. Some of these have been school-aged non-athletes, neither elite nor professional. Others were on the cusp of the big time – people who needed to gain weight to crack the pro ranks. Add to this the overuse of inhalers, painkilling injections pre-match, stimulants before going to the gym – all of which are at least restricted – and you quickly see how widespread the problem is.

      The BBC’s poll revealed some more interesting things: half of the amateurs who admitted to using banned substances did so for pain relief and 43 percent for injury recovery, whereas only 25 percent do so for ‘performance enhancement’. By definition, significant pain relief and faster injury recovery are performance enhancement, so those folks are either lying or misguided.

      Also interesting is that 17 percent have used substances for bodily appearance alone, suggesting that those people may not be competing and thus don’t have to submit to testing. However, it also points to wider issues around self-image and the obsession with appearance.
      Is there a simple answer? Should we drug test amateurs? Is the current level of education surrounding the dangers of some of these substances good enough? The short answer to all of the above is ‘probably not’. All forms of illegal drug use are complicated, and testing everyone, everywhere is nigh-on impossible.

      That said, maybe targeted testing should be done; athletes whose results improve beyond what might be expected physiologically could be tested. As far as education goes, perhaps more nuance is needed; typically education around such matters could be summed up as ‘drugs are bad, okay’. Why not tell guys that steroid abuse can lead to erectile dysfunction? My guess is that would get more attention!

      For now, all we can do is sit back and watch some very famous cyclists and athletes squirm and avoid answering questions and wonder whether any of the fairy stories we’ve ever been told are true, or whether the journalists asking the questions are just wolves with big, bad teeth.
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      Good read. Real education is the answer for most anything. Just very hard to come by with all the bullshit (half truths and flat out agenda driven lies) that must be sifted through.

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