The effects of steroids on muscle development
The effects of steroids on muscle development
Gold Medalist Marion Jones
Gold Medalist Marion Jones
Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds


What are steroids?

Steroids are anabolic drugs and corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are often prescribed by doctors to control bodily inflammation, and are not the same as anabolic drugs used by some athletes. Anabolic steroids minimize muscle breakdown during exercise and promote muscle build-up. Without medical prescription, these drugs are illegal in the United States.
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What do steroids do?

Anabolic steroids chemically resemble the naturally-occurring male sex hormone testosterone. Testosterone is responsible for large muscle mass, for voice depth and for many aspects of puberty, especially in men. Taking anabolic steroids magnifies these effects, particularly stimulating muscle tissue to grow larger and stronger.

Why not use steroids?

The use of anabolic steroids is illegal. However, steroids also jeopardize your health in the long run. Steroids lead to reproductive malfunctions in both men and women. In teenagers, steroids can stunt growth and development. Steroids can cause liver tumors, abnormally large heart muscle, and blood lipid changes that lead to heart disease. Extended steroid usage can also cause severe acne, irreversible stretch marks, and muscle aches. In men, steroid use can abnormally increase breast development and chance of baldness. In women, steroids yield facial hair, male pattern baldness and a deepening of the voice. Although they may temporarily improve athletic performance, in the long run, steroids are detrimental to your health.


Why do people use steroids?

In America and in many countries, we value competition. From a young age we witness everything being turned into a competition, and we, in turn, continue this practice. An athlete's motivation either comes from their devotion to the values of competition or their desire for the award. Many athletes pay a heavy price to achieve their goals in competition. Some feel they have no option but to resort to steroids because they are putting all their work on the line. Athletes feel the need to be first in their sport because "after all, nobody remembers number two."

Arguments against the use of steroids:

  • The use of steroids in sports is unnatural; therefore steroid use should be prohibited
  • Steroid users may have an unfair advantage over other athletes
  • The use of anabolic steroids causes harm; therefore, use of anabolic steroids ought to be prohibited
  • Some newer steroids have unknown effects
  • The best athlete could be the one "with the best chemist" (Russell Langley of UK Sport)
  • People can achieve full potential without using steroids
  • Steroids allows people who use them to win competitions without developing to their full potential

Arguments for the use of steroids:

  • Most equipment is unnatural in sports which is not banned and steroids are made from natural hormones
  • Relaxed doping rules would be fairer-right now cheaters are often rewarded
  • Its not considered "unfair" for some athletes to have better equipment then others because of financial circumstances
  • Sports themselves are dangerous and risky so is the harm from use of anabolic steroids worse than the harm from simply participating in these sports?
  • Athletes still have to work extremely hard while using steroids to win competitions
  • Race to find undetectable steroids would end
  • Only 10-15% of athletes are tested so it would be fairer if steroids were allowed

Efforts on both sides of the argument are aimed at leveling the playing field in sports.

  • In the United States, anabolic steroids are currently listed as "Schedule III" controlled substances
  • If someone is found to possess these without a prescription, they could be subject to seven years in prison
  • Anabolic Steroid Act of 1990, Steroids were added to the Controlled Substances Act after a controversy in the 1988 Olympics.
  • Anabolic Steroid Act of 2004, pro-hormones were also added to the list of Controlled Substances.
  • In 2007, the Drug Enforcement Administration finished an 18-month steroid use investigation, called "Operation Raw Deal"
    • 124 people were arrested
    • 25 companies were found to produce materials that are used in steroids
    • Many other international countries contributed to this investigation
  • Use of steroids is banned in all major sports, including the Olympics, NBA, NHL & NFL.
  • Many athlete's have been caught using steroid, especially recently
  • Aside from pharmaceutical production, distribution and usage, steroids are illegal


Questions for discussion:
1. Do you think steroids and performance enhancing drugs should be allowed in sports? why?
2. If you think that they should be allowed do you believe in the restriction of some steroids? (tests to have more dangerous ones restricted or to make safer ones)
3. Do you think that steroids should be allowed in all sports or only in a select few?
4. If steroids are used for medical purposes than why can't they be used to enhance an athlete's performance?
5. Do you think that the arguments for the use of steroids outweigh the risks to health?
6. If you think that steroids should be allowed in sports than do you think there should be an age restriction? Should they be allowed in high school or even middle school sports?
7. Should sports be responsible for the health of their athletes and ban steroids because of the risks to health or the risks to fairness?
8. Should athletes involved in relays be stripped of their medals if one of the team members is proved to have used steroids (marion Jones)?
9. Do you agree with the consequences right now?

Web Evaluations

WebsiteURL: [[|</span</span]]>

Reviewer: Liz

Date of Review: May 20, 2008

Review of Site: “Steroids” by Steven Dowshen, MD, discusses common steroids, the differences between legal and illegal steroids, and the medical consequences of steroid use. The article was written in March 2007. Although the information presented inevitably leads the reader to recognize the negative aspects of performance enhancing drugs, all the information itself is unbiased. The article is intended strictly to inform the reader of performance enhancement drug consequences, and is an in-depth analysis of steroid dangers.

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Reviewer: Susie

Date of Review: May 21, 2008

Review of Site: is a website that informs people of the dangers and affects of steroid abuse. Specifically, the article “Anabolic Steroid Abuse” by Nora D. Volkow tells of the dangers of steroid use. This website is government based, and seems accurate and objective – a reliable source if looking for information about steroids and performance-enhancing drugs. The article is cited with other reliable (appearing) sources, and there are links to the organization NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse).

Website URL: [[|<span]] Reviewer: Katie

Date of Review: May 27, 2008

Review of Site: The Truth About Steroids And Sports is a CNN article written by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. It was written Feb. 3, 2008. This article takes both sides of the issue of Steroids in a brief overview. I would recommend this website because it is very informative using multiple sources including interviews

Website URL: ****

Reviewer: Kelly

Date of Review: May 27, 2008

Review of Site: MSN UK news editor Tom Reed wrote a special report called "Drugs in Sport". It doesn't say when the article was written or last updated, but there are statistics from 2005. This article uses Professors like Professor Julian Savulescu and athletes to argue the sides of the issue of steroids in sports and the decisions on them that should be made. This website seems like an accurate and unbiased one because it aims to put out the points of view and let readers vote on the issue. It informs readers on statistics and points of view. It is an in depth analysis of each side of the issue by all kinds of people. I would recommend this website.