Steroids and Performance Enhancing Drugs

Period 2

Documentary about the "joke of the body building industry" Gregg Valentino who's bicep exploded

Some Basic Facts:

  • Anabolic steroids are man-made substances related to male sex hormones. Medical uses of anabolic steroids include some hormone problems in men, late puberty and muscle loss from some diseases.
  • Bodybuilders and athletes often use anabolic steroids to build muscles and improve athletic performance. But using them this way is not legal or safe. Abuse of anabolic steroids has been linked with many health problems. They range from unattractive to life threatening and include
      • Acne and cysts
      • Breast growth and shrinking of testicles in men
      • Voice deepening and growth of body hair in women
      • Heart problems, including heart attack
      • Liver disease, including cancer
      • Aggressive behavior

There's another type of steroid - sometimes called a corticosteroid - that treats a variety of problems. These steroids are similar to hormones that your adrenal glands produce to fight stress associated with illnesses and injuries. They reduce inflammation and affect the immune system.
You may need to take corticosteroids to treat
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis
  • Skin conditions such as eczema and rashes
  • Some kinds of cancer
Steroids are strong medicines, and they can have side effects, including weakened bones and cataracts. Because of this, you usually take them for as short a period as possible. (From )
A younger Bonds vs. an older Bonds

Why/How Steroids Work:

Anabolic steroids work by stimulating the anabolic effect by binding or plugging into protein receptors in or on the cells that help create new proteins in the cells. This increased biological activity is called an increase in Ribonucleic Acid Activity (RNA Activity). The construction of new proteins helps increase muscle size and strength. Remember, this normally happens in the body. The steroids stimulate or increase this biological process by binding to the receptor sites on the protein cells. (From )
"Ruth did it on hotdogs & Beer"
"Ruth did it on hotdogs & Beer"


On February 27, 1991 the federal law placed anabolic steroids in Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The possession or sale of anabolic steroids without a valid prescription is illegal. Some states have also implemented additional fines and pentalies for the use of steroids.for example Virginia has made it leagal for schools to test for steroids as a legitimate drug prevention program The International Olympic Committee, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and many professional sports leagues (e.g. Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Football League (NFL), and National Hockey League) have banned the use of steroids. These leagues use urine samples to detect steroid use. (From

Possesion of illegal anabolic steroids has a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a minimum $1,000 fine.
Traffiking illegal steroids has a maximum pentaly of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000

Should they be allowed?


  • Steroids provide an unfair advantage, ruining the competitive nature of the game, and destroying the basic integrity of the game.
  • Allow athletes to train harder and recover faster, giving them a competitive edge.
  • Extremely detrimental to the athletes and their health. Health risks are extremely high.
  • Turns sports into a game of cheating and beating the system, not the opponent.
    • Whoever is the best at doping wins.
  • Bad image:
    • Children should not see their heroes doing drugs.
    • Children should not see their favorite athletes being rewarded for cheating and scamming the system.
    • Taints the image of the sport, ruins both the athletes who are clean and the athletes who cheat.
      • Professional Cycling
  • Beauty of the game is destroyed, no longer are spectators seeing an amazing, natural performance, but one that is artificially created.


  • Steroid side effects are blown out of proportion. Some claim there is little evidence that the drugs can be linked to heart disease, cancer, or aggression, therefore, Steroids pose no health risk to the athletes.
  • Steroids, in baseball, do not have a negative effect because the muscles stimulated by the drugs do not help the athletes to hit home runs.
  • Steroids are just leveling the natural playing field. They do not make it unfair, but actually bring the games to a closer level.
    • "Cosmetic surgery is not "earned" beauty, but then natural beauty isn't earned, either. One of the principal contributions of the late twentieth century was the moral deregulation of social competition—the insistence that advantages derived from artificial and extraordinary intervention are no less legitimate than the advantages of nature. All that athletes want, for better or worse, is the chance to play by those same rules." -Malcolm Gladwell
  • Fans pay good money to see athletes perform. Therefore, they should see the athletes at their absolute best performance, even if it means the athlete should take steroids.
    • "If I pay $60 to hear Stern (famous musician) and learn his tone was not up to par because he was too lazy to bring his own violin and borrowed a $50 one from a high school kid, I justifiably want my money back. What care I that he usually plays upon a $200,000 instrument? I am not bothered by this; I want his very best. Likewise, I want the very best an athlete can give me. I don't want to watch athletes who could have done better if only they had used steroids" -Sidney Gendin
  • Raise the effort and ability of play, making for a more entertaining event. (Bigger Hits, More Home runs, Faster times, etc), not really a risk to the athlete since the steriods are not as harmful as people think.

Steroids Much?

Some Questions for Discussion:

  • Do athletes have the right to use anabolic steroids to enhance their performance?
  • Are steroids sometimes necessary in athletic competition?
  • If steroids didn’t have a risk of side effects (such as heart attack, aggression, acne, etc.) would we feel differently about them? Would we want them made legal?
  • What impact do you think people’s opinion on the use of steroids has on athletes?
  • Should only some types of athletes be allowed to use steroids, or should they be available to all types?
    • I.e. Bodybuilders using them to build up their muscles vs. a baseball player gaining an “unfair” advantage over other players by enhancing his performance with anabolic steroids. Who has the right to use steroids? Do either of them?
  • What about steroids used for medical purposes? If a doctor can prescribe steroids to assist a patient, should athletes be allowed to use them to assist their performance in competition?


Date of Review: May 20, 2008
Reviewer: Jeff

Review of Site:

The Author of the website is the National Institute of Drug Abuse. The site was last revise in March 2007. The article appears to impartial, it is hosted by a national institute and therefore is not taking sides. The content however is a brief analysis of the topic. The purpose of the website is primarily to inform and give a brief overview of the topic. This website, being a government sponsored site, would probably be acceptable for use. It provides a nice overview on the topic.


Date of Review: May 20, 2008
Reviewer: Zach R.

Review of Site:

The institution responsible for my site is MedlinePlus. The page was last updated on May 4, 2008 and was last reviewed on February 21, 2008. It is a brief overview with no biased positions or views. The purpose of the information is to inform the reader a little bit about steroids and their effects. I would recommend this site because it has many links that lead to other pages with more in depth information about steroids their effects.

Website URL:
Name of Reviewer: Chris

Date of Review: 5/20/08

Review of Site:

The author of the site is the office of National Drug control Policy. The web site was last revised on December 18, 2007.This article does not contain any bias. The purpose of the article is to give a brief overview of steroids and its effects on the human body. I would recommend this web site to others interested in my topic because it is a government sponsored site and the information on it seems to be researched and correct.

Website URL:
Name of Reviewer: Shannon
Date of Review: 5/20/08

Review of Site:

This article, “A Shot in the Rear: Why Are We Really Against Steroids?” was written by Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., on Thursday, March 13. 2008. This article has a biased point of view and, although it provides some negatives of steroids, tries to make its reader question why steroids are viewed so negatively. The article gives an in-depth analysis of steroids in competition and some athletes that have claimed using them. Its purpose is to inform its reader on some cases of steroid use, but also to persuade the reader that sometimes the use of steroids is necessary in competition.