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The State of Doping in Sports in 2018

One of the most disconcerting trends in modern sports is a large number of big-name athletes joining an ever-growing group of professionals who are under official scrutiny for doping. Some would argue that the same determination and ambition that makes athletes excel is also the driving force behind them turning to the dark side of doping. However, the use of drugs to gain advantage and enhance performance is unethical and should be shunned. Since the inception of sports, there has existed a subgroup of individuals willing to cut corners and unfairly emerge victoriously; this is just an unfortunate truth of human nature; for this reason, sporting organizations and regulatory agencies have worked hard and diligently to strictly monitor and regulate the use of banned substances for decades.

The first cases of doping occurred in conjunction with the earliest competitive activities. Some believe that the mythological Viking berserkers who ingested psychoactive concoctions to gain physical power were doping. Indeed, doping has been around since the first Olympics, when ancient Roman citizens would drink herbal infusions meant to enhance their performance and heighten their senses. The seventeenth century saw doping, as did the eighteenth century. It is widely known that physicians started formulating performance-enhancing drugs meant to give athletes an edge around the mid nineteen fifties and by then athletes were already dying from the adverse side effects.

Modern-day doping

The prevalence of doping in sports is of extreme importance for all those involved, particularly for the development of more effective anti-doping methods. The modern era of anti-doping regulation began in the nineteen sixties with the advent of the International Committee Medical Commission; however, it wasn’t until the mid-seventies to mid-eighties that the cornerstones of modern-day anti-doping policy began to take shape. It was this point that a standardized procedure for testing, the establishment of a list of banned substances, the accreditation of control laboratories, and the introduction of blood sampling. By the nineteen-nineties, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had been organized.

Thanks to the effort of regulating bodies we can now estimate that a concerning percentage of athletes are knowingly participating in illegal performance-enhancing behaviors. Although the exact extent of doping is still unknown, the most accurate measurements place this number near the thirty percent mark. The limits of pharmacological science and the emergence of ever more complex and challenging methods to detect drugs have stunted a more accurate measure.

Clean and fair

We have to keep in mind that Anti-Doping efforts are not all about equality of opportunity and fairness in sports, there are also various health risks associated with performance-enhancing drugs. Performance enhancing drugs can drastically alter the human biology, and thus the potential side effects can be severe. Liver damage, hypertension, anemia, heart attacks, strokes, and death are all possible side effects of doping. Given this, it is crucial to be on the constant lookout for products committed to the anti-doping cause.  Another important element to consider is in impact or combat sports where an artificially enhanced athlete can physically hurt another athlete by having a performance advantage.  

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