Drugs in Sports Tidbits

Androgen Receptors

Former anabolic steroid users have more androgen receptors than untrained individuals and drug free powerlifters. Powerlifters have more androgen receptors than the untrained individuals (Kadi 2000).


Physical Culture Examples

Meaning of Natural

Before the 1960s, "Natural" used to refer to someone who did not train with weights, but appeared athletic. After the 1960s, "Natural" slowly began to take on a different meaning.

Arnold's Account

All I needed to know was that the top international champions were taking steroids, something I confirmed by asking the guys in London. I would not go into a competition with a disadvantage. "Leave no stone unturned" was my rule. And while mere wasn't any evidence of danger - research into steroids' side effects was only getting underway - even if there had been, I'm not sure I would have cared. Downhill ski champions and Formula One race drivers know they can get killed, but they compete anyway. Because if you don't get killed, you win. Besides, I was twenty years old, and I thought I would never die.

Schwarzenegger A (2012). Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story. Thorndike Pr, 87.

Sports Publications' Non-disclosure Motivated by Advertisement Revenues

Bodybuilding and sports magazine publishers have much to gain by not openly reporting the widespread use of drugs in the sports in which they cover. Publishers, in particular, stand to gain when their readers buy into the idea that they too can be like the champions that are presented in their publications; if only they work hard enough, follow these champions' programs outlined in publishers' articles, and purchase the nutritional supplements, equipment, etc. as mentioned in the articles and shown in the accompanying advertisements. The ads for these products are typically either presented with scientific studies taken out of context or an impressive looking model or champion compensated for their endorsement. The message is basically, "You too can be like these champions if you continue to (A) work hard enough and (B) buy XY&Z". After spending years of hard training, aspiring athletes in certain sports are often faced with a difficult (or not so difficult) decision when they realize the hard truth of the widespread use of sports enhancing drugs in their chosen sport.

Honest Dialog about Drugs in Sports

Talking honestly to an aspiring athlete about drugs in sports is quite difficult and can even be considered taboo. Without this discussion, an athlete is left buying into the idea that they can achieve the same accomplishments as those highest in the sport who covertly use drugs. Society and the media propitiate these misconceived notions that anyone can be a champion with mere hard work and dedication.

Presenting only a single-sided anti-drug propaganda message does not appear to be effective in reducing the use of drugs and risks the credibility of the presenter and who they represent in the eyes of the aspiring athlete. This lack of trust alienates authority; thereby severely reducing the likelihood the athlete would ever reconsider seeking future counseling or assistance from these people in the future.

Also see Problems with Current Information on Anabolic Steroids.


Acetaminophen is the leading cause of sudden liver failure. Over 600 over the counter medications contain Acetaminophen. Overdoses account for over 50,000 emergency room visits and more than 450 deaths each year. As little as few weeks of taking 8 pills (4000 mg) a day can cause problems in some people.

Medications and Narcotics that Can Cause Muscle Weakness

  • Amiodarone (Cordarone)
  • Antithyroid agents: methimazole (Tapazole); propylthiouracil
  • Antiretroviral medications: zidovudine (Retrovir); lamivudine (Epivir)
  • Chemotherapeutic agents
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Cocaine
  • Corticosteroids
  • Fibric acid derivatives: gemfibrozil (Lopid)
  • Interferon
  • Leuprolide acetate (Lupron)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Penicillin
  • Sulfonamides
  • Statins

Bannwarth B (2002). Drug-induced myopathies. Expert Opin Drug Saf. 1:65–70.

Ferri FF (2000). Ferri’s Clinical advisor: instant diagnosis and treatment. Mosby.

Sociology of Drugs

Drugs can pass through several levels of use and social acceptance.

  1. Benefits and miracles of new drug spread
  2. Possible harmful effects and cases of abuse are discovered and reported
  3. Propaganda: demonized through misinformation and half truths
  4. Drug becomes illicit or controlled by governmental regulations
    • Use and/or possession of drug becomes a crime
  5. Black market
    • Drug is obtained and used covertly
    • Drug is manufactured with no governmental regulation
      • Counterfeiting and use of potentially more dangerous substances or manufacturing practices
    • Social deviant involvement
  6. Renaissance
    • social and political stigma clears
    • possible benefits and potential harmful effects are seen more objectively
    • other applications are found or rediscovered
  7. Social Acceptance

Videos on Drug Politics

Propaganda Campaigns

Propaganda campaigns have demonized drugs such as marijuana (eg: 1936 film Reefer Madness) and MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine), also known as Ecstasy with little regard for actual truth. See ABC News television documentary with Peter Jennings:

Politics of Drugs

Also watch the documentary Burzynski for other political issues in the pharmaceutical industry including the widespread corrupt and unethical practices of the US government involving the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), National Cancer Institute (NCI), US Patent Office (USPTO), and the National Institute for Health (NIH).

Anabolic Steroids

See National Geographic Channel's Science of Steroids.

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