What are the advantages and disadvantages of taking drugs in sports?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I assume that this question refers to performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), not to “recreational” drugs such as marijuana and cocaine.   PEDs have many short-term advantages even if they do have potential long-term disadvantages.

PEDs are called “performance-enhancing” for a reason; they help athletes to perform better.  They help athletes get stronger.  They help them train harder because they allow the body to recover more quickly and efficiently after a workout.  They can help athletes heal more quickly after injury.  Certain kinds of PEDs can improve reaction times and concentration.  The act of taking the drugs may give the athletes a psychological advantage that adds to whatever physical advantages they gain from taking the drugs.  When athletes take drugs, they are likely to perform better than they would without the drugs.  This is a huge advantage to taking drugs if you are a competitive athlete.

The disadvantages of PEDs are more long-term or more uncertain.  Some athletes may get caught using PEDs.  They can be barred from competitions.  Like Lance Armstrong, they can have their titles taken away.  They can have their reputation as a great champion destroyed.  Physically, there are also problems that can arise from excessive use of some PEDs.  Of course, these are problems that might not happen or which will only happen in the future.  Because of the contrast between the short-term, certain benefits and the long-term, uncertain disadvantages, some athletes choose to use these drugs.

wildingph | Student

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thewanderlust878 | Student

Obviously, the immediate advantage is improved playing, which includes faster reaction time, the ability to life more weights (to become stronger) have better endurance and speed, and sometimes even give the user a sense of false invincibility. With all of these great advantages, it's no wonder many athletes across all sports have taken drugs to improve their playing. 

The biggest health disadvantage would be that over a long period of time of using drugs, your body begins to die. Your brain and brain cells begin to die, and many of your organs begin to stop working properly until you eventually pass away if you use drugs excessively.