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Vice Sports article advocating ending ban on PEDs

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by JauntyAngle, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. JauntyAngle

    JauntyAngle International man of mystery

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    Most interesting thing I have read on the topic for a long time.

    https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/the-drugs-won-the-case-for-ending-the-sports-war-on-doping

    It's a long article, well worth reading. Here are some of the key points for those who don't like long articles (I am guessing about 80% of my fine Sherbros):

    • Testing has become a large industry but its budget is small even compared to some of the individual athletes who are tested (e.g. the World Anti-Doping Ag (encyWADA) has an annual budget of $30m), meaning that people are always likely to have the resources to evade
    • Testing has a very low hit rate- in 2012 1% of people checked by WADA-accredit tests tested positive; estimates of athletes using PEDs vary from 45% to 90% in some sports (e.g. cycling)
    • Even very draconian testing regimes don't work; athletes simply have too strong a motivation to take PEDs.
    • While failing to catch that many people using PEDs, they do succeed in massively invading the privacy of athletes (e.g. inspecting their genitals during piss-testing and under some regimes requiring them to register their location and movement plans at all times); authorities also engage in capricious and arbitrary behaviour, e.g. banning athletes for substances with no known performance benefit, or banning for things retrospectively. A male tennis player was banned for excess use of Caffeine (yes) and Maria Sharapova was banned for a heart medication that she had been using for several years, which was outlawed only at the beginning of the year
    • Maintenance of prohibition means that people are relying often on counterfeit drugs, frequently administered by people without full knowledge of them; if not prohibited they could be administered more safely. It also means that we have a very small research base around them; most of what is known about the effect on humans is, the article says, known from studies of bodybuilders (I guess in non-clinical settings), who have probably used massive amounts of different drugs, many of questionable quality, and so may not give much information about what a scientifically administered regimen would do
    • The line between PED and a medical procedure is not clear anyway. Growth hormones may be able to stimulate repair of knee cartilage or ligaments. That can allow someone to perform better, or for longer. Baseball players often get Lasik surgery to give them better vision, which also improves performance.
    • There is a sort of moral argument that PEDs mean people are not competing on a "level playing field". But arguably the playing field is not level anyway: in addition to genetic endowment (yes, it usually makes a big difference but that's another story), there is also the luck involved of being born into a family with an interest in exposing a child to sports, or somewhere there is access to coaches and competition.
    • There is another argument that unlimited use of PEDs creates "artificial men" and that is contrary to the spirit of the sport. The counter-argument suggested in the paper, I think, is that this is going on for so long anyway and the line is blurred.
    • The main concern or remaining argument is that without a ban, there would be a PED "arms race", with people free to take as much of they want, no matter how risky. I guess the main issue here is what is the total amount of harm that would be done, compared to the current prohibition regime.
    That's quite a long tl;dr!
     
  2. pokerandbeer

    pokerandbeer Green Belt

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    interesting read
     
  3. pokerandbeer

    pokerandbeer Green Belt

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    In my opinion the best way to handle this is to simply make everything that is over the counter a legal thing for all sports. However until then regardless of what you take if it is against the rule whether you think it is morally correct to use or not you a freaking cheater if you do take a banned substance.

    Eye surgery and hormones given to give you back a high quality of day to day life is far from taking obscene amounts of testosterone and test derivatives to increase your performance.
     
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  4. jrams

    jrams Red Belt

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    Define "over the counter" as sports become more and more international. Different countries have different laws.
     
  5. JauntyAngle

    JauntyAngle International man of mystery

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    Well, apparently the Lasik they are using takes them above 20/20 vision. In baseball and tennis, vision is one of the most important attributes. The speed of the ball on a pitch or ball is too fast for the batter/receiver to physically respond to: by the time the nervous signal has gone from the eye to the brain and a response is generated, the ball will have gone by. No human can respond in time. So what they do is watch the body and movement of the pitcher and batter, and figure out where the ball is going to go (not consciously, it's more of a habit developed of thousands of hours of practice). It requires both a massive mental database of what different movements mean for where the ball is going to go, and really really good eyesight. That's why a lot of baseball players have density of have cone density in the retina which is pretty much indistinguishable from the genetic limit. The quality of eye sight in pro baseball players is analogous to the number of seven footers in the NBA. There is simply no way that level of freakish genetic endowment could ever be there randomly, it's there because of the massive advantage it confers in the sport.

    Getting eye surgery in baseball, tennis and golf (apparently it's helpful for golf too) is arguably structurally similar to getting the length of your legs surgically enhanced in baseball. Or your hips narrowed for running.

    I don't think that the argument that you are "restoring normal function" holds that much water in this case.

    But it's kind of a side issue... personally I accept, for now, that is a distinction between treatments that restore normal function and treatments that enhance performance. I would like to think about it more and would be willing to consider the arguments more though- I prefer to keep an open mind. And previous experience of human thought over the last 2500 years or so shows that seemingly rock-solid distinction are only rock solid until you think about them.
     
  6. pokerandbeer

    pokerandbeer Green Belt

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    Im strictly referring to the USA. I could care less what other countries do. In specifically the UFC is a USA based company so when they go out of the country for fights the same rules should apply to foreign athletes IMO.
     
  7. ripskater

    ripskater Guest

    I would hate to see PED's be legal. It all trickles down to high school sports and you'd be seeing teenagers using them more often.

    I really hate the idea of legalizing them for sports.
     
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  8. JauntyAngle

    JauntyAngle International man of mystery

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    International sports need a single standard of regulation. Do you not care about tennis, golf, football, strongman, olympic weightlifting, power lifting, any track and field or other athletics events? Pretty much anything that is done in the Olympics? Even hockey needs some level of international agreement since it is so popular in Canada. Effectively liberalizing US regulations when other countries have not would mean US athletes could not compete in any of these sports outside of the US/in international competition. Restricting them relative to other countries would put US athletes at a disadvantage.

    "Not caring what other countries do" = "Not caring about the competitive prospects of international athletes from your own country". If that's your attitude, that's your attitude. But it's surprising.

    Even as far as the MMA goes, it would be had not to have a single standard across the world, as this would then create barriers to movement of fighters between international promotions. It would mean fewer fighters going to the UFC from around the world, and mean that new US-based promotions had a smaller talent pool to draw on.
     
  9. pokerandbeer

    pokerandbeer Green Belt

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    Other countries can and should change their policies though. That why I say I dont care. Look at Russia where athletes have been punished for testing positive and other countries have as well.(including US athletes btw)If not playing in foreign lands forces them to change drug policies I would support that movement all the way. Until then though no I do not care about athletes that are taking steroids to gain an edge which like in the article you posted goes against the spirit of sports competition.
     
  10. pokerandbeer

    pokerandbeer Green Belt

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    Let me add to this. A physical genetic advantage is fair game. WHen you start manipulating the phenotype into something it is obviously not supposed to be to get an edge you are basically playing God. The truth is it isnt a God given right that you will be good at anything in your life. Not sports. Not anything. Whether you believe in a God or not it still applies.

    A PED arms race would be exactly what would occur in all sports and we would begin to see athletes death toll go up and the ability of athletes to live a quality life go down as they age if they arent incapacitated from obscene PED usage.

    Look at Greg Valentino. The man was brought to tears in pursuit of just getting some bigger biceps in an unnatural manner. Now when we start talking MMA, baseball, other sports the consequences are just going to be devastating.
     
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  11. ripskater

    ripskater Guest

    I'd rather see PED's out of the sports. I don't want to see a sports based on who has the best drug program.

    Who has the optimal training protocal? Who has the best nutritional protocol? Who can make their body function the best? Who has the best mental approach to the sport?

    Those things above are what I'd rather see instead of who's the got the best drug program.
     
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  12. DrBdan

    DrBdan Something clever

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    My opinion on this is the same as for recreational drugs. Regardless of how hard you try to prohibit them people will still use them so you should put rules in place that help to increase responsible use and mitigate the harm done. Prohibition has never any done of that, for anything, and also doesn't ensure a level-playing field anyway given how regularly people are caught.
     
  13. ripskater

    ripskater Guest

    I still think legalizing PED's for sports is gonna put it out in the open more. And you'll see younger and younger kids and even more kids using it.

    I hear what you're saying though. It is everywhere.
     
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  14. Oblivian

    Oblivian Aging Platinum Member

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    Legalization will definitely result in more users. I don't think that is the argument here though as we aren't talking about legalization of illegal drugs, but not testing for it. Also, are high school athletes even tested?
     
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  15. Badger67

    Badger67 Taxidea taxus

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    Some HS athletes Are\were. My brother was in the early 90s and got bustes for gear. And a hs athlete i know in the gta was tested back when i wrestled but i think he came up clean. Not sure how often they test
     
  16. Oblivian

    Oblivian Aging Platinum Member

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    Also, people need to understand that drugs being illegal isn't designed for the purpose of no one ever using the drugs. It's designed to be a deterrent more than anything. It creates a risk which decreases both demand and supply, resulting in less users.

    Stoners who talk about weed being illegal not deterring people from using are completely delusional. This topic has come up several times on this forum and multiple people have stated that they just don't want to go through the trouble or risk of getting weed. I think it would be very similar with any drug. If it's convenient and easy to get, more people will use.
     
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  17. DrBdan

    DrBdan Something clever

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    Well you can still put regulations on PEDs, same as for other drugs. Put an age limit, require doctor supervision etc. and then you can also provide more education on the topic. What is reasonable use, how to use safely and so on. It would possibly also have an effect on the quality of the PEDs used. At the highest levels athletes probably don't have to worry about tainted supplements but at the lower levels I would imagine that cheap/fake supplements are common.
     
  18. phoenixikki

    phoenixikki Black Belt

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    People who think that "superior genetics" are unfair are simply retards, plain and simple.
    If I don't have the genetics to be an engineer or a mathematician, that doesn't give me right the right to cheat on all my tests during my whole life to become one.
     
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  19. JauntyAngle

    JauntyAngle International man of mystery

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    Not necessarily that many. They legalized pretty much all drugs in Portugal 25 years ago, the result was a very small increase overall, decrease in some groups. Adolescent drug use has actually decreased:

    https://www.drugpolicy.org/sites/default/files/DPA_Fact_Sheet_Portugal_Decriminalization_Feb2015.pdf

    That supply and demand stuff is high school economics, it does contain fundamentally important insights but in actual practice it is more complicated.

    Just making this point with respect to general drug policy though. The performance/economic incentive in sports makes things rather different, IMO.
     
  20. neomage2021

    neomage2021 Silver Belt

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    I can tell you absolutely without a doubt steroids are rampant in high school and have been since at least 2000 when I was in high school. I grew up in west Texas. We had a dominant football team. Most of us on the football team took steroids. So did many players on just about every team we played. It was no secret. Back then the UIL tested no athletes, now they test a few hundred per year out of tens of thousands of athletes.

    I very much don't advocate teens taking steroids. They have enough testosterone to get all the strength they need at that age. I do think steroids shouldn't be illegal though. The american medical association and other national health orgs oppposed steroids being illegal back when it happened in 1990. The reason is that when not abused and taken smartly and correctly they pose relatively little risk. There are many legal substances that harm you much worse.

    Make them legal, but also make athletes get blood work every few months as well to make sure they are staying healthy while doing so. Keep them banned for under 18 though.
     
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