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drug abuse with athletes
Drugs and Athletes
Drugs have been a problem in our society for many years. They have been used and
abused by many groups, including professional athletes. It is certainly quite common to hear about
or read about athletes and drug use. Although drugs have a lengthy history of use by
athletes, they have varied effects on the body and different preventions.
Much of the world's supply of cocaine is produced in South America. Thousands of years
ago, the ancient Incas of Peru chewed coca leaves because they made it possible for them
to work in the high mountains of the land for longer periods of time. In the 1880's Bolivian
soldiers were given the drug to help them gain endurance and overcome fatigue. It wasn't until the early years of the 20th century that
cocaine increased in popularity among athletes ("Coca").
Cocaine is a naturally occurring alkaloid, extracted from the leaves of the coca plant. . Eighty thousand tons of coca leaf will eventually produce about 200 tons
Marijuana was first smoked as a medicine as early as 2737 B.C.E. in China. Marijuana is a
mixture of leaves, stems, and flowering tops of the hemp plant. The hemp plant has the
highest cannabinoid concentration found in the flowering tops. Marijuana is referred to as
grass, pot, tea, or weed. The hemp plant grows wild through most of the world and can
be cultivated in any area with a hot season. It grows best in central Asia. The main
psychoactive compound in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinal, better known as
THC, a strong hallucinogenic that passes from the lungs into the blood and the brain. The
THC content of marijuana has increased eight fold in the last few years and some now
exceed 10 percent. Hash oil may contain 15 to 30 percent THC. Marijuana is by far the
most frequently used illicit drug in the United States(Marijuana).
enhancement, anabolic-andogenic steroids are today's sports drugs of choice. Steroids are
a family of synthetic compounds. . These children were prepped with wind
sprints at six and steroids at 16, the "sport" vanished from sports (Rosellini 52).
Cocaine was first used by doctors in the late 1800's as an anesthetic. It was also used
during this time to treat fatigue, alcohol, morphine addiction, impotence, stomach
disorders, asthma, and many other complaints including depression. Despite evidence that
cocaine was habit forming, it was an ingredient in many popular patent medicines, and
until 1903 it was in Coca-Cola. Most countries prohibit its use except for limited medical
purposes. Cocaine is the most reinforcing drug around.
. It is a hardened, very addictive form that may be smoked directly. Cocaine
is very expensive. A single dose may be as little as a quarter of a gram, but it can easily
cost $25 on the street.
There are no currently approved uses for marijuana in the Unites States. However, many
doctors obtain THC from the federal government under special arrangements in order to
prescribe it for cancer patients. THC is effective in reducing the nausea that cancer
patients suffer from. Marijuana may stimulate appetite. Marijuana may be smoked or
taken by mouth. The same dose of THC is about three times as effective when smoked as
when ingested. Marijuana is smoked in the form of a hand-rolled cigarettes, but it is also
smoked in a variety of pipes. After smoking marijuana, the user has a "high," including an
increased sense of well-being, relaxation, and sleepiness. Most users learn to avoid
overdosage by taking only as many inhalations as required to produce the desired "high."
Steroids may have some therapeutic value. The United States Food and Drug
Administration has approved the use of selected steroids for treating specific types of
anemia, some breast cancers, osteoporosis, endometriosis, and hereditary angioedema, a
rare disease involving the swelling of some parts of the body. Steroids are used today by
young people that are in a hurry to reach maturity or by someone that hates his skinny
body. Most of all, steroids are used by athletes to build muscle mass. They also help
muscles to recuperate more quickly from exhaustion or injury. These enable users to train
more frequently and for longer periods of time at a high intensity. Athletes generally take
the drugs in dosages 10 to 100 times greater than would be prescribed for therapeutic
purposes. Furthermore, athletes often take more than one type of steroid at a time, a
practice known as "stacking." Steroids may be taken by injection or orally.
The list of professional and amateur athletes who have become involved with cocaine
reads like an index. A lot of times I'd go up to the plate and the ball was at my head. The
umpire would call it a strike and I'd start arguing. When you're on drugs, you don't feel
you're doing anything wrong." Raines began using cocaine during the game. He would
keep the little gram bottle in his pocket and if he was stealing a base he would slide head
first, making sure not to break the bottle ( Meer 24).
Cocaine is not an addictive drug in a strictly physical sense. The body does not develop a
physical dependence on it nor is there physical withdrawal when a user stops taking it.
Cocaine increases body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, and it curbs the
appetite. Prolonged use can cause the septum, which divides the nostrils, to collapse.
On the other hand, cocaine is psychologically addictive. Heavy users often come to treat it
as an emotional crutch, exhibiting "behavior dependence." Users usually have low self
-esteem and suffer spells of depression.
Professional athletes often have more money and free time than they can handle. E.J.
Junior, a linebacker for the Cardinals, was hit hard by the deaths of Len Bias and Don
Rogers. Both men died of cocaine overdose.The Los Angeles Rams were to flying to San Diego that afternoon, but
White was going to miss the flight. White had spent the nine hours from 3 a.m. to noon
smoking cocaine through a pipe in an unlit, abandoned warehouse. White and his friend
were alone, and he felt that many were trying to kill him. He ran out of the warehouse and
grabbed a garbage lid to hold in front of him like a shield. He ran into a business
screaming, "Someone is trying to kill me!" After about thirty seconds, he ran out and went
to a vacant lot, He then saw five policemen coming at him with guns drawn. He screamed,
"Don't kill me!" White broke a few tackles before the cops laid him out. He fought so hard
that both of his wrists were permanently scarred by the handcuffs. Four months later,
White was in the ProBowl. White traded his handcuffs for a gold Pro Bowl watch and
became the Football News Comeback Player of the Year. Eventually, White began using
cocaine again and in doing so he almost lost his wife and career. White stopped using
once again and he's taking a urine test three times a week. He's staying clean and he's
playing (Charles White's Story).
Most people smoke marijuana to experience euphoric properties, including relaxation,
intensification of perception, and visual fantasies. Some athletes use marijuana following a
sporting event because it allows them to feel relaxed and at peace. However, marijuana
has some immediate negative effects. Almost immediately after marijuana is smoked, a
user's heart rate increases up to 50 percent higher than normal. Also the tiny blood
vessels in the eyes dilate, and the whites of the eyes take a reddish hue. Many people who
get high report that they become very hungry or extremely drowsy within fifteen minutes
of smoking marijuana. Smoking can also cause the throat and mouth to become dry.
People under the influence of marijuana perform poorly on physical tasks.
Marijuana causes many different mental problems. Marijuana can produce a "chronic
cannabis syndrome." The syndrome consis
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