Overall Health Impact Assessment

PEDs have been used to treat many dangerous diseases; however, it has been abused in many cases, which leads to many sever and some lethal side effects.  If these drugs are used properly under the supervision of a trained physician, they can be very beneficial.  The problem is that in most cases these drugs are not used in those circumstances.  This means that uninformed users are left to guess at what and how much to take.  This will lead to all of the dangerous side effects listed earlier.

Current Benificial Uses

Anabolic agents have many down sides, but when used properly they are used to treat delayed puberty, impotence, and treatment for muscle-wasting diseases.  The medical uses for peptide hormones are to treat cancer, premature births, and abnormal hormone levels.  Stimulants are used to treat ADD, obesity, and asthma.

Causes for Concern

Acute toxicity from PEDs are increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and acne.  Chronic toxicity resulting from PEDs are liver damage, breast tissue development, shrinking of testicles, arrhythmia, and impotence.  The drugs by themselves are not habit forming; however, the results that the athletes receive from PEDs are.  They have seen how successful and how much better they compete with the PEDs and they can’t live without them.

Pharmocology and Effects

The USADA listed the physiological effects of taking any type of anabolic substance, and they are acne, male pattern baldness, liver damage, and disruption of puberty and closure of growth centers in adolescents.  The psychological effects of the same substances are increased aggression and increased sex drive.  Withdrawal for these substances can lead to depression and even suicide.  The USADA also listed the physiological effects of peptide hormones, and they are hypertension, leukemia, anemia, stroke, heart attack, pulmonary embolism, and thyroid problems.

Use and Misuse

According to the US Anti-doping Agency, 4,640 athletes were tested in 2013.  Of those athletes there were only 74 doping violations and 32 of the cases resulted in no violations.  The cases that were reviewed were divided up to show that 33% used banned stimulants, 30% used steroids, and 10% used peptide hormones.

History of PEDs

PEDs have always been used since competitions have bee around.  The Greeks used potions, hallucinogens, and ate foods that were thought to increase performance, but the history of modern PEDs starts in the 1930’s when a German scientist isolated these chemicals in order to promote aggressiveness and physical strength in their soldiers.  Shortly after WWII athletes started to use amphetamines and steroids in their competitions, but it wasn’t until the Cold War until anabolic steroids became widely used.  Russia and the United States wanted to be better than each other in every way, so their scientists worked on creating these chemicals to make the best athletes.  During this time Dr. Zieglar created the first FDA approved steroid in the US.  It was called Dianabol.  It didn’t take long for athletes to abuse these drugs, and only two years later a Danish cyclist died in the Olympics from doping.  It took another eight years for the IOC to institute a drug test for all athletes, but they only tested for CNS stimulates.  In 1975 a reliable test was created to check for anabolic steroids, so the IOC was able to add this to the bannd substance list.  Shortly after these tests are created, the US Congress and other professional sports leagues begin to ban the use of anabolic steroids.

Sources and Forms

Performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) can be in the form of anabolic androgenic steroids, which have many different agents but all greatly aid in the growth and recovery of muscle tissue.  Another form is the use of hormones, such as testosterone or growth factors.  One last way that an athlete can enhance its performance through drugs is through a process called blood doping.  This is the process of enriching or adding more red blood cells to your body in order to greatly increase the recovery of muscle tissue.  One way to do this is by injecting erythropoietin into the body.  These chemicals can be taken through injection or ingested in the form of a pill.