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Anabolic Steroids Experiences

Anabolic steroids & bodybuilding experiences

Are steroids as bad as we think they are?

Saturday, January 01, 2005

By Drake Bennett

IT MAY NOT HAVE been the most substantive line in President Bush's State of the Union address last January, but it had to be the least controversial. "The use of performance-enhancing drugs like steroids in baseball, football, and other sports is dangerous," he intoned. "And it sends the wrong message -- that there are shortcuts to accomplishment, and that performance is more important than character."

This week it looked like Major League Baseball was finally falling into line. The immediate impetus, of course, was not a dusty presidential applause line but grand jury testimony by Barry Bonds, the game's biggest star, in which, as reported in The San Francisco Chronicle on Friday, Dec. 3, he admitted to taking anabolic steroids -- unwittingly, he insisted. While this came as a shock to no one who follows baseball, the resulting blast of outrage has put the baseball players' union, long opposed to meaningful drug testing, on the defensive. By last Sunday, Sen. John McCain was threatening to introduce legislation to toughen Major League drug testing if that's what it took. By Friday the president had reiterated his own demand. Throughout the week, the league and the players' union were at work on the outlines of a tougher testing regime.

But it's unclear just how wide the indignation spreads. Far from alienating fans, the steroid scandal unfolded during the course of a season of record baseball attendance. And a New York Times poll a year ago found that, among those under the age of 30, 41 percent didn't have the slightest problem with the use of performance-enhancing drugs by professional athletes.

Such nonchalance may be unsettling. Yet according to a few doctors and bioethicists, it's also rational. The concern over steroids -- and performance-enhancing drugs in general -- is misplaced, they argue. According to Adrian Dobs, an endocrinologist at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, for most steroid users the likelihood of "something terrible or catastrophic" happening is "probably pretty low." Moreover, argues Norman Fost, a pediatrician and head of the University of Wisconsin's bioethics program, "the claim that there's something immoral about using these drugs is based on very sloppy thinking or simple hypocrisy."

Needless to say, such arguments are met with everything from bemusement to exasperation by many doctors and policy makers. But thinkers like Fost (perhaps the most visible of the steroid skeptics) dismiss their critics as hysterics, pointing not only to the scant evidence of health risks, but the history of similarly controversial innovations in sport and the distorted way in which we tend to look at the risks athletes face. So are these drugs really so dangerous? And does using them really amount to cheating?
Read the whole article at: Boston.com
posted by Frank Mori, Saturday, January 01, 2005