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Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Sports A Silent Epidemic They stand behind the starting blocks rigid and serious the tension is palpable Without a sound the athletes step onto the starting block the only barrier remaining between them and Olympic gold is some fifty meters of cool clear water They know that in less than twenty-two seconds the race will be over the difference between the winner and the loser measured by a margin of a few thousandths of a second At their inspirational best the Olympic Games affirm the beauty and glory of sport As we watch extraordinary athletes compete and achieve feats of incredible strength speed and agility we are moved to awe But to see these performances athletic besieged by assertions of the rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs among athletes puts the essence of athletic competition at risk Many athletes who compete and win based solely on talent and determination are viewed with skepticism As sports are becoming increasingly more competitive and profitable athletes of all levels are questioning how they can continue to improve These athletes are exploring new options in training technique and nutrition as a means to gain a competitive edge Increasingly athletes are incorporating performance-enhancing supplements and ergogenic aides into their fitness regime when their natural ability has been fully developed As more and more athletes turn to drugs to enhance their performance the question becomes what role should performance-enhancing drugs play in sports Like 86 of Americans I disapprove of drug use and doping in sports I believe the deliberate use of performance-enhancing drugs should be banned and that stricter sanctions regarding the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs should be implemented on an international level While the use of dietary aids to enhance athletic prowess is centuries old research indicates that todays highly competitive athletic world is causing youth performance-enhancing drug use to grow significantly Studies by Our National Drug Control Strategy ONDCS show that steroid use among
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