The solution to steroids has no silver bullet in the modern context. A close look at the causes and developments of the problem of steroids clearly postulates that it may take a long time to completely stop using them. This paper looks at the Acts and regulations developed in the United States of America in an effort to control and stop use of steroids. Further awareness programs and education approaches that have been taken are included in this paper. The regulations of 1975 up to 2004 reveal that the problem of using steroids is deeper than just enacting tough laws and penalties. The paper considers a blend of awareness campaigns with use of laws that recognize the fundamental problem as one that is social, and touches on morality rather than looking at it from a criminal point of view. The paper justifies that including parents, the media and slowing the corporate gear as well as regulating public perception could go a long way in stopping or reducing the steroid problem. Parents are the first coaches and teachers and must act to stop future generations using steroids.
Modern sport has come of age in respect to technology, rules, views, participation, funding and purpose. Today, the purposes of stakeholders are the most important. Athletes and sports men have grown from modest hardworking and determined individuals to greed oriented, super heroic driven athletes under the pressures of vested expectations from commercial, regional, national and international perspectives. This never ends well for those who are sponsored directly if they do not bring medals home (NIDA, para 4).
The use of steroids dates back to World War II where testosterone was used to improve the performance of weak and fatigued soldiers. During the 1956 Olympics it was used to enhance the performance of Soviet athletes who did exemplary well. Since them, many new steroids were invented to be used in sport. Dr. Zeigler, an American physician, created the anabolic form of steroids that caused the current problem in the world of sports (DEA, para 3).
The use of steroids could not emanate better than from this one clear example in the field of sport and thus it has surpassed the initial stages of trial and error to complete levels of acceptance and advertisement. Thus, there emerged a problem on how to prevent a fast spread of steroids (Goldstein, 5).
The problem of steady and popular rise of steroids was first addressed in 1975 by the International Olympic Committee in regard to competition. However, this led to an unprecedented increase in sales of steroids in the black market. The 1988 Anti Drug Act sought to clamp down on usage of steroids in sports and especially in basketball in the USA, and hence it said that to “distribute or possess anabolic steroids with the intent to distribute for any use in humans other than the treatment of disease” was illegal and led to criminal penalties. This Act spanned another sword in the United States as black market sprawled like never before.
By 1990, reports indicated that even high school teenagers had been using steroids and were highly dependent on them to improve their performance in athletics. In 1990, the Congress came up with Anabolic Steroid Enforcement Act which placed steroids on Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act providing that they cause changes in psychological as well endocrine systems (10). However, reports and media press analysis continued presenting alarming facts that the black market and illegal use of steroids were on the rise (Hart and Hart, 12).
The proponents of drug use believe that by criminalizing the use, possession and distribution of any drug expands the black market, as well as increases illegal usage. Yet this approach cannot be blamed as according to the UNODC on the international level, the slogan ‘war on drugs’ campaign has been recommending such approaches for a period of 50 years now (United Nations, pg. ). Report and critical analysis reveal that these approaches are only political in nature and the objectives have not been realized almost a hundred years now (Trace 6). The United States of America has imposed fines, criminal prosecution and penalties on those found in possession, sale, use and distribution of steroids as indicated in the 1990 Act.
The same approach was implemented by the United Nations Organization on using drugs. Accordingly, this has resulted in increase in crimes as per those regulations. The problem is further compounded by the treatment that these ‘criminals’ are subjected to after they brought under the ‘law’. Jailing and fines are full of the terse statements of these drug acts and most of the convicted persons relapse back to second time offending after the ‘stint’ in the jails and fines (Trace, 10). Sometimes, treatment is compared to infringement of human rights to the extent that it warrants action change in the process of stopping use of steroids.
The solution to steroids should be approached from a combination of strategies that aim at educating and creating awareness on the issues of steroid use. This strategy when combined with revised anti steroid policy should go an effective way to achieving a solution to stopping the use of steroids. According to National Strength and Conditioning Association report that the use of scare, didactics and force tactics helps nothing but aggravates the matter more (NSCA, 5). According to this report, education and training should be a perfect approach to discussing the problem of steroids. The solution in regard to this approach should also factor in the role of parenting in the modern society. Fairness and justice hold a supreme role in the American constitution and therefore it is clear that parents and the society at large have turned a blind eye to founding fathers vision in regard to this approach. If parents and coaches do not find the need to hammer in the concept of fair competition in their young kids and trainees then the solution to steroids stands a long way to achieve.
Enjoined in this approach, the public demand for higher glory and satisfaction from athletics and the need to see super champions should be discussed to find solutions to steroids. Today athletics and sports are not possible without modern technology and sports journalism. The sports press has created a whetting appetite for more performance and super heroes in regards to athletics. Technology in terms of play stations, computer games and corporate events has created an aura of super performance and hence exerting pressure to an average athlete. The public takes the same approach and thus an athlete feels cornered to perform to these expectations. So when the call to stop using steroids involves use of force, imprisonment and fines problem is escalated to newer levels rather acting as a solution (Barnes, 3 in NSCA, 4).
For example, the 2004 Anabolic Steroid Act passed by the then President George Bush, states emphasizes on elimination of use of steroids in athletics by citing them as dangerous. Further, the act reviews the list of schedule III drugs by including more to the original list. The objective of the Act was to amend the Controlled Substances Act by clarifying the definition of steroids and providing for research and education on activities related to steroids which was a positive move (Yealis, 123).
The Athletes Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids (ATLAS) program has approached close to providing a solution to steroids use. In the program, the use of peer led materials and outlined program where students and athletes took the center stage identified ways against steroid use. In that program, students learnt how to come with their own campaigns against steroid and create reviews and discussions that emanate from their understanding of effects and use of steroids. Besides, the ATLAS program incorporates an environment where curiosity is satisfied by well designed information that is accurate and tested hence producing young people and athletes who are better informed. Jointly with NSCA, the awareness campaign and education efforts target strengthening conditions as well as nutrition and most importantly modifying these lessons in regard to basic composition of audience (NCSA, pg 6).
This program is well intended and looks on the right path to stopping steroids only, but parents and the media should also be included. The best approach to stopping use of steroids is ensuring that the future generation is well equipped and has the right information on steroids use. These are parents who should teach their children on the very best practices and morals in regard to fair play and thus including the parents in the education and awareness programs, like ATLAS or one between NSCA and EAS could go a long way. The media is responsible for daily opinions and plays a great part in the steroids campaign. By being actively incorporated in the education and awareness campaigns, the media should help in dispatching the right information to the world and targeting the appropriate audience correctly.
If the media and the internet could work together to provide relevant and right information guided by such programs like ATLAS, steroids use could probably record lower rates and hence allow a room to completely stop it. It is all in public hands and if the stakeholders could come together and address the steroid problem, then it could be solved.
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