STEROIDUSE BY YOUNG PEOPLE
Steroid use among young athletes has been increasing in the recentpast. They believe that it gives them a competitive advantage whenengaging in physical performance. The sportsmen mainly take thesupplements between workouts as it allows one to train harder, thusenhancing their strength and endurance. Other individuals take thedrugs to improve their appearance, particularly to increase the sizeof muscles and reduce body fat although the use of steroids isconsidered risky and dangerous. Most young people are concentratingon the sports industry to the extent of having the athletes as therole models in their lives. Therefore, whenever they see and read ofhow the professional athletes are achieving their excellentperformance, they begin imitating them. For example, if theprofessional is indulging in the steroids, the young athletes shallalso begin taking the drugs. The situation has become an ethicalissue because the young people are motivated by the professionalathletes to achieve excellent performance, which is right since itallows them to focus on attaining a better future. On the contrary,the use of steroids is morally wrong because they are taking thedrugs without obtaining adequate knowledge of the long-term andshort-term effects it may have. Besides, in some circumstances, theyouth end up abusing the drugs resulting in serious injury or death. The paper aims at providing a rationally and ethically sound solutionto the problem by using critical thinking and an application of theethics of care theory.
Steroids,Anabolic Androgenic Steroid, young athlete, and professional athlete
Steroids refer to synthetic substances that are designed to imitatethe role of the testosterone hormone among males (Pope et al., 2014).They are prescribed by doctors for various medical conditions. Themost common abused steroid is the Anabolic Androgenic Steroid (AAS)that increases protein content in human cells and skeletal muscles.It allows people to improve their appearance and athleticperformance.
Young athletes refer to individuals who have just completed theireducation and are willing to pursue a career in the sports industry.
Professional athletes are experienced people who play various gamesfor commercial purposes. Their jobs are quite demanding since if theyfail to perform, they may not last long in the sports industry.
3.0 Possible Solutionsto the Problem
Steroids are harmful substances whose possession or sale without avalid prescription should remain illegal. The government shouldcontinue to enforce the rules that find simple possession ortrafficking of steroids as an offense that attracts punishments andpenalty for the victim (Lamkin, 2016). Besides the federallegislation for steroid use, individual states should continueimplementing the fines and penalties for steroid abuse. The sportsfederation should also keep banning the use of steroids among itsprofessional athletes because of the dangerous side effects and theunfair advantages they give the user (Lamkin, 2016).
The second most prominent rational solution to handling steroidsabuse is introducing a law that allows drug testing among thestudents as a prevention program. The State of Virginia has enactedsuch legislation as a measure of controlling steroid abuse in schoolsand among the young people in the region (Lamkin, 2016). The testscan be impromptu and frequently done to the learners. Those who testpositive for the supplements should then be enrolled in a recoveryprogram, to help them recover from the drug abuse.
An analysis of the population of young people who indulge in steroiduse has been increasing over the past few years. For instance, only5% of the teenage population had indulged in the substance abuse in2009, but the figure increased to 7% in 2013 (Woolf, Rimal &Sripad, 2014). The continued studies indicate that the abuse ofsteroids is spreading across the world. The United States of Americahas been listed as the country with the highest number of steroidusers as compared to other nations in the world (Pope et al., 2014).The rating has led most researchers to focus on America because ithas the highest population and its influence on the rest of theworld. The survey in high school and college students show that mostof the young people begin indulging in AAS when they are between the9th and 12th grade. If the steroid use amongthe teenagers proves successful after their first trial, the chancesof continuing the utilization of the substance are also quite high.The studies also indicate that the population of the AAS users ishighest among the college students who are between 19-22 years asmost of them are in the early stages of their athlete career. Theyare determined to utilize their skills for monetary value as observedamong the professional sportsmen.
As the sports industry continues to understand the steroid issue, ithas also been discovered that most of the young people who areutilizing the steroids are underestimating the health risksassociated with the drug. According to a survey conducted byBirzniece (2015), the athletes use different substancessimultaneously. For instance, they use the drugs for weeks or months,then later discontinue the cycle and change the dosage to minimizethe likelihood of adverse side effects. The athletes’ behaviordepends on their belief’s regarding the effectiveness of the drugson their performance. However, the young adults who are emulatingtheir behavior fail to understand how to change the patterns andthus, the reason behind the different cycles. Therefore, due toinadequate knowledge the youth continue to utilize the drugs thatmake them prone to more risks since they do not understand when theyshould be administered. It has been noted that the athletes lackadequate knowledge on the side-effects of abusing the supplements.The government and other health programs such as the NationalInstitute on Drug Abuse are conducting programs that are aimed ateducating both the young and professional athletes on steroid abuse(Birzniece, 2015). The information might help them to understand thefacts associated with the supplements use. One can easily come acrossfalse information from the manufacturers and marketers who are onlyinterested in making profits at the expense of the sportsmen.
The media is also considered to have the highest impact on the youngpeople who are indulging in the use of steroids in today’s society.However, its influence depends on the type of media. The rapidtechnological innovation has improved the communication and industryto the extent that an individual can access any information throughthe internet (Frison, Vandenbosch & Eggermont, 2013). People cankeep in touch with the professional athletes through the social mediachannels and interact directly with them through live streams.Besides, most young adults are spending most of their time on theinternet, which enables them to learn how the sportsmen are using thedrugs and how it is transforming their physical body. The attentionthey get from their fan base makes the teenage boys desire the samefrom their friends. Frison, Vandenbosch & Eggermont (2013),states that fitness and appearance-focused media may affect the youngadults differently. The fitness media presents both the merits anddemerits of the supplements to the viewer allowing them to make thedecision on whether to utilize the steroids or not based on one’slifestyle. On the contrary, appearance-focused media encourages theteenagers to us the drugs because they demonstrate how the productsenhance muscle development. It is essential to note that humanbehavior and perception is highly influenced by one’s appearance(Frison, Vandenbosch & Eggermont, 2013). Hence, when people areshown how to modify their looks if it makes them presentable andadmirable to the public, they tend to follow that route. Similarly,the young men and women who watch the appearance-focused media shalluse the AAS to improve their looks based on their perception.
5.0 Examination ofAssumptions and Points of View
The argument that children who see and read about professionalathletes who achieve their performances by using such drugs withoutbeing punished will be encouraged to take such drugs is based onvarious assumptions. For example, sports managers and policy makersbelieve that the increased use of steroids among youths relies on theperception that the drugs are beneficial and normative (Woolf, Rimal& Sripad, 2014). The media presents the benefits of the drugsthrough advertisements that demonstrate how people are building theirbodies to achieve what is considered the attractive look. Fitnessmagazines are also providing articles regarding the popularsupplements one needs to ingest to make that fit body. All thisinformation is focused on educating the reader on the benefits ofusing the drugs which show that the media is indeed fuelling thewidespread use of steroids. However, critics argue that reading andviewing media content cannot be the only factor contributing to thewidespread use of the AAS among the youth (Frison, Vandenbosch &Eggermont, 2013). They believe that other behavioral interventionsthat occur after accessing the media are what lead the children totry the drugs. After reading or viewing the media content, peopleneed evidence before actually trying out the new concept they havejust read. The evidence tends to provide them with the assurance thatit can be a reality. Similarly, when the youths read and see theimpact of steroids, they are more likely to try out since the mediaprovides them with the evidence that changes their perception andgives them self-assurance.
Another assumption made is that whenever an individual socializeswith professional athletes who are using steroids, they are likely toindulge in the practice as well (Woolf, Rimal & Sripad, 2014).The validity of this viewpoint can be argued from a socialperspective. It is claimed that during the growth and development ofchildren, they tend to learn through socialization with variousagents such as family and friends. This mode of learning allowspeople to be educated on different life aspects such as behavior,personal beliefs and values, and other elements that are not withinthe school syllabus. Therefore, when young adults are interactingwith professional athletes whom they see using the steroids, they arelikely to copy the practice from them. The chances are even higherwhen the teenagers seek information from the sportsmen concerning thesubstances and present them as beneficial. On the contrary, focusingon socialization as the element that allows widespread use ofsteroids among youths might not be accurate. It is believed that evenif the professional athletes might encourage the utilization of thedrugs, the young adults are capable of individual decision-making(Birzniece, 2015). The choice to engage in the act is a personal onethat cannot be blamed on the professional athletes. However, thiscriticism becomes unreliable because the sportsmen are adults whoclearly understand right from wrong. They have a responsibility ofguiding the young adults to make the right decisions, particularlywhen it involves their life. Hence, the assumption that young adultswho are friends with professional athletes can easily use steroids isvalid since they learn about the benefits of the drugs throughsocialization.
It is also believed that everything that children shall read and seeabout steroids use among professional athletes shall encourage theyoung sportsmen to abuse the drugs. This viewpoint might beinaccurate because not all content focuses on how professionals areexcelling. Some of the media reports sensitize the public on theadverse effects of steroid use. For example, Birzniece (2015)discusses the impact and side-effects of AAS use among athletes. Thein-depth study contains adequate literature on the harm these drugscauses on the human body, the risks the user is exposed to, as wellas the psychiatric side effects one may witness. The researcheracknowledges the benefit of using the steroids, but he is alsosensitizing the health professionals and the sports industry to be onalert for the widespread practice. Such content does not encouragethe young athletes to engage in steroid use as it highlights thedangers of the drugs. Other researchers who analyze the impact of theinformation available also argue that the relationship between mediaand the supplement use may not be causal or straightforward becausesome are disapproving while others are appealing to the reader(Frison, Vandenbosch & Eggermont, 2013). However, this perceptionarises from the fact that the teenager’s source of information isthe media. They spend their leisure time watching the television, andbrowsing the internet viewing and reading such content respectively.Besides, those who have been interviewed confess to having learnedabout the practice through the available information (Woolf, Rimal &Sripad, 2014). Therefore, although both arguments may be accurate, itis essential to acknowledge the content that is creating awarenessabout the dangers of indulging in AAS as one that has betterinformation since it presents the reality.
It is evident that steroid use by young people is an issue that needsto be addressed. The children are obtaining the zeal to indulge inthe drug from the content they read and see that highlights theexcellent performance of the professional athletes. Since thechildren are already aware that they are capable of using thesubstances without being punished, a drug testing program should beintroduced in schools. The tests should often be conducted, and theadministration should monitor the results obtained over the periodsto determine the effectiveness of the proposed solution.
The ethics theory that applies to the proposed solution is the ethicsof care framework. The theorist argued that when one person cares foranother, they are implementing the universal human attribute, whichcreates the influence-based relationship among them (Lawrence &Maitlis, 2012). It may not necessarily be emotional, but sentimentalas it enhances one’s party well-being. An application of the theoryto the proposed solution is that the children have established arelationship with the institutions of learning. The teachers have aresponsibility of providing care to the teenagers while the studentsneed to be given care. The school administration has theresponsibility of being committed to executing their duties whichinvolve protecting the children from steroid abuse. The colleges needto understand that the possibility of success when implementing theproposed solution might be minimal. However, as long as the proposedsolution may improve the condition of the children it should beapplied (Lawrence & Maitlis, 2012). During the testing, anexplanation shall be made to the students regarding the reason forsteroid abuse tests. The program facilitators can create awareness tothe teenagers as to why the professional athletes are not beingpunished. It might help them to understand that if they access thedrugs through a doctor’s prescription, they shall be safe. Besides,when they get the drugs, they should not overuse them.
The proposed solution shall be ethical because it transforms thestructures within which care is done to take place so that they donot cause any harm. The available information that the children andthe young athletes are accessing regarding steroid use is a structurethat provides them with low content. The teenagers are misled tobelieve that professional athletes are not punished for drug abuse,which is not the case. By introducing the test program, the childrenshall be cared for and even access adequate information regarding theuse of steroids when pursuing a professional career in the sportsindustry.
If the proposed solution of conducting frequent drug tests amongstudents becomes law or is adopted as a policy, there are severalexpected outcomes. Firstly, the perception of the children and theyoung athletes regarding steroid use shall have changed. They shallbe able to understand that abusing the substance leads to punishmentand even risks their life. Secondly, the solution shall help toreduce the widespread use of steroids among young athletes. Thechildren shall understand that they need a doctor’s prescriptionbefore using the drug and the need to work hard to achieve thatattractive look such as those of the professional athletes. Thirdly,if the solution is made into law, the deaths arising from steroidabuse among athletes shall decline.
Birzniece, V. (2015). Doping in sport: effects, harm, andmisconceptions. Internal Medicine Journal, 45(3),239-248. doi:10.1111/imj.12629
Frison, E., Vandenbosch, L., & Eggermont, S. (2013). Exposure tomedia predicts use of dietary supplements and anabolic-androgenicsteroids among Flemish adolescent boys. European Journal ofPediatrics, 172(10), 1387-1392.doi:10.1007/s00431-013-2056-x.
Lamkin, M. (2016). Regulating Identity: Medical Regulation as SocialControl. Brigham Young University Law Review, 2016(2),501-574.
Lawrence, T. B., & Maitlis, S. (2012). Care and Possibility:Enacting an Ethic of Care through Narrative Practice. Academy ofManagement Review, 37(4), 641-663.doi:10.5465/amr.2010.0466
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