About Sports & Drugs

Drug use in sports is not new.  What may be missed is how much use there is and how early is starts and how prevalent it is becoming.   

The reasons can be many, including performance enhancement.  Competition and the desire to win can create a mindset where an athlete is willing to do most anything.   Who doesn’t want to win?  Who doesn’t want to be the best?   

The need to look buff, and athletic or muscular and you can get into so many other reasons why performance enhancement or steroids can seem like a way to cut corners or enhance ones looks or performance.  

There is also the need at times to alleviate pain or recover from injuries.  

Then there is the celebration after a team win.  This alone is a source according to some studies for binge drinking and all that goes with that, including accidents.

The effects are as varied as the ‘advances’ in the performance enhancement drug classes and the vast amount of drug substances used.  The effects although varied are always dangerous and can be devastating or deadly.

One thing is certain:  Preventive measures need to start early and need to be done with the same vigor and demand given for the athlete to do his best.   The athlete needs to know that the real excitement comes from doing their best and doing it naturally.   

Doping is the word used to describe or define the use of drugs or other substances for enhanced performance.  It is a vital topic to discuss when it comes to sports, and that discussion needs to be done before the athlete is doing the damage.   To many stories of performance enhancement or doping are in the news after the fact.   Too many athletes die from the damage done.   Professional Wrestling is one sport where the life expectancy is so low that it makes one wonder why anyone would want to be a professional wrestler.   See the image below to see the life expectancy of different sports.

Gateways:  Another part of the doping and performance enhancement cycle is that the need for other drugs and drug addiction can be traced back to performance type drugs.  This is a fact.

So the conversation needs to be pushed that Real Champions Play Drug Free and it needs to start young and with true information so that athletes are insulated from the pressures to start.


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Substance Abuse Statistics


Substance Abuse Statistics

Substance use rates among different populations of athletes as reported in various recent research studies

SubstanceAthlete populationPercentage of athletes using substance
Any substances banned by WADA Elite athletes across sports (positive drug tests) 2% over past year5
Alcohol College athletes (self report) 75%–93% for male athletes; 71%–93% for female athletes over past year6
85% over past year7
Anabolic steroids High school students (self report) 0.7%–6.6% over past year8
College athletes (self report) 0.2%–5% for males depending on sport; 0.0%–1.6% for females depending on sport over past year7,8
Professional football players (self report) 9% used at some point in career8
Competitive power lifters (self report) 67% used at some point in career8
Cannabis College athletes (self report) 28% over past year7
Opiates Professional football players (self report) 52% used at some point in career (71% of those misused at some point in career)9
Smokeless tobacco College athletes (self report) 23% over past year7
College baseball players (self report) 40%–50% over past year10
Professional baseball players (self report) 35%–40% over past year10
Professional football players (self report) 20%–30% over past year10
Stimulants College athletes (self report) 3% over past year6

Abbreviation: WADA, World Anti-Doping Agency.