Drug intake by athletes goes beyond just steroids

During the past couple decades, steroids have become a major pollutant of our entire sports world.

From Ben Johnson’s doping allegations to Jason Giambi and the BALCO scandal, it seems as though many athletes continue trying to find an edge on the competition. But with more stringent drug testing in place, it is becoming increasingly difficult for athletes to bend the rules. Or so we thought.

Allow me to introduce you to prescription drugs.

Yes, prescription drugs. Believe it or not, doctors’ remedies are becoming the 21st century version of steroids.

Now, I’m not referring to those over-the-counter drugs that you can pick up at your neighborhood Walgreen’s. I’m talking about the medicine that requires a health professional’s John Hancock.

Instead of looking to trainers to give them a leg up, athletes are going to the doctor to get a fix.

How? It’s easier than one might think. All it takes is a false diagnosis, a couple sheets of paper and you’ve got a superhuman pill.

Although this updated version of cheating isn’t as mainstream as its illegal counterpart, it could be soon.

In May, while Adam LaRoche of the Atlanta Braves was fielding a routine ground ball, he put his head down and apathetically jogged to first base. Nick Johnson of the D.C. Nationals noticed LaRoche’s lackadaisical approach and started hustling, beating LaRoche to the bag.

LaRoche, convinced that something was wrong with him, visited his doctor and was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. He was later prescribed Ritalin, a prescription medication containing methamphetamine, a banned substance. However, he’s been allowed to take it because it was prescribed. And the effects have been monumental. Before he was diagnosed with ADD, LaRoche was struggling.

His batting average was .247 with a disappointing 13 home runs. Since then, he’s exploded, hitting .333 with 18 home runs. Quite an improvement, wouldn’t you say?

I’m not insinuating in any way that LaRoche is using ADD as a smoke screen to boost his offensive production, but imagine the adverse effect this could have on sports.

Pretty soon we could have football players claiming they suffer from narcolepsy to get a dose of modafinil, or there could be basketball players alleging they suffer from allergies to get a dose of ephedrine.

And why should athletes with ailments be allowed to take medications with banned substances?

If they take the medications, it might give them an unfair advantage.

If we don’t start drawing the line here, when will we? When team doctors begin writing phony prescriptions? It just might be too late then.

Morgan McDaniel is a junior accounting student from Detroit. He can be reached at thefamuansports@hotmail.com