Stimulants and steroids will not have the same profile of symptoms and signs. But the exact methods for cheating them are constantly evolving as the testing process changes. As a result, there is no perfect guide to passing a doping test while still using performance-enhancing drugs in sport. However, these drugs can cause breast growth, prostate gland enlargement, smaller testicles, and infertility in men. Women may become more masculine, with a deeper voice, more body hair, baldness, and infrequent menstruation.

drug use in sports

Blood doping is a practice whereby athletes receive blood transfusions or use synthetic oxygen carriers to increase their blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity. This equates the more oxygen for the muscles, which comes with a performance boost. While the athlete’s own blood can be used if stored ahead of time, same-type blood from a third party is also an option. Erythropoietin is a hormone produced by the kidneys in response to insufficient oxygen in the body cells.

Performance Enhancing Drugs

In this review, an attempt will be made to explore the literature related to some of the most common substances of abuse with an emphasis on alcohol, opioids, nicotine, cocaine and marijuana. There is limited information in relation to treatment of addiction in athletes which will be a primary focus of this paper. Most of the discussion will focus on approaches in the general public with an attempt to project this information onto the drug use in sports athletic population in these cases. One must remember that substance use in athletes may be correlative with traditional uses but may also primarily involve using substances with the intention of improving athletic performance or masking banned substances, known as doping. Over the past 45 years, great progress has been made regarding anti-doping policies but yet it continues to play a role at all levels of sporting competition.

drug use in sports

In fact, users of performance-enhancing drugs often are not candid with their physicians about their use of these drugs. It is an anabolic steroid, and in fact, most anabolic steroids misused by athletes are synthetic variants of testosterone. Though there is a notion that a relatively large percentage of athletes use anabolic steroids, studies have shown it to be rare, and under 6% of professional athletes. However, information from an Iranian study showed an interesting difference with a value of 36.2% among athletes. Anabolic steroids are synthetic drugs that mimic or enhance the effects of testosterone.

MeSH terms

This approach implies the need for long-term research funding opportunities that also include consideration of follow-ups (e.g., Boardley et al., 2021). Even short programs, such as the 60-min Clean Sport program (Hurst et al., 2020), have the potential to achieve substantial effects. This strategy supports anti-doping agencies’ approach or recommendations to conduct workshops or booster sessions (Backhouse et al., 2012; World Anti-Doping Agency, 2021). It is therefore promising and time-efficient that short preventive measures lead to a benefit. It is evident that learning in sport goes beyond physical parameters and includes the promotion of personality development, moral integrity, or the (non-)use of performance-enhancing substances in the sense of education (Brand and Schwarz, 2017).