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We Should Accept Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Competitive Sports

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Debate Details

As performance-enhancing drugs become more prevalent in competitive sports, opponents are crying foul. They argue that athletes gain an unnatural, and unfair, advantage over their competitors by using drugs, and that widespread use is likely to pressure all players into taking them just to stay in the game. But as society is increasingly invested in personal enhancers and sports become more technologically advanced, is drugging in sports all that bad? 

The Debaters

For the motion

Radley Balko

Senior Editor and Investigative Journalist for Reason magazine

Previously, Balko was a policy analyst for the Cato Institute specializing in civil liberties issues, where he published a paper on alcohol policy... Read More

Norman Fost

M.D., M.P.H., a Professor of Pediatrics and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin, and Director of the Bioethics Program

Fost founded the Bioethics Program at the University of Wisconsin in 1973. He has published widely on ethical and legal issues in health care, and... Read More

Julian Savulescu

Uehiro Professor of Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford

Julian is director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and of the Program on Ethics and Biosciences in the James Martin 21st Century... Read More

Against the motion

George Michael

Legendary Sportscaster

George pioneered the sports highlight shows that fill the airwaves today. He was the creator and host of the nationally syndicated Sports Machine... Read More

Dale Murphy

Former Major League Baseball Outfielder and Catcher

Dale was a seven-time All-Star, five-time Golden Glove winner and two-time National League MVP with the Atlanta Braves. He started the iWon’t Cheat... Read More

Richard Pound

Chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency and a Partner in the Canadian Law Firm, Stikeman Elliott

Richard has been named to Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world for his relentless efforts to rid sport of performance-enhancing... Read More

Where Do You Stand?

For The Motion
  • Innovation in sports, such as new technology and medically based training techniques, should be welcomed, not stifled.
  • Steroids are used in various medical treatments and other enhancers, such as alcohol and caffeine, are used in daily life without recourse; athletes shouldn’t be subject to regulations not otherwise imposed on the general public.
  • Professional sports are inherently dangerous as competitive athletes push their bodies to the limit; steroid use is no different.
  • Prohibiting performance-enhancing drugs causes more harm to athletes, as it forces athletes to take drugs in secret and ensures that these drugs are not regulated. 
Against The Motion
  • Performance-enhancing drugs give using athletes an unfair and unnatural advantage over their competitors.
  • If performance-enhancing drugs are not banned, athletes will be compelled to sacrifice their immediate and long-term health to remain competitive throughout their often short-lived careers.
  • If permitted by professional athletic leagues, young and aspiring athletes would be pressured to take drugs, therefore compromising their health and wellbeing.
  • Steroids and other drugs compromise the integrity of competitive sport as a whole; they eliminate the element of natural competition and tarnish the tradition of sport as a wholesome cultural pastime.


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