View Full Version : Massive steroid conspiracy

October 17th, 2003, 01:16 PM
In 1988, after Carl Lewis was awarded the gold medal in the 100M dash when Ben Johnson tested positive for steroids, (I believe it was) Lewis stated that he was not really that surprised because he just didn't think that it was humanly possible to run the 100m in 9.79 (Johnson's winning time).

In the past 3 years, 2 american’s have euqaled or surpassed that time.

In today’s Houston Chronicle there is a tiny article (which is a true disappointment considering the magnitude of the accusations) that reads as follows:

According to Terry Madden, the chief executive of the US anti-doping agency: "What we have unconverted appears to be intentional doping of the worst sort (...) this is a conspiracy involving chemists, coaches and certain athletes using what they developed to be undetectable designer steroids to defraud their fellow competitors and the American and world public"

The drug in question is known as THG and though no athletes were named, it appears that several prominent athletes are a party to this.

I also know for a FACT, that some elite swimmers know of the drug, and believe it is undetectable.

*** This is in no way intimating that any specific athlete has or is using the substance.

October 17th, 2003, 01:27 PM
This is news, and there were reports on TV last night, but I missed it.

If this is true, it will be so immoral, disgusting, and downright criminal. To think that chemists and coaches would be involved! It is so intent that it makes my skin crawl.

For all of the great athletes that stay clean, it is more than offensive, and insults athletics in general.

I cannot wait to find out the truth to this! I really really hope it's not true, but if it is, hope that the violators will be punished to the max.

Please if anyone has info, do share!

Have a great day everyone,

Bert Bergen
October 17th, 2003, 02:11 PM
Huge article on it today in the LA Times and among others, Barry Bonds' personal trainer's home was raided in addition to the offices of the "doctor" in San Francisco who is supposedly behind this stuff. My best guess is that as good we think we are, this is not confined to US track and field (though I guess they are the biggest "amateur" offenders). ML baseball has a problem (ie., Sammy, McGwire, Bonds, and any 170 lb SS suddenly hitting 30 HR's) that they are hiding behind their current player agreements and "eye-candy" of a steriod testing program. You can bet that USS and Masters swimming have some issues as well. No proof, but hopefully, this current exposure brings a lot more sludge out of the sewers and ANYONE screwing with the system gets penalized.

October 17th, 2003, 02:31 PM
The thing I don't understand about drug cheats is how do they live with themselves? I would be wracked with guilt if I cheated.

Gareth Eckley
October 17th, 2003, 02:44 PM
The 'Times newspaper' in Britain recently ran an article on Ben Johnson. Available, if you search the archive at: www.timesonline.com

Ben's doctor and trainer have talked about the issue. There was a conspiracy around the Ben Johnson drug test faliure. The biggest issue; the steroid they FOUND in his sample was one that weight-lifters use for bulking up, it would be no use to a sprinter that close to competition.

It was also found in the PURE form, it could not have passed through his body into his urine. It was also found in a MASSIVE quantity, much greater an amount than sprinters would take.

His trainer and doctor admit that he was on a steroid based drug program in the 2 years leading up to the Olympics, but that they ensured that he would test "clean" at any major event by stopping the use well before the meets. Everyone knew that Ben would be tested after the race so why would they be so stupid as to give him steroids just before it.

They are planning to expose the other athletes that they know were also taking drugs. Ben's doctor was in charge of a lot of their drug programs.

So yes Ben was on drugs but his positive test at he Olympics was fabricated. i guess none of this matters now.

I have no idea which swimmers take drugs, the pressure to win is immense and can mean the difference between earning a lot of money or struggling to get by.

October 17th, 2003, 03:52 PM

With all due respect, to believe this statement, "I WAS using steroids but I quit," is fantasy land. Yes, HE would be so stupid as to think he wouldn't get caught even though he knew he would be tested.

Regarding knelson's question: how can a cheat live with themselves? The amount of glory and accolades that an atheletes receive is enough to numb the pain of knowing that it was all untrue. (Recently it was revealed that the Giants were stealing signs in the game where Bobby Thompson won the pennant - though much like Gareth, they are claiming they did not steal the sign on the pitch that lead to the homer!)

October 17th, 2003, 04:08 PM
Cheating has been part of sports probably since the day the first sporting event was created. The old expression that goes something like "if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying" continues to hold true.

That people express indignation and shock at reports of cheating is laughable. Despite all our best efforts, it will continue.

October 17th, 2003, 04:37 PM
if you win whilst cheating then you never truly win,you lose,drugs are made by losers sold by losers and taken by losers(illegal drugs that is)but by all means take an asprin if you have a headache!!!!

Gareth Eckley
October 17th, 2003, 06:00 PM
According to the article the only way a Pure steriod, i.e not broken down by being passed thru the body, can be found in a sample is if it was injected into the test tube carrying the urine. So the sample was spiked.

Anyway I am not defending what Ben Johnson did. He cheated and cheats deserved to be caught. But alledgedly others in that race also cheated by taking drugs but they were not caught.

I am no chemist, I was just reporting some interesting revelations about the scandal. I do not support drug use or cheating in any way !!

October 17th, 2003, 09:31 PM
Why do you think they call it Dope? Using drugs to win anything is like not counting all your strokes when golfing. You are only cheating yourself. Cheating yourself of the real glory and pride that goes with unmatched perfomance. Being the best is the real high. To me, to even make the top 10 in masters swimming is an unbelievable self accomplishment. I believe that our sport (masters swimming) is probably the cleanest of all sports here in the US. I am basing this on the character of the people I have met at the competitions I have attended and witnessed since returning to swimming a year ago. I am proud to be a member of USMS. Dope is for Dopes.

October 17th, 2003, 10:01 PM
Personal pride isn't the only motivation for the athletes involved in doping offenses. There's big money involved in elite sports -- it's not about just being the best. This, unfortunately, is a powerful incentive to cheat. The saddest thing is that the distorted incentives have seeped down to college and even high school sports, so we have kids doing lasting damage to themselves.

I agree that masters swimming is probably the cleanest of all sports because we do compete purely for personal pride. Any masters swimmer who used drugs (without a genuine medical need) would only be cheating himself.

Rain Man
October 17th, 2003, 10:10 PM
Hate to chime in, I was perusing the board, I would bet USMS is not in fact as clean as you think. Just from observations at upper level masters meets.

October 17th, 2003, 10:24 PM
While I don't agree with it, I think I understand the use of performance enhancing drugs. It's not the win that's being sought, but the edge, and the feeling you get when you approach it.

You know that feeling. It's the same one you get when you ride a motorcycle the first time. It's the same one you get when you ride a faster motorcycle. It's the same feeling that compels teenagers to see exactly how fast their cars or motorcycles will go out on the freeway, to push right up against the edge and look over. It's in the blood of base jumpers. It's the same thing that makes those guys on the MTV show Jackass do the whacked things they do, and the same thing that makes that show a hit.

For that matter, it's the same thing that drives serious recreational drug users to see how far they can push it. For the athletes, speed is the drug. Power is the drug. Knowing that you just went faster or lifted more than human beings are supposed to be able is the drug.

The gold medal is only a reminder that you went right up to that edge. You're not really competing with the other athletes to see who is better. The only reason you don't want to lose is because losing proves you didn't find the edge, that there's further you can go. It's the absolute limit of human endurance that's being sought, even if it takes a drug to get there.

And morality is not an issue in that mindset. You don't think of it as cheating. You think of it as doing what you have to do to find the limit. Never mind that you and your competitors are working toward slightly different goals.

I also think the reason people get so bent out of shape about it is that at some level they understand the motivations behind it. Even when the first place finisher gets disqualified and the second finisher is declared the winner, the win is tainted. That winner always knows that there was somebody faster, that somebody pushed that edge even further out there. It hurts to have to qualify your world record as the fastest person on earth "without steroids."

Courteous Swimmer
October 18th, 2003, 12:54 AM
Thorpe was so roided up at Barcelona, he had to wear a bodysuit.
God, he was just huge.

As far as Masters, I've never seen anyone in the mags that looked to be on the juice. The most muscular guy I've seen is that guy from NJ who is an attorney or doctor, and was featured on the cover of SWIM a few issues ago. Kavanaugh or something like that. But who knows. Athletes have been known to take steroids that can really help your performance(equibolin), without making you huge.

October 18th, 2003, 01:00 AM
There's a lot of motivation to use drugs. The East German women now in their 40's and late 30's are a prime example of how too much steriods can mess up the body. In their case, that was a government that of course did things at almost all cost to get their results. So, many of the East German swimmers who were as young as 10 excepted the drugs as vitiams. If you are 10 are you going to doubt what adults told you. Also, the state would make it easier for you and your parents and sibings to get into a better apartment. So, of course the East German women would not question the program. Many of them end up with bad livers and when they had children, the kids had club feet.

October 18th, 2003, 08:22 AM

The guy you were refering to is Dr. Ron Karnaugh. He's competing in the 35-39 group, and trains like an animal. (upwards of ten to twelve thousand yards per day.)

I'ld say that some people have the genetic make up which allows them to defy age. And for that matter most highly active people such as USMS swimmers are living proof that not everyone gets hit with the age stick. Maybe the ugly stick? But definitely not the age stick.

October 18th, 2003, 11:37 AM
Dr Ron k is able to do it because he didn't take a 10 year or more break like the rest of us. He is use to doing 10,000 yards a day because he has been doing that for almost 20 years. Also, he has enough free time to workout that much.

October 18th, 2003, 12:40 PM
cinc310, I'm glad you brought the German swimmers--many of those women have not only serious health issues now, and they also live life in complete despair. One woman acutally now lives as a man, and has actually spend time living in the mountains far away from society.

It is a very sad, extremem story of desperate inhuman desire to win. There were actually records of how the hormones/steroids effected the girls--and the scientists were able to predict when they would begin to grow facial hair, etc.

As for these athletes pushing and seeking the edge, Shaky, I think what you had to say was interesting--but also I think there is huge ego involved.

Plus, these athletes do hurt more than themselves--they hurt the image of sport in general, and if they do test positive, and are disqualified, then the person coming in second was not granted the victorious moment they deserved.

Winning a big win is so emotional--and it is an experience like nothing else.

Just say no to juice!


Tom Ellison
October 18th, 2003, 07:11 PM
Using drugs to GET 1st place is a bad deal....anyone caught ....should be tossed out for life! NEXT!

Peter Cruise
October 19th, 2003, 01:36 AM
I think that some people labour under the misconception that those abusing performance-enhancing drugs are necessarily LARGE. This simply isn't so. Endurance athletes (runners) were among the first to abuse steroids in the 70's in lesser dosages to enhance their ability to train more & blood doping to increase red-blood cell capacity & they have never been built like Lou Ferrigno. Swimming has been clouded by materiels advances in swimsuits & technical gains exploiting rule changes but there is no question that there has been abuse in open swimming (Chinese swimmers etc).
Masters? Regretably, yes. And I do mean substances banned under Open competition. However, I have stated repeatedly, taking substances like creatine (scary for the lack of human testing) is almost as bad. So what if it isn't illegal? If it is truly performance-enhancing (as I was assured it was by several swimmers at Baltimore LC Nats) then it can & should be banned. Am I alone in finding this sort of experimentation disgusting in Masters?

October 19th, 2003, 06:57 PM
Sure it's disgusting and stupid too, but I wouldn't want any testing requirement. Those who do it know they're getting an unfair advantage, and the rest of us can just be satisfied to know we're doing the best we can to improve on our own merit. It's not like there's any money in it. It's just a great sport and lots of fun. I say, ignore those who have to cheat to win. It's really their loss, and I feel sort of sorry for them.

October 19th, 2003, 07:00 PM
Regarding performane enhancing drugs in Masters, if there is no testing there will be some people who will do it. The problem for masters is that testing costs money. For example, assuming full participation in all age groups at LC Nats, if we were to test the top 3 finishers of each age group in each event would involve administering
17(events)*3(places)*12(age group estimate see below)*2(genders) tests which adds up to around 1224. There are 2 national championships a year so that would be around 2470 tests all together. (Add in 24 100 IMS for SCY). If the cost is around $100/pop, (which sounds low to me), the cost would be roughly 250K/year. Where would this money come from? Would most USMS members, (who do not compete), feel good about a good chunk of their fee going after what could amount to only 4-5 users?

These are just some numbers to consider, I don't propose drug testing, and don't want to turn this thread into a debate about whether we should test or not. I just want to point out that if USMS were to get serious about cracking down on Performance Enhancing Drugs, it would not be cheap, and the non-racers may have doubts as to whether it is worth it.

(There are more than 12 age groups but some age groups have some holes, so I am assuming that any holes will be accomodated by simply assuming that the 19-24-->75-79 age groups were the only ones participating and that they all had 1-3 positions filled up, this might lead to a slight over-estimation but the final tabulation should be within 10% of the tests required).

October 19th, 2003, 07:36 PM
I don't think we should test at masters either. Something like Clartion for us who have bad sinus problems might be banned. Ashama problems with drugs might be ban.

October 19th, 2003, 08:08 PM
It's a crazy notion to test Masters. What about those of us who take a Sudaphed during a cold or drink a cup or two of coffee before working out? What about some Masters with high blood pressure or other medical issues that require medications that might be considered banned?

Masters is about swimming and having fun. Let's keep the drug testing for the athletes that really need to be tested, not us. This could get quite out of control.

October 19th, 2003, 10:24 PM
Just for information -- Sudafed and caffeine were taken off the banned list within the last two weeks. I don't think antihistamines, like Claritin, have ever been included.

But I agree that the cost of drug testing would result in prohibitively high entry fees and, frankly, I'd be concerned that it might make some people reluctant to follow their doctor's instructions. To be honest, I can't see enough at stake in a masters event (even Nationals) to justify either result.

October 19th, 2003, 11:00 PM
Originally posted by Peter Cruise
However, I have stated repeatedly, taking substances like creatine (scary for the lack of human testing) is almost as bad. So what if it isn't illegal? If it is truly performance-enhancing (as I was assured it was by several swimmers at Baltimore LC Nats) then it can & should be banned. Am I alone in finding this sort of experimentation disgusting in Masters?

I'm wondering what actually does constitute "performance-enhancing" and were the rules regulating performance-enhancing drugs designed to level the playing field or to protect the health of athletes?
I ask because if creatine is performance-enhancing why isn't it banned? Or is it banned in some sports and I'm not aware of it (I think maybe I heard it was banned in Baseball - I'm not sure)? And can we actually claim that something is indeed performance-enhancing and at the same time say that it is dangerous because of its lack of human testing? We either have sufficient testing or not.

Peter Cruise
October 20th, 2003, 12:58 AM
I don't want testing either. I would just like to hear our voices raised sufficiently to get through the thick heads of recreational masters athletes that using yourself as a guinea pig for compounds & drugs of unknown effect & potency is just plain stupid. I do light weights (really light) at a family gym & pool complex (private club) & hear constantly about creatine from guys who don't even compete in anything & just want to get large & 'ripped'. That annoys me enough, but when I go to large meets I always hear the same sort of talk & when I try to express that it is just plain stupid to use your aging body as a test laboratory for legal allegedly performance &/or capacity-enhancing drugs I get regarded as an old-fashioned dinosaur. Just letting off steam.

October 20th, 2003, 09:49 AM
Amen Peter...I'm around those types at a weight lifiting gym too...now many of these people compete in bodybuilding shows...but for me (I'll repeat it again), for me, it seems so dangerous. Who knows what is actually in those supplements!

Many of the people that I know who take considerable amounts of supplements have hair that looks funny/unhealthy, and have strange smells in their breath. Alot of them look much older than they are. The majoirty of them carry a big pill case with them everywhere and are cramming "supplements" all day long. It's soooo weird. And, I'm sorry--if you have to take all of that stuff to look that way, then, obviously it's unnatural. I"m not just talking about a protein shake here...

October 20th, 2003, 10:42 AM
Let me first say that I in no way condone the use of steroids, creatine, and even supplements recreationally and without full knowledge of the consequences. I am interested in an open and objective discussion about this topic and am glad that the USMS Discussion Forum provides such a venue. However, if the concern here is about the health of the athlete and not just whether they are getting an unfair advantage, then one could just as easily condemn alcohol or smoking or any unhealthy behavior. It's important to point out that many of these performance-enhancing drugs/supplements have their origins in the medical industry as treatment or as aiding in recovery.

I personally take a multivitamin/multimineral and a protein shake supplement. At 35 years old and swimming 22,000-24,000 yards a week, plus dry-land exercises 3x a week it is nearly impossible for me to get a sufficient amount of nutrients from food alone (I consume about 3,200 cal. a day - that's a lot of food without supplements). I could argue that it probably would be unhealthy for me to try and maintain that amount of exercise and not provide an adequate amount of nutrients to replace the nutrients expended (i.e. Protein shakes, protein bars, vitamins, minerals, Gatorade, etc.).

Glucosamine has allowed my father to continue to exercise when it was beginning to look as though the joint pain was going to be too much for him to continue. If, at 62, my father competes in a Masters event is he cheating?

Just playing the devils advocate here since we seemed to jump from the steroid abuse to the use of supplements.

October 20th, 2003, 10:43 AM
From the contrary side. I can sort of understand your opinions but I have a hard time agreeing with you. I don't know how many masters swimmers use illegal performance enhancing drugs for the purpose of enhancing performance. My guess is it's too small a percentage to worry about. More than a few probably take them because of legit physical ailments. Testing would be a waste of time and at best damaging to our sport. Most everyone has already said that.

On the legal supplement side. I tend to give most people the benefit of the doubt and assume they are making an informed decision and they've weighed the pros and cons before they injest whatever they take. I also don't know where you draw the line on which legal substanes are OK and which aren't. You think you've got the qualifications to make those decisions for the rest of the world? I'd also bet the long term health damage caused by alcohol to swimmers is going to be greater than all other substances put together.

For the record, I don't take drugs or vitamins or protein shakes, etc. I don't care who does and the choices other people make don't disgust me a bit.

October 20th, 2003, 11:13 AM
Testing of masters would definitely be unreasonable (unless, maybe, for world records??). The mission statement is to promote a healthy lifestyle, not competition. (Although fast meets are a nice by-product of being healthy. :) )

At least for masters, where (in theory) we are all adults, education is preferable to testing. Maybe set up a web page, with a link to articles of health risks of different supplements/drugs, list of banned substances, etc. ?

October 20th, 2003, 11:16 AM

I agree with most of what you're saying, and, no I don't have the qualifications to make decisions on performance-enhancing drugs/supplements for the rest of the world.
The thread discussion, however, seems to me to suggest that, while health is an issue, much of the concern is over the unfair advantage athletes may be receiving. You could argue that access to better facilities, coaching, and equipment all present unfair advantages. And it seems that something Masters Swimming may not be able to provide is a level playing field. I don't think that Masters Swimming could or should do testing.

October 20th, 2003, 11:34 AM
Fritz said when I was afraid to say. I could care less what people shove in their bodies. This is Masters swimming where each person swims and/or competes for their personal reasons. We're all adults here and can make our own choices. Having Masters impose some sort of testing routine really is contrary to what Masters is about. I have no interest in being part of an organization that does that. I do have great interest in swimming with friends and competing with and against them from time to time.

I can only imagine what this would do to our very reasonable dues and what kind of rift this would cause in Masters swimming. I, for one, like Masters as it is now and don't think any sort of autocratic doping regime should be established. On the other hand, it might make for a neat section in SWIM magazine called "Police blotter, the dope pages."

Leonard Jansen
October 20th, 2003, 11:44 AM
Undoubtedly, there are some people taking interesting medications for non-medicinal reasons. Other sports with masters age athletes (Track & Field, weightlifting, etc) have seen this occur. However, please keep testing out of masters - we really don't need all the lawsuits, bickering, and finger-pointing.

If someone really needs my age group 3rd place ribbon (if I'm lucky) for some open water swim bad enough that they need to risk their health, please just ask me for it - I'll give it to you.


October 20th, 2003, 12:10 PM
I'll second that Leonard, the fact that someone would spend hundreds of dollars for their 'dietery supplements' to improve their swim time to win a medal / trophy, when they could take a few bucks to the local Awards-Trophy shop and purchase one to put on their mantel is beyond me.
I vaguely remember something about a survey from several years back involving some elite athletes. The question was if you could take a supplement that would enhance your performance, wasn't detectable (maybe was worded as being legal) but would shorten your lifespan by several years, would you take it - on that survey the scary part was something like 70% said they would. This was probably about 10 years ago, not sure if anyone else had heard of this ?


October 20th, 2003, 01:58 PM
About the testing--I don't think it belongs in Master's Swimming. If people want to put whatever in their bodies to go faster--be my guest. In our sport, it seems the negatives outweigh the positives in regards to testing.

Sure some of us are serious competitors in our sport--but many of us do this for fun and purpose--which doesn't mean we don't like winning or competing. For me personally, if someone on the juice kicks my butt in a race (by the way, a person doens't need to be to beat me!)--I wouldn't freak out about it...I would just feel sorry for them, and keep training hard.

Have any of you taken two weeks off to come back feeling out of whack?



Courteous Swimmer
October 21st, 2003, 02:47 AM
MLB players Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi have to testify before a grand jury regarding steroid use. Steroids are everywhere. They're a part of all sports. You can't compete without them.

Only reason swimming can fly under the radar screen is because it's not a mainstream sport. As a result, nothing will be done about it in swimming.

October 21st, 2003, 07:37 AM
Masters swimming is probably one of the few areas where the average age goes far beyond that of the typical sport. It seems that the professional athletes and world class competitors in their twenties have the most to gain by getting to the top with the help of pills and powders.

It's probably a stretch that fitness oriented adults would want to risk health benefits because of a potential trophy. But you never know? I'm gonna ask grandpa in the lane next to me what's in that water bottle at our next practice. He looks a little too fit for his early sixties. :)

Phil Arcuni
October 22nd, 2003, 12:50 AM
I do not know of any one in Masters that has or is taking any performance enhancing drugs. Except for lots of Advil . . .

but isn't that a performance enhancing drug?

Anyway, I can easily imagine that there are Masters swimmers out there that are taking steroids and other drugs. The motive is certainly there. Here are a few motives, many delusional, but often real in the athletes mind:

A swimmer sees performance degrading with age, and doesn't like it. Despite working harder than everyone else, the times are just not good enough, and it is unfair that so-and-so is born taller, bigger, or with a better cardiovasucular system; so-and-so doesn't deserve it because so-and-so is lazier. Its not my fault I can't recover from my hard workouts quick enough - this stuff will help be feel better by tomorrow, and I can do it again. I prove my superiority by working harder than everyone else. Everyone else is doing it. Nobody really cares how anyone places in this hobby - there is no fame or money in it, so who gets really hurt? I already spend so much money going to meets, why waste my time if I don't do everything possible to make myself faster. Winning will help justify the trip to my spouse, and I need the meets to keep working out and staying healthy. I am already wrecking my shoulder by swimming, how can a few pills make things worse? These pills actually help my shoulder recover more quickly! It is not as if I will have any more children, anyway. My work, family, is such a dead end - swimming is the one thing that makes my life fun, so it is worth it. Obviously no one cares, because no one checks.

With all of the doctors and incomes in Masters swimming, the means are certainly there.

October 22nd, 2003, 12:56 AM
Believe me the drugs alone will not do it. Even the East Germans and Chinese had to have world class ability before they took the drugs, they can't drop your time by 10 seconds in a 100 yard swim. They might help you drop 2 seconds if you are a woman and maybe a 1 second you are a guy. Its been demonstate that most steriods aid women in swimming more than men.

October 22nd, 2003, 01:09 AM
Fritz, Nobody thinks you're taking steroids, trust me ;) However; are a few too big to believe?.........

Gareth Eckley
October 22nd, 2003, 04:26 AM
In the UK today it is alleged that Dwayne Chambers, one of our top sprinters has tested positive for THG. The 'B' sample has not been tested yet so it is not definite.

There is also the story of 'Balco' labs and Barry Bonds and other clients of them on the site.

The BBC website has good info on this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/athletics/3210876.stm

There is no way that we can drug test in Masters. There is no prize money, so why cheat. I also don't think that the improvements for someone aged 40 - 50 would be that great.

Could i go from 30 seconds for the 50m free to 25.5 seconds just by taking some drugs ? I don't think so ! The time difference is down to the faster swimmer having a great body for swimming, great ankle and shoulder flexibility, years of effective training, superior technique and a superior cardio - vascular system. Some steroid cannot make all that up.

A swimmer who already has all of these attributes could maybe gain 5%. But seriously if the swimmer was this good and inclined to cheat then they would be on the senior circuit where they could win some money not swimming at masters meets !!!

October 22nd, 2003, 09:26 AM
So what did people think about the SwimInfo article on the reinstatement of Michael Picotte? Two points caught my eye:
1) Picotte said he plans to compete in Masters meets until he is eligible to swim in USA Swimming and international events.
Hmm... every time I think I have a (remote) chance of getting a Top10 time, an Olympian in my age group decides to pop up. :p
2) A chastened Picotte told SwimInfo: "I was wrong in refusing the test two years ago and deserve the punishment I received. I believe rigorous drug-testing is essential if our sport is to remain clean."
I was impressed by this. He gets banned despite not testing positive, but recognizes his mistake, and puts the good of the sport ahead of himself.

October 22nd, 2003, 11:27 AM
Originally posted by ATLPSU
Fritz, Nobody thinks you're taking steroids, trust me ;) However; are a few too big to believe?.........

I don't know. Maybe I'm just not paying enough attention. I've not seen anything at national meets that made me wonder about the source. Some people are just fast.

October 22nd, 2003, 04:17 PM
The USA Swimming website has a section addressing supplements. The bottom line: take at your own risk. Apparently an investigation of 900 supplements found that 15% contain substances which would yield a positive drug test.

Peter Cruise
October 22nd, 2003, 09:35 PM
I have spent two days researching this topic in light of the recent events (boy, the internet makes things easier): first, I'll reiterate that I don't think that anyone is proposing testing masters swimmers, second, I think the actual percentage of masters swimmers using illegal drugs is miniscule- but that there are a fair number that I have met that rush to embrace any 'legal' performance-enhancing potion that claims results (and I'm not talking nutritive milkshakes)- so they should clearly understand that it is a stupid thing to do.
What is more alarming, and I am speaking as a fan now, is that there is a great deal of evidence that in the big money sports which for some seems to include open international swimming, the cheats are going to stay two steps ahead of the testing & this is just using sophisticated masking agents. What happens when we start to have both genetic tinkering to enhance future performance (the East Germans would have used it in a flash) & tame-viral work on our own cellular structure to enhance function?
Again, as a fan, it dulls my interest & is a damn shame. It seems that it will cost zillions for sports to try & keep up with this & probably futile. Any thoughts?

October 22nd, 2003, 11:17 PM
Originally posted by Peter Cruise
I have spent two days researching this topic in light of the recent events (boy, the internet makes things easier): first, I'll reiterate that I don't think that anyone is proposing testing masters swimmers, second, I think the actual percentage of masters swimmers using illegal drugs is miniscule- but that there are a fair number that I have met that rush to embrace any 'legal' performance-enhancing potion that claims results (and I'm not talking nutritive milkshakes)- so they should clearly understand that it is a stupid thing to do.
What is more alarming, and I am speaking as a fan now, is that there is a great deal of evidence that in the big money sports which for some seems to include open international swimming, the cheats are going to stay two steps ahead of the testing & this is just using sophisticated masking agents. What happens when we start to have both genetic tinkering to enhance future performance (the East Germans would have used it in a flash) & tame-viral work on our own cellular structure to enhance function?
Again, as a fan, it dulls my interest & is a damn shame. It seems that it will cost zillions for sports to try & keep up with this & probably futile. Any thoughts?

A couple of thoughts.

What is stupid to you obviously isn't to many others. You're entitled to your opinion and I'm entitled to mine and for the life of me, I can't understand what's so bothersome about what 'legal' things people do. These grownup intelligent people have made their choices. In the end, it's you in the lane by yourself. What others have or haven't done isn't relevant. That's one of the things I find so great about the sport. I'm looking at this purely from a competitive point of view. If you are honestly worried about their health than that's admirable but you can't force people to make decisions the way you would.

There's a part of me that really does hope a massive doping conspiracy is found. Maybe all the fans will wake up and realize that these people they've evalated to the highest levels aren't heros. I'm afraid it all has to hit rock bottom before any change can happen and maybe if half of our best runners and swimmers and ball players are found guilty of doping and are banned from their sports for life something will happen. I won't hold my breath.

I lost my zeal for most big time sports a long time ago. I'd much rather watch, and swim with, Bill Specht, Clay Britt, Paul Smith, Phil Arcuni, Peter Cruise, and Ion Beza. I just realized these are all men. My apologies to the women. I was going to say I like to watch women too but that just sounds funny.

Phil Arcuni
October 23rd, 2003, 10:44 PM
Wow, am I pleased to be on that list!

Fritz, I hear you will get a chance to watch my sister this Saturday at a meet - go ahead, you can watch! (and say hello if you get a chance. She is a much better person than I am.)

I am disillusioned and pessimistic about drugs in sports. One problem, while I know I would never do it, is that the arguments against performance enhancing drugs are pretty weak. The long term damage argument doesn't fly - just look at the long term damage athletes already accept (for example, boxing and brain damage, football and near 100% chance of career ending injury, gymnastics and long term diet problems, sumo wrestling and short life caused by diet, swimming and dry, flakey skin . . .)

Similarly for drugs creating an 'unequal playing field.' Come on! the field is already unequal; some athletes have more ability than others. What is the line between iproved technology of training aids and improved technology of diet and improved technology of dietary supplements?

Some day there will be two types of competitions - the 'natural' competition and the competition between the atheletes that are the best science can make them. I'll bet that the latter will be more popular.

October 24th, 2003, 05:49 AM

Excellent post, well stated. I believe body buidling already has a "natural" comptetition division. (I guess that makes the other guys unnaturual or something).

It's funny to see the natural guys next to the other ones. Looks like me next to them (well, not really, but you get the picture). You don't see the natural folks on the covers of magazines or on ESPN.

So, you are correct in regards to bodybuilding in that the latter is definitely more popular.

Also, while gross long term abuse of performance enhancing drugs has been shown to possibly cause long term term health consequences, I do not believe any case has ever been made for moderate short term use health consequences. Given that, I also agree with you that the arguments against are pretty weak.

I think it really comes down to a morality play.

October 24th, 2003, 08:16 AM
Phil, the point about technology improving training aids and dietary supplements is excellent. Whats the difference between a swimmer wearing one of the techno suits during a meet and taking a dietary aid to improve his/her time?

As a byline, I attended an age group meet this past weekend. One of the kids, oh maybe 12 or 14, was wearing one of the high tech suits. He didn't win either. I thought it was very sad that he was trying to compensate for something, like lack of training or lack of skill, at such a young age.


Tom Ellison
October 24th, 2003, 09:15 AM
Regardless of what type argument it is, moral or common sense, using illegal drug for performance enhancement (at this point in time), is plain and simple cheating. I for one, hope the governing bodies in sports continue to outlaw the use of performance enhancing drugs. Winning at any cost in NOT winning, in this case, it's winning while driving to the cemetery.
Most, if not all sport endeavors at the beginning level are designed to instill good sportsmanship in our children. It teaches goal setting, dedication, hard work, decency, commitment and many other positive things in life. How can we possibly justify telling our children that it is OK to use performance enhancing drugs to win, all the while knowing it will cause serious long term health problems? Entertaining the use of this junk is a very slippery road I hope we never travel down.

October 24th, 2003, 09:47 AM

What are the serious long term consequences you are referring to? Specfically, what drugs are you referring to? The media parades a few sick athletes in front of us that have grossly abused steroids for decades and we then draw the inference that you will immediately die if you use at all. Talk about a slippery slope.

I don't personally take performance enhancing drugs but I beleive all the hyperbole over immediate death, the downfall of all competitive sports and poor examples for all children is over the top. It's hard to have any meaningful discussion of this topic when such extremes are thrown out without supporting evidence.

Tom Ellison
October 24th, 2003, 10:56 AM
Gosh, I think there is enough supporting evidence out there for us to look at if we chose to believe what we read. I have not advocated a quick death scenario with the use of steroids because the evidence does not indicate that. Having said that, long term steriod use has been proven to cause serious health problems and many studies indicate this in vivid detail.

Steroid Use “Health Problems”:
• Reduction in HDL, the “good” cholesterol.
• Roid Rages (wide mood swings with periods of violent, even homicidal episodes)
• High blood pressure
• Liver damage and cancers
• Increased chance of injury to tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
• Jaundice
• Trembling
• Depression
• Paranoid, jealousy, extreme irritability, and delusions.
• Impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility.
• Other side and ill-effects are male specific and female specific
I do not have time right now to research the studies indicating the above mentioned health problems, but I will, if you would like to see clinical evidence of the health problems associate with the use of steroids.

Tom Ellison
October 24th, 2003, 11:26 AM
Here are a few studies regarding the dangers of steroid use:

Bahrke, M.S., Yesalis, C.E., and Wright, J.E. Psychological and behavioral effects of endogenous testosterone and anabolic-androgenic steroids: an update. Sports Medicine 22(6): 367-390, 1996.

Blue, J.G., and Lombardo, J.A. Steroids and steroid-like compounds. Clinics in Sports Medicine 18(3): 667-689, 1999.

Bronson, F.H., and Matherne, C.M. Exposure to anabolic-androgenic steroids shortens life span of male mice. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 29(5): 615-619, 1997.

Brower, K.J. Withdrawal from anabolic steroids. Current Therapy in Endocrinology and Metabolism 6: 338-343, 1997.

Elliot, D., and Goldberg, L. Intervention and prevention of steroid use in adolescents. The American Journal of Sports Medicine 24(6): S46-S47, 1996.

Goldberg, L., et al. Anabolic steroid education and adolescents: Do scare tactics work? Pediatrics 87(3): 283-286, 1991.

Goldberg, L., et al. Effects of a multidimensional anabolic steroid prevention intervention: The Adolescents Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids (ATLAS) Program. Journal of the American Medical Association 276(19): 1555-1562, 1996.

Goldberg, L., et al. The ATLAS program: Preventing drug use and promoting health behaviors. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 154: 332-338, 2000.

Gruber, A.J., and Pope, H.G., Jr. Compulsive weight lifting and anabolic drug abuse among women rape victims. Comprehensive Psychiatry 40(4): 273-277, 1999.

Gruber, A.J., and Pope, H.G., Jr. Psychiatric and medical effects of anabolic-androgenic steroid use in women. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 69: 19-26, 2000.

Hoberman, J.M., and Yesalis, C.E. The history of synthetic testosterone. Scientific American 272(2): 76-81, 1995.

Leder, B.Z., et al. Oral androstenedione administration and serum testosterone concentrations in young men. Journal of the American Medical Association 283(6): 779-782, 2000.

The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics. Creatine and androstenedione-two "dietary supplements." 40(1039): 105-106, 1998.

Middleman, A.B, et al. High-risk behaviors among high school students in Massachusetts who use anabolic steroids. Pediatrics 96(2): 268-272, 1995.

Pope, H.G., Jr., Kouri, E.M., and Hudson, M.D. Effects of supraphysiologic doses of testosterone on mood and aggression in normal men. Archives of General Psychiatry 57(2): 133-140, 2000.

Porcerelli, J.H., and Sandler, B.A. Anabolic-androgenic steroid abuse and psychopathology. Psychiatric Clinics of North America 21(4): 829-833, 1998.

Porcerelli, J.H., and Sandler, B.A. Narcissism and empathy in steroid users. American Journal of Psychiatry 152(11): 1672-1674, 1995.

Rich, J.D., Dickinson, B.P., Flanigan, T.P., and Valone, S.E. Abscess related to anabolic-androgenic steroid injection. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 31(2): 207-209, 1999.

Su, T.-P., et al. Neuropsychiatric effects of anabolic steroids in male normal volunteers. Journal of the American Medical Association 269(21): 2760-2764, 1993.

Sullivan, M.L., Martinez, C.M., Gennis, P., and Gallagher, E.J. The cardiac toxicity of anabolic steroids. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases 41(1): 1-15, 1998.

Yesalis, C.E. Anabolic Steroids in Sports and Exercise, 2nd edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.In press.

Yesalis, C.E. Androstenedione. Sport Dietary Supplements Update, 2000, E-SportMed.com.

Yesalis, C.E. Trends in anabolic-androgenic steroid use among adolescents. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 151: 1197-1206, 1997.

Yesalis, C.E., Kennedy, N.J., Kopstein, A.N., and Bahrke, M.S. Anabolic-androgenic steroid use in the United States. Journal of the American Medical Association 270(10): 1217-1221, 1993.

Zorpette, G. Andro angst. Scientific American 279(6): 22-26, 1998.

October 24th, 2003, 11:26 AM
Most of those are anecdotal based on extreme users of steroids and fruther emphasizes my point. Cancers? C'mon, what doesn't cause cancer?

Big Macs also cause the health risks you have identified below. The broad range of generic health items you list below can be associated with about a million things we do or encounter daily. If a person who doesn't take steroids has an incident of road rage and has HPB, what causes that versus a steroid user that does the same thing?

Even if what you say below is entirely correct, so what? A person can do what he/she wants. I don't hold this view for athlete participating in santioned Olympic events, just those of use slogging away in the pool.

October 24th, 2003, 11:31 AM
Please, look carefully at your list. Give me a break here. A google search that returns articles on Steroids and Victims of Rape, Helping adolescents avoid steroids, the history of steroids? What's the relevance?

Stop being big brother. If a person wants to read those articles AND still use steroids, let them. Otherwise, all that is proven is your ability to use google.

Leonard Jansen
October 24th, 2003, 11:45 AM
The consequences of steroid, EPO abuse and the like are fairly well known. What is not exactly known in most cases is the amount/duration at which negative things occur, especially since many of these affect individuals differently.

Some interesting fact, however:
1) I am quoting from fuzzy memory here, but I'm sure that some digging on google might produce the source... Some years back a Ukrainian group did a statistical analysis of the age of death of Soviet Olympic athletes from the 1950's (when the Soviets first competed in the Olympics) to whatever was current at the time of the study. Since there is fairly strong circumstancial evidence that the Soviets did have an extensive Olympic drug plan in effect, the inference was to see what effect the (ab)use of steroids, etc had on mortality. They found that there was less than one chance in 400 that the number and demographic distribution of deaths might have occured naturally.

2) The numerous horror stories coming out of the former East Germany about athletes who were put on a drug program, who now are crippled, infertile, have other severe health problems or have died. The Stasi (East German secret police) files make direct links possible.

3) 17 (I think that is the number) Dutch and Belgian cyclists died in the mid-late 1990's period and their deaths were officially attributed to EPO usage.

Sure, feel free to abuse the crap if you want. Same thing if you want to play Russian roulette: Go ahead - I'm all for allowing Darwinism to improve the gene pool and just because stupidity is not illegal means that some people will abuse the privledge.


Tom Ellison
October 24th, 2003, 11:51 AM
Wow, I have been called a lot of things in my day, but big brother is a first. I am not playing big brother and have no interest in that. Some of these studies I have read in articles on steroid use. I simply listed a few from the internet. The CDC has studies on the ill health effects on steroid us along with many University studies. As with anything is life, we can pick and chose what we wish to believe and we can discard what we chose to not believe.
I believe the ill effects are obvious and that is my choice. Having said that, I stand on my belief that using illegal drug to enhance performance in sports is plain and simple cheating, not to mention short sighted where a persons health is concerned.
Lastly, I have always been of the mind that people have choices and if athletes chose to use drugs that are proven to cause harmful health problems, that is their choice and their decision. I am not their father or their “big brother” and could care less if they cause harm to their bodies. What I do care about is robbing a hard working athlete of their rightful place on the winners block because of the use of these drugs. Call it whatever you like, cheating is always going to be just that, cheating.

October 24th, 2003, 12:28 PM
I think I'm coming off as a steroid pusher here, which isn't true. But, my message certainly could be read that way.

I just generally could care less what people put into their bodies. It doesn't phase me a bit if the guy on the blocks next to me is 50% human and 50% juice. I'm not there to beat him. I'm there to beat myself.

I think it's probably rather dumb to load up on the stuff but that's your choice, not mine. It's probably a much worse idea to eat fast food daily and I'm sure more Americans do that every day than take steroids. That is a real crisis, not steroid use by ahtletes.

The Russians and East Germans pumped their athletes so full of chemicals they probably glowed. And, no doubt some are suffering some consequences.

I guess we all worry about what matters. To me, steroid use is down on the list.

October 24th, 2003, 01:16 PM
Originally posted by Phil Arcuni
Wow, am I pleased to be on that list!

Fritz, I hear you will get a chance to watch my sister this Saturday at a meet - go ahead, you can watch! (and say hello if you get a chance. She is a much better person than I am.)

I am disillusioned and pessimistic about drugs in sports. One problem, while I know I would never do it, is that the arguments against performance enhancing drugs are pretty weak. The long term damage argument doesn't fly - just look at the long term damage athletes already accept (for example, boxing and brain damage, football and near 100% chance of career ending injury, gymnastics and long term diet problems, sumo wrestling and short life caused by diet, swimming and dry, flakey skin . . .)

Similarly for drugs creating an 'unequal playing field.' Come on! the field is already unequal; some athletes have more ability than others. What is the line between iproved technology of training aids and improved technology of diet and improved technology of dietary supplements?

Some day there will be two types of competitions - the 'natural' competition and the competition between the atheletes that are the best science can make them. I'll bet that the latter will be more popular.

I've exchanged several emails with your sister. Sounds like this is her first meet so we'll take good care of her. Otherwise you might start going 25,000 per week, cut out the snacks, and double your advil intake just to get even with us.

Matt S
October 24th, 2003, 02:05 PM

First, before I disagree with you, let me start by saying I appreciate your willingness to raise this issue and make an argument against prevailing opinion. I think this is a worthwhile discussion and I appreciate your willingness to take the heat (which I am about to apply) necessary to get it started.

Having said that, I am amazed that you would discount the immediate and/or long term health risks associated with many performance enhancing substances. I believe there is no reasonable dispute that regular use of steroids over an athlete's career, or some substantial portion of it, will cause all sorts of health problems later on. I believe there is no resonable dispute that you can overdose on certain substances taken to enhance your immediate performance, e.g. amphetimines or EPO, and risk immediate death or disability. Moreover, some of these substances are addictive. You may start out only wanting to go faster, and end up a druggie, with neither a swimming career, nor a life any rational person would want. Please, don't start this discussion on permitting the use of performance enhancing drugs with the erroneous suggestion that the risks are minimal. As I will discuss below, the way people will actually use them will change.

You seem to have in mind a scenario where someone takes a moderate amount of seriods (or some other substance that primarily helps recovery during training, not immediate performance enhancement) in the precompetition phase of their training cycle. That is what people do today, but that is because they don't want to get caught. They will be tested when they compete, and may be spot checked while training. They don't down amphetimines the morning of the meet because they know they will get caught. They use smaller amounts of steroids to avoid being detected. If you allow any drug use, those limits go away. Then it will be a competition of whose body can stand the most chemical abuse.

This is the primary reason why I am not OK with allowing use of these substances. A little drugs in moderation may not be all that dangerous. (After all, we do use drugs to treat medical conditions.) But if you tell people anything is permitted, the people who are willing to take on the greatest amount of risk will cause everyone else to follow suit, or fall out of competition. It may be true that simply competing in some sports causes health problems later in life, but I would pefer that Olympic Champions NOT drop dead from drug use before the next Olympic Games roll around.


October 24th, 2003, 02:33 PM
If, indeed, the concern here is exclusively the health (short-term or long-term) of the Masters swimmer, then one could argue that USMS would also need a policy on the use and abuse of alcohol, the use and abuse of recreational drugs, high-risk sexual activity, high-fat diets (and if anyone tries to take away my cheese their in for a fight!), etc. I’m fairly sure that most folks would consider this a clear infringement on their personal lives.

So, I don’t believe that health is the only concern of many of the swimmers posting here. The one element we can’t remove from this issue is the perception that someone is receiving an unfair advantage.

Ask yourself: Can I except the possibility that my competitor may be taking performance-enhancing products and still enjoy Masters swimming?

October 24th, 2003, 03:36 PM
Originally posted by snorkel
If, indeed, the concern here is exclusively the health (short-term or long-term) of the Masters swimmer, then one could argue that USMS would also need a policy on the use and abuse of alcohol, the use and abuse of recreational drugs, high-risk sexual activity, high-fat diets (and if anyone tries to take away my cheese their in for a fight!), etc. I’m fairly sure that most folks would consider this a clear infringement on their personal lives.

So, I don’t believe that health is the only concern of many of the swimmers posting here. The one element we can’t remove from this issue is the perception that someone is receiving an unfair advantage.

Ask yourself: Can I except the possibility that my competitor may be taking performance-enhancing products and still enjoy Masters swimming?


October 24th, 2003, 04:31 PM
You guys certainly have put a lot more thought into my thoughts than I thought was possible.

No one has ever said that chronic abuse of steroids is acceptable, any more than downing a 12 pack every night is acceptable. Wait, alcohol and steroids are both legal, even if abused, so both might be acceptable. Forget that argument.

I have yet to see a convincing argument in this forum on how this is impacting Masters Swimming. It's not in the least.

I read over and over the slippery slope arguments how if we allow one to use steroids we will all become junked up uber swimmers and then society melts down. That might have been the argument for prohibition but we didn't all turn into drunks when it was repealed. Instead, we gradually became big fat lazy people who drink a lot. So, I'm still not sure of the fuss. If I want to take steroids, back off, I have good health insurance for when I grow fantastic man breasts and need them reduced.

So, let's just move on. We aren't going to convince each other. When The Man shows up at my door for the urine test cause I finally swam halfway fast, I'll have you to thank I guess. In the meantime, I'm going to chew on a bag of pine bark cause I hear that helps you swim faster.

October 24th, 2003, 11:03 PM
I kind of disagree, while in master taking steriods, or sleeping around with dozens of people, or taking recreational drugs or boozing it too much, or smoking are health hazards, steriods at the elite level of swimming is another matter. The East Germans and the Chinese were a government run program, that's a lot worst than some swimmers taking it on their own. The worst thing is for a private team or a swim federation to get their swimmers to take steriods and risk their health.

October 25th, 2003, 12:37 AM
Have just looked in after a month's absence, and am intrigued by the ongoing discussion. For the record, a couple of months ago, I posted a question about Phosfuel, an over-the-counter "performance enhancer". Never got a reply. It was recommended to me a couple of years ago to combat lactic acid buildup. My question was, and still is, should Phosfuel be used by Masters Swimmers? Also, in one of the preceding posts, reference was made to Glucosamine. I have been using it for about nine months to relieve arthritis in my hand (I am 73). The inference in the post was that Glucosamine is somehow a performance enhancing substance. Is it? Should Masters Swimmers be using it for that purpose?

October 25th, 2003, 08:23 AM
Glucosamine is not by definition a performance enhancing drug. To argue that it (or drugs like Advil) are "performance enhancing" is just a rationalization to justify the use of anabolic steroids. As for the question of whether anabolic steroids really are harmful--well, some things are true whether you believe them or not.

Tom Ellison
October 25th, 2003, 10:08 AM
Craig, you hit the nail on the head in your post!
Hellen Keller and Stevie Wonder could hold hands and read the dangers and SEE clearly the ill effects caused by steroids, but some people just will not admit the obvious.

Phil Arcuni
October 25th, 2003, 12:44 PM
No one here is using "rationalization to justify the use of anabolic steroids." No justification here. Also, no one here claims that steroids are safe or that they do not cause ill effects. I was going to let my posts on this subject rest, but establishments of straw men always gets me upset. Please read what's posted and respond to it.

I am interested in keeping high-level athletes off of steroids and other drugs - my post was a concern that the arguments need to be better if the effort is to succeed. If the arguments *can't* be made better, perhaps it is a lost cause.

There are many drugs on the prohibited list that are not anabolic steroids. These include amphetamines, barbituates, antihistamines, stimulants like caffeine (in excess amounts), drugs used for asthma control, and probably drugs used for high blood pressure and diabetes control, for all I know, and many other drugs that most people use all of the time. Athletes have trouble keeping these drugs out of their system, and I suspect a large fraction of Masters swimmers would fail drug tests, if they were taken.

Just because a drug has made it to everyday use does not mean it is not performance enhancing, or that it can't be taken in excess and cause damage. Advil is an example of that. How is it not performance enhancing? How will it not damage someone who takes, say, 10,000 mg a day? What is the fundamental difference? (for the record, I do not take Advil or other aspirin derivatives (except when I broke my ribs), because, honestly, I think it would be cheating. I do not hold others to the same standard that I hold myself.)

My point was that if you want to prohibit performance enhancing drugs you need better arguments. There is no evidence that the "proper" use of steroids is unusually dangerous, when compared to dangerous activities that athletes do all of the time. I think we should be carefull about excessive claims for a subject. They only, in the end, make the case weaker. For example, the extreme claims made about the dangers of marijuana (for those of you that remember the 50's) made it seem less dangerous than it really is, when it was realized that it was not as dangerous as the propaganda made it seem. A tempted athlete can look around and see other cheaters doing perfectly well, with none of the physical dangers that we read about. It invalidates the whole argument because the statements were too extreme.

I have been told many times that "some things are true whether you believe them or not." It is a near automatic sign that the thing discussed either is wrong, or can't be proven. I hope that we can do better than try to end discussions that way.

Tom Ellison
October 25th, 2003, 01:41 PM
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink...

October 25th, 2003, 03:28 PM
The potential adverse effects of anabolic steroids are well documented in the medical literature--I don't see the point in debating this issue.

I also fail to see how Advil can be compared to an anabolic steroid--the former is FDA-approved for over the counter use, while the latter is a Schedule III controlled substance. The "proper" use of anabolic steroids is in the treatment of specific medical conditions (e.g. hypogonadism in men, inoperable metatatic breast cancer in women) under the supervision of a qualified physician. No argument will dissuade a determined individual from trying to circumvent the existing regulations and obtain these drugs, hence the need for drug testing.

Yes, anything in excess (even water) can be harmful or fatal. The more pertinent question is what exactly defines "performance-enhancing." Has anyone actually read the relevant document at http://www.usantidoping.org?

Phil Arcuni
October 25th, 2003, 05:23 PM
The potential adverse effects of anabolic steroids are well documented in the medical literature--I don't see the point in debating this issue.

Which is exactly why you won't see me debating the issue; why do you keep changing the subject and bringing it up? Your insistence that I or others think it is safe, when we don't, is the reason your post was so irritating.

But not as irritating as Tom's . . .

Phil Arcuni
October 25th, 2003, 06:01 PM
Craig, I reviewed the site and could not find a definition of 'performance enhancing.' Perhaps you could find it for me.

Otherwise, I'll define it the naive way - something that enhances the takers ability to perform, as evaluated by the sport in question. In swimming, it enhances the ability to swim faster. On those weekends that Pacific has a championship, I will often swim 11 events in two days. During the second day I am sore and stiff - I have no doubt that taking some Advil the night before and the morning of would have made me feel better, sleep better, and probably swim faster. Thus, in enhances my performance. Last time I wanted to get 600 mg pills of Ibuprofin, I needed a prescription, but I do agree it is in a different legal status.

One could, I suppose, define performance enhancing as anything on the proscribed list, which by implication is the attitude taken by the web site you pointed out to us. Such a legalistic argument ignores the ethical basis of the rule, and is what lets athletes in the current situation feel morally justified saying things like "I did not knowingly take an illegal substance" when what they took was an unknown type of steroid. We should be paying attention to the spirit of the law, not the letter.

By the way, I did find some text at that site which made it clear that 'performance enhancing' was enough to make a substance proscribed. Hazardous was not necessary. If that is true, we need to make a better distinction between the performance enhancing character of steroids, Advil, caffeine, vitamins, shoulder surgery, sleeping in altitude tents, and interval training.

October 25th, 2003, 06:46 PM
For Information Only:

October 23, 2003
American College of Sports Medicine Calls for Increased Vigilance in Identifying and Eradicating Steroid Use

INDIANAPOLIS – The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) today condemned the development and use of new “designer” steroids. ACSM considers chemicals, such as the recently identified Tetrahydrogestrinone, or THG, developed and cloaked to avoid detection by doping tests, as serious threats to the health and safety of athletes, as well as detriments to the principle of fair play in sports. Any effort to veil or disguise steroid use in sports through stealth, designer, or precursor means, puts elite, amateur and even recreational athletes at risk.

The health risks associated with steroid use are severe. Anabolic steroid use has been implicated in early heart disease, including sudden death, the increase of bad cholesterol profiles (increased LDL, lower HDL), an increase in tendon injuries, liver tumors, testicular atrophy, gynecomastia (abnormal enlargement of breasts in males), male pattern baldness, severe acne, premature closure of growth plates in adolescents, emotional disturbances and other significant health risks. The health risks of designer steroids compared to or beyond symptoms of anabolic steroid use are currently unknown.

“No one knows the extent of this yet,” said Gary I. Wadler, M.D., FACSM. “If there is one great concern that THG has exposed, it’s the potential that other non-detectable anabolic steroids may be in the pipeline. The scientific and public health implications of this issue are quite disconcerting.” Wadler, an ACSM sports medicine physician who serves on the Health, Medical and Research Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and is a leading international authority on doping in sports, says the appearance of these new drugs and their use models dangerous behavior, potentially causing physical and psychological damage to young athletes.

ACSM calls for national compliance with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) regulations and to the World Anti-doping Code. Further, the College stresses the need for “clean” athletes, those not taking performance-enhancing drugs or supplements, to publicly deplore the use of steroids among their teammates and peers. ACSM underscores the critical leadership role clean athletes can take in disavowing performance-enhancing drug use and advocating fair play to protect the integrity of sports competition. Other individuals who influence young athletes, such as parents and coaches, should establish a no-tolerance policy for performance-enhancing substances, and intervene whenever necessary.

In the past 20 years, sports governing bodies have made substantial efforts to eradicate steroid use. Drug testing implemented by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, for example, has been instrumental in decreasing the use of steroids among college athletes. Last year, ACSM called for mandatory testing for steroid use in Major League Baseball. (ACSM’s Position Stand, “The Use of Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids in Sports,” ACSM condemns the use of these drugs among athletes. To read a copy of this Position Stand, please visit http://www.acsm-msse.org). Yet, information gathered very recently, over just the past few years, indicates an upward trend in steroid use among amateur athletes at the college and even high school levels.

The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 20,000 International, National, and Regional members are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

American College of Sports Medicine
P.O. Box 1440
Indianapolis, IN 46206-1440

October 26th, 2003, 07:58 AM
Apparently, Phil, the rest of the world does not share your view of what "performance enhancing" really means. Sure other drugs, including many normally innocuous over the counter medications, are included on the list, most by virtue of the fact that they contain banned substances, primarily stimulants. Athletes are cautioned that the list is not all-inclusive, and other medications or supplements may yield a positive drug test. And no, the treatment of diabetes and for the most part hypertension is not affected (insulin use requires physician documentation, while diuretics are banned due to their ability to mask other drugs in a urine test).

Parsing the definition of "performance enhancing" was not the subject of this thread and only serves to minimize the very real problem of anabolic steroid abuse. Some here have in fact questioned the magnitude of the risk, others have implied it is a matter of personal choice and have referred to "proper" use of the drugs (off label and without a doctor's prescription, of course). My post, though irritating to you, was intended to address these issues.

Finally, I do not believe we need better arguments or a more precise definition of performance enhancing. The athletes are well aware of the health issues and the existing regulations. It is demand that has led to the creation of the less easily detected "designer" steroids.

October 26th, 2003, 09:37 AM
I found it ironic that Tom chose to use the expression about leading a horse to water in the context of this debate.

Most people know that championship race horses are probably the most steroid pumped "athletes" on the planet.

And, gull80, please note most steroids are also FDA approved so please drop that argument. My daughter was recently prescribed a two day dose for the croup. She went out and swam a mile in 10 minutes, moved 5 or 6 large boulders and had energy to spare. I asked for some of the good stuff but her doctor refused me.

Random thoughts, just for laughs.

October 26th, 2003, 12:23 PM
Aquageek, your daughter was prescribed a corticosteroid, not an anabolic steroid. And yes, anabolic steroids are FDA approved as Schedule III controlled substances, as I stated in an earlier post. A Schedule III controlled substance can only be prescribed by a physician who is registered with the DEA. Such prescriptions are tracked by the DEA to ensure proper usage.

October 26th, 2003, 03:59 PM
Like I said, she was prescribed a steroid, which is FDA approved. Thanks.

October 26th, 2003, 04:18 PM
To say your daughter received a steroid, I assume to prove a point, is an oversimplification. The term steroid refers to those hormones which share a fundamental precursor, either cholesterol or 7-deoxyhydrocholesterol. The steroid hormones all have different functions. I would hope that your daughter received a corticosteroid like prednisone, rather than, say, estrogen or progesterone, which are also steroid hormones.

Phil Arcuni
October 27th, 2003, 12:17 AM
Well Craig, just because you or I say something is true doesn't make it true. We both need a little more than assertions. I do say the argument against anabolic steroids is too weak, but I am also explaining why. I have heard three arguments against them: 1) they are dangerous, 2) they are cheating, and 3) they are illegal. Of course, there are really two reasons, because presumably steroids are illegal because they are hazardous and/or cheating.

The current enforcement regime is failing, either because the athletes do not believe in the policy, or the enforcers do not really believe in the policy. I think a little of both. If we want these people to buy into it, we have to make a coherent and rational justification for it (the policy.) The problem is that

1) If anabolic steroids are so dangerous that they should be outlawed, they should be more dangerous than sports-related activities that are allowed. Otherwise steroids will not appear, to the athlete, as dangerous (enough). In some cases I think it can be argued that a sport itself is more dangerous than steroids. In this category I include american football and boxing. I think a systematic scientific analysis would show more injuries and damage, when all injuries are included, with participants in these sports than with steroid users. Just because a destroyed knee is less freaky than shriveled gonads does not make it less serious. Of course a football player will not be that concerned about the effects of steroids, when the next game could put them in the hospital.
Other sports have things happening that most people agree are wrong, but are accepted nonetheless. My least favorite example of this is delayed menarch for girl gymnasts. What are the long-term consequences of that?

2) If anabolic steroids are cheating, why? Is it because they are performance enhancing? (thus my parsing, see below.) Certainly some athletes are fortunate enough to get advantages that other athletes don't get - growing up in a wealthy country is one. But is it cheating? In a sense steroids are the everyman's equalizer - they are relatively cheap and easy to get, thus nullifying some of the advantages of genes, wealth, or olympic training camps that the more fortunate athletes get. Athletes are expected to find whatever legal performance enhancing things they can. Otherwise they are considered lazy.
Yes I agree that taking steroids is cheating because they are illegal, and the law-abiding athlete would not take them. That begs the question as to why they are illegal. If the reasons for the illegallity seems arbitrary, people are going to break the rules.

The definition of performance enhancing is important, because evidently a substance can be placed on the proscribed list only because it is performance enhancing. I parsed the meaning of that term because of these two quotes from Craig:

To argue that it (or drugs like Advil) are "performance enhancing" is just a rationalization to justify the use of anabolic steroids.


The more pertinent question is what exactly defines "performance-enhancing."

So I tried to find out, and I suggested a meaning. If my definition is different from that of most people in the world, please tell me how most people define it. Then convince me that it is a better definition than mine. Then tell me what makes anabolic steroids so uniquely 'performance enhancing' that they should be banned.

Craig, evidently you understood the arguments in this thread pretty well. What was irritating was your response that "anabolic steroids are dangerous, despite what people on this thread say." But no one said they weren't dangerous; you were pretending that others made such a simplistic argument. This simplistic argument is much easier to argue against than the one actually made.

October 27th, 2003, 08:41 AM
To me, as a physician, the distinction between what is and isn't banned seems intuitive. I believe that drugs are to be used in the treatment or prevention of specific symptons and disease processes. All of the drugs in question have specific FDA approved indications for use. Athletes use the banned substances to gain an advantage, not for the treatment of a medical condition. The decision to allow nonnarcotic pain relievers is reasonable in my mind, as they are being used to treat real symptoms and injuries.

There are several issues here. One is that of fair play as determined by sports' governing bodies. Another is the legal issue, e.g. illegally obtaining a controlled substance (in the case of anabolic steroids). A third is public safety, where our institutions sometimes have to protect us from ourselves. And finally there is the issue of medical ethics (first, do no harm) where drugs are given to healthy athletes for the sole purpose of enhancing performance.

Tom Ellison
October 27th, 2003, 09:29 AM
Gosh, I am sorry my post irritated you Phil.

Perhaps I should have posted, “You can lead a horse to water, (as long as he/she is not using illegal performance enhancing drugs), but you can’t make him/her drink, (as long as the horse has not made arguments that are considered inflammatory by fellow posters).

Of course, when I refer to horses here in, I am ONLY referring to horses that are drug free and have never used performance enhancing drugs. Thus, they qualify as a reference point to make my point. Which is, cut the quarter anyway you like, say it anyway you like, dissect it anyway you like, but the facts are still just that, FACTS, steroid use to enhance performance in athletics is illegal and proven to be a health hazard. That was and IS my point. Another point I have attempted to make is one of punishment if caught. I believe anyone caught using anabolic steroids to enhance performance in athletics should be lifetime banned!

I do not know what horse trainers give horses with respect to steroids. I do know that the horse racing industry is one of the most regulated industries in the world. Every horse is tested many, many times to ensure the playing field is equal and abiding by the rules set forth in horse racing. In short, the governing bodies that control this industry are extremely dedicated to ensuring everything is on the up and up regarding the use of illegal drugs in horse racing. TRUST ME, you get caught cheating in this industry and you will not like the program!

October 27th, 2003, 09:31 AM
I've been waiting for gull to finally admit what he has danced around this whole ludicrous post, namely that he is a doctor.

I find it comical when doctors stand up an tout ethics, do no harm, protect us from each other like some godlike entities, when no group of people is more beholden to the pharmaceutical companices, including the ones that market and sell steroids.

Our medical institutions and establishments have long lagged behind society in the realm of non-traditonal or non-institutional treatments. It doesn't surprise me at all a doctor would discount any benefit from supplements (Note to gull, I did not say steroids).

I really don't need to be protected from myself. I am capable of decisions, as are most Masters swimmers, I suspect.

October 27th, 2003, 09:40 AM
Aquageek, you appear to be misinformed. I have never hidden the fact that I am a doctor. It is listed in my profile, and I have mentioned this in previous posts. Regarding supplements, I have previously referenced research which supports the use of glucosamine.

Personal attacks on my ethics are unjustified and inappropriate.

October 27th, 2003, 10:17 AM
An athlete who obtains and uses illegal, performance enhancing drugs isn't going to give one iota about fair play, as defined by governing sports bodies, because ethics and morality mean nothing to them. This argument will only fall on deaf ears.

As for the necessity of ?institutions' looking after our own good.... I suppose that some substances have such a potential for harm that they should be regulated and that untrained individuals do not have the necessary knowledge for safe use of many other substances. However, I bristle at the thought of regulation. In their attempt to ?protect' the public from themselves, the FDA has created many unwarranted regulations resulting in a prescription drug crisis in this country. A crisis which is keeping much needed drugs out of patients hands and which gives pharmaceutical companies a ?reason' for jacking up prices so high that many, many, people can not afford them. Don't tell me that this or that substance has been banned or restricted by the FDA as their actions speak more of bureaucratic @*%$# and oligarchy than anything else.

Medical ethics? What makes doctors more ethical than the rest of the human population? As with athletes, a doctor who creates designer drugs for an athlete or prescribes ?performance enhancing' drugs isn't going to give a damn about the well being of the patients, ethics and legalities.

October 27th, 2003, 11:06 AM
In which case the state medical board will take disciplinary action.
The website for the North Carolina State Medical Board has a policy statement regarding performance enhancing drugs and specifically anabolic steroids (ncmedboard.org/legend.htm).

October 27th, 2003, 11:17 AM
Now, this is truly a joke, relying on state medical boards to enforce anything. Bad doctors float from state to state with entries against the NPDB and the boards take no action until after another instance of malpractice. Gov't beurocrats aren't traditionally the most responsive group around.

Gareth Eckley
October 27th, 2003, 11:35 AM
I am loathe to get into this but I would rather "trust" a doctor who has at least 7 years of training and drugs which have to be 'double blind' tested and proved to actually have an effect than the 'products' that come out of the "Alternative" health industry !

Never, ever, under-estimate the power of the "Placebo effect".

October 27th, 2003, 11:40 AM
I'm afraid you stepped in it this time, Gareth.

Tom Ellison
October 27th, 2003, 11:49 AM
I have zero knowledge regarding State Medical Boards! I have twenty six years worth of experience and twenty three operations (to date) dealing with all types of Doctors, in five different states, North Carolina being one of them. Without exception, each and every Doctor that treated me was professional, knowledgeable and dedicated to providing me with excellent health care.

My experience with Medical Doctors is heart warming. I have nothing but the highest respect for this profession and without exception, every Doctor who treated me, did an excellent job.

Heck, I owe my life to these people. My point, yes, I am sure every profession has a few bone heads, but I dare say this one has a great deal LESS then most. My humble and sincere gratitude, appreciation toward the medical profession is based on the simple fact that I am alive today, against staggering odds to the contrary!

October 27th, 2003, 11:53 AM
My points:

The legality and ethics arguments are not useful as the people they are intended for don't care.

Yes, I want the drugs I take to be tested and safe; and yes I want some one trained to prescribe them for me. BUT, the regulations surrounding the approval of a drug are so political that it calls the decisions made by the FDA into question.

October 27th, 2003, 11:55 AM
Previously, someone noted that most threads that ran over 5 pages were generally due to Ion's rantings... can't say that now.

October 27th, 2003, 12:15 PM
The legality and ethics arguments are not useful as the people they are intended for don't care.

That does not invalidate the arguments.

October 27th, 2003, 01:01 PM
Something to remember that everything on the banned list is not a 'performance enhancer' - some items are banned because they are masking agents (capable of concealing/hiding the presence of a banned performane enhancer - can't remember the US swimmer from several years ago who was banned because her drug test, not because of a performance enhancer, but because of an abnormally high amount of a birth control drug, commonly used to mask the presence of other drugs).
The athletes who are taking the drugs could rationalize it in so many ways;
All the other athletes are taking it, so I'm not really doing it to get ahead I'm just trying to stay even.
The drugs I'm taking aren't on the banned list.
It's only cheating if you get caught.

So the question is how overbearing and expensive do we want the Masters governing body to be ? Frankly I don't see our level of sport being overthrown by a bunch of scientifically, medically, genetically engineered swimmers to warrant such concern.

October 27th, 2003, 01:37 PM
I didn't say it was invalid, I said it wasn't useful.

Matt S
October 27th, 2003, 02:01 PM
I think we keep flipping back and forth between testing for "drugs" in elite athletes, and testing for "drugs" in Masters swimmers. Just to clarify:
(1) I believe we need to prohibit the of use of certain substances, and effective enforcement, for elite athletics. The fact that many of these substances are hazardous to the health of the athlete, even if only in large dosages or taken long term, is relevant. Because we are talking "elite" competition, there is big time fame and fortune at stake in winning the event. If you let them, there are some people who will take the drugs at dangerous levels, and force the rest of the field to endanger their health as well to stay competitive. To those who argue that at some lower level these substances are safe, my response is that if you think it is difficult to test for any amount of a substance, imagine how hard it would be to test for a substance above a certain prescribed level. Anabolic steroids, HGH, high dose stimulants before competition are dangerous, and don't use them if you want to swim in the Olympics.
(2) I believe we do NOT need drug testing in USMS. First, the stakes are so small the cost of any meaningful testing program would exceed the value of the entire competition. As many posters have said, if someone is so keen to medal at USMS Nationals that they want to mess around with steroids, or some of the even crazier stuff from the "nutrition" industry, they are welcome to move ahead of me in the standings. Second, we would exclude people who have a legitimate need to take certain medications for a health issue. Although I do not think it's asking too much for an Olympic participant to forgoe using certain meds, I DO think it is asking too much to ask a USMS participant to forgoe the most effective treatment regime for a debilitating disease, just because his meds are on a banned list for elite athletes. We're all grown-ups looking for an excuse to stay in shape (or at least, I am). The honor system/self-enforcement makes sense. (On this score, I agree with Aquageek.)


Tom Ellison
October 27th, 2003, 02:30 PM
I agree with Matt S, drug testing in USMS is not needed. International Swimming, Yes, we need it....big time!

October 27th, 2003, 03:38 PM
The fact people are agreeing with me is troubling as I was starting to get my own "Ion Beza Syndrome."

Never fear, I'm sure some other controversial swim subject will pop up and I'll continue my role as the swimming pariah.

Tom Ellison
October 27th, 2003, 03:45 PM
I miss Ion! He made us all think....

Phil Arcuni
October 27th, 2003, 11:58 PM

Intuition is a poor justification for a policy that can affect the lives of hundreds or thousands of athletes. What seem intuitively obvious to you, someone steeped in the hippocratic (sp?) oath, is not intuitive, or true, to someone else. There is no proscription against doing harm to oneself, especially if one is not a doctor. Your qualms about providing these drugs may be very ethical, but these qualms may not apply to someone causing harm to him or her self.

As you know, there is quite a lot of work in medical ethics in trying to create an environment removed from 'intuition.' Anyway, doctors seem quite willing to treat conditions that are hardly illnesses, often performing risky operations for no illness whatsoever - cosmetic surgery comes to mind. I suppose someone could argue, perhaps justifiably, that if athletes are going to use steroids, it is better under the supervision of a knowledgeable physician who can prevent some of the more serious side effects. Then it would be unethical for the physician to ignore the situation by pretending that abusers could be talked or legislated out of abuse. This logic is often used to justify providing abortion, or certain treatments for drug addiction. A recognition that some things can't be legislated away is one reason the 18th amendment was repealed.

Is it justified to take a pain killer because I damaged my body by competing too hard, and in order to compete too hard tomorrow? I can imagine extreme cases - a boxer hurts during a fight, so takes some legal pain killer between rounds. This strikes me as blantantly unfair, and extremely dangerous, as some of the pain signals indicating serious damage would be more likely to be ignored. I assume that as a doctor you would not give these drugs in this situation, even though it may be legal, and certainly treats a medical condition.

I'm sure it is obvious by now that I am trying to have a discussion justifying the rules, not accepting them as apriori right. Sure, they are rules now, but are they the right rules? Are they logically based on ethical principles, or intuition? Are they fair? Are they enforceable?

The saddest thing in all this is when people on all sides of the issue resort to legalities, instead of the fundamental issues of right and wrong.

Phil Arcuni
October 28th, 2003, 12:09 AM
Tom, all I know about horses is that they can't be taught to use the litter box. I'll let you and aquageek slog it out about horses, but please keep me out of it.

I took your 'irritating' post to mean that while you can show Phil the obvious truth, you can't make him believe it. Now that I have your explanation of what you meant, I have no idea. Anyway, I thought your post was supercilious and made light of a topic and discussion that I take seriously.

You seem to think, in this thread and others, that the rules and policies established by the authorities are for your and society's benefit. I tend to think that rules and policies established by the authorities are for *their* benefit. Perhaps both are true in different situations, but I think our divergent views contribute to a healthy discussion, usually.

October 28th, 2003, 08:37 AM

When I said intuitive, I was referring to my perspective as a physician. After several years, some things become intuitive.

You raise a very good point in suggesting that cosmetic surgery may be analogous to the use of performance enhancing substances or techniques. I have my own opinions about cosmetic (not, and I emphasize not, reconstructive) surgery. I'll try not to offend anyone. I am at best ambivalent about this. Our doctrine is to do no harm (Aquageek's comments not withstanding). Elective surgery for the sake of altering one's appearance subjects a healthy individual to the risks of general anesthesia and surgery (much like anabolic steroids subject a healthy athlete to the risks of the drug). The argument goes that one's appearance and self image impact one's psychological well-being, which is true. Does that justify the risk? Society seems to think so. I'm not sure what Hippocrates would say, and I've not researched the history of cosmetic surgery. The day is not far off when we will be able to genetically alter or sculpt an individual. At that point we may need to reassess the meaning of athletic competition. I do know that when we as physicians deviate from our mission, which is to treat the sick, we are venturing onto thin ice.

Tom Ellison
October 28th, 2003, 09:41 AM
Please forgive my rather blunt venture into deep sarcasm. Your understanding of what I initially meant was correct. The body of evidence is overwhelming in proving that anabolic steroids cause serious health problems. I felt that no matter how much evidence, regardless of the quality or persuasiveness, you were going to debate the opposite.

When we talk of policies established by the authorities (government), I DO believe they are established for the good of society. Sure, their are many instances where government intrudes into our lives and frankly, needs to stay out of. But, a society run amuck with no governing intervention or laws is destined to fail.

Perhaps we can look at our own Constitution and read the preamble to understand how I believe our government should set forth laws to establish order and ensure domestic tranquility.

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

I have no problem with our government establishing laws that ensure and promote general welfare and provide us all with domestic tranquility. I dare say our society would become a horrid place if our government allowed the free use of heroin, cocaine, and prescription medications. Anabolic steroids fall into a category where the government chose to regulate this drug for the good of the people. I for one have no problem with that anymore then I have a problem with laws prohibiting us from walking into a drug store and purchasing heart medication, stimulants or antibiotics.

Obviously, this is a debate or open dialog attempting to define or quantify the amount of government intervention or supervision we experience or allow in our lives. Although our government is by no means perfect, it is the finest government on the face of this planet. I support laws governing the use of steroids and believe these laws help ensure domestic tranquility.

October 28th, 2003, 09:48 AM
I'm not sure how cosmetic surgery has crept into a discussion of Masters and steroid but since it has, I'll dive in (hopefully better than the dive I exhibited at Nationals in Tempe this year).

So far, this is what I have heard from gull - I am a doctor, I know better. I have ethics that are beyond repute because I am a doctor. Because I am a doctor, I can dictate to you what to do to your body and what to take.

I have a totally different take on this. Doctors are there for the patients, paid by the patients and exist solely for the benefit of patients. If I want to cosmetically alter my body, that is called demand. If a doctor will do it, that is called supply. Neat thing about America is the intersection of the two. I'm sure there are tons of cases of plastic surgery done for all the wrong reasons but WHO CARES? If a person wants it and can pay for it, let them go for it. Gull, you seem to have an extremely narror definition of medicine. Time to change with the times.

Hippocrates could never have foreseen even a fraction of the advancements of medicine and might be fully supportive of doctors contributing to patient health (mental or otherwise) using cosmetic surgery. I would guess those plastic surgeons also take the same oath. There's not a separate oath for them, is there?

October 28th, 2003, 10:11 AM
This is a terribly shallow argument, that our government is protecting domestic tranquility by making us get prescriptions. If that were the case, what in the world were they protecting by making mecidations for yeast infections for women or allergy medications available only by prescription?

Are you actually willing to state that prescriptions protect us? Take a walk down the aisle at Wal Mart pharmacy. Almost every medicine you see was at one time available by prescription only and it was done this way to protect the patent on the drug for 7 years, not to protect the consumers.

I have yet to understand why I had to go to the doctor for 20 years to get allergy medication that I can now get at Wal Mart off the shelf. Oh, I know why, it was so I could spend $50 for a 2 minute doctor visit, $20 for a prescription and spend half a day wasted in an office and pharmacy line.

Some meds should be controlled, others not but domestic tranquility is sort of a a stretch on this one.

Tom Ellison
October 28th, 2003, 10:30 AM
Their are always going to be exceptions to the rule. Hey, I could care less if you get my point. Having said that, anytime you care to see in vivid detail exactly what I am talking about, then go to a drug rehab facility and see the horror in living color. You will see people addicted to pain medications, heroin, cocaine and amphetamines. Hey, let’s open the flood gates and let us buy anything we want, only leave me off the streets when we do that, because it is going to get rather scary….and I mean scary….

Or, go to any emergency room and spend a few hours and watch as the paramedics wheel in people who have overdosed on medications that were prescribed for OTHER patients. Yet, they wanted to prescribe their own medications and found out the hard way that was a bit over their education level or outside their expertise.

"but domestic tranquility is sort of a a stretch on this one." If you believe this, I suggest you travel to some of the countries around the globe that have little or no control over what their people can buy. I have been in many of these countries and it is nothing shy of a free for all. A very scary free for all.....

Tom Ellison
October 28th, 2003, 10:38 AM
“what in the world were they protecting by making medications for yeast infections for women or allergy medications available only by prescription?”

They were protecting woman from possibly using these medications incorrectly and possibly causing additional harm to their bodies. Or, possibly THINKING they had yeast infections, when in fact the symptom they were seeing was something completely different. As to allergy medications, perhaps they wanted to prevent addiction to these medication where you could no longer breath properly due to a dependence on these medications.

These rules and laws are not designed or enacted for monetary gain, they are enacted to help us and protect us.

October 28th, 2003, 10:57 AM

Again, you are incorrect. A few points:

1. If we were protecting women from what they THOUGHT might be a non issue, why was the medication made available OTC? Was there a sudden epiphany that now makes that an unlikely event? No, of course not, it was done because it was outrageous to tell women to go to the doctor for this.

2. Claritin is not additictive. Again, when was that magic moment that it no longer became dangerous enough to require prescription and now is ok? There was no moment, the patent expired. Did you see the share price of the maker of Claritin prior to the OTC release? It plumetted b/c investors saw a lucrative source of income vanish. If you think for one second that profit motive is irrelevant, you are greatly mistaken.

3. The US has the largest drug problem in the world, hands down, no one else is even close. The war on drugs is a colossal failure and probably a prime example of why we have so many emergency room visits and rehab houses nationwide. Maybe you haven't travelled as well as alleged if you think it's worse elsewhere.

October 28th, 2003, 11:00 AM
Sorry, one last point.

Tom, if you really think "These rules and laws are not designed or enacted for monetary gain, they are enacted to help us and protect us" then please explain why the pharmaceutical lobby is the largest lobby in DC. You really naive enough to think they are spending all those millions to help us? C'mon, money, man, money.

Tom Ellison
October 28th, 2003, 11:19 AM
Next....I have said all I will say. I support drug laws and the ban on steroid us without Doctors prescriptions....

October 28th, 2003, 05:09 PM
Originally posted by aquageek

So far, this is what I have heard from gull - I am a doctor, I know better. I have ethics that are beyond repute because I am a doctor. Because I am a doctor, I can dictate to you what to do to your body and what to take.

Aquageek, if this is the sum total of what you have learned from my posts than either I didn't express myself very well or you didn't read them. Or perhaps you just don't care for the medical profession, which is your prerogative.

Regarding my patients, I can only make recommendations. It's up to them to decide what to do with their bodies. Regarding my ethics, I can only set myself high standards and try to achieve them. I never claimed to be perfect. And no, I won't perform a procedure on a patient just because they're going to pay me. Sounds like a different profession to me.

My last post was in response to Phil, as we were discussing the original topic of performance enhancing drugs.

October 28th, 2003, 05:25 PM
Thanks to all for your comments on my posting about NO2(manufactured by MRI).

I was hoping a swimmer at USMS had some actual experience with this supplement. My weight lifting friends say they have benefited from it. Obviously, I am concerned because swimming is such an intense aerobic activity and my weight lifting friends are mainly trying to build muscle(and are not focusing on aerobic conditioning).

If you have actually tried the supplement, I'd enjoy hearing from you.

Thanks to all,

Phil Arcuni
October 28th, 2003, 09:24 PM
Here is a very interesting article on this subject. Lots of information that I was not aware of, well presented:


October 29th, 2003, 02:07 PM
Interesting how this thread has wandered off into some areas far removed from the original post.

The timely issue is how will the recent exposure of THG impact certain Olympic sports. Now that FINA has agreed to test urine samples from the Swimming World Championships will our sport be tarnished my new disclosure of cheating. Regardless, it does give us some hope that through such actions (applauds to the person who provided the UCLA lab with the tip) and the vigliance of people who are forcing the authorities to pursue the drug cheaters.

The show that there is still hope for sports especially if the cheaters have to worry about being caught AFTER THE FACT as the various labs develop new test for new drugs. Now we just have increase the funding for new tests, keep the pressure on FINA and others to add to the list of banned drugs and keep enough samples from major world championships to retroactively disqualify cheaters. That should dissuade some "borderline" cheaters to keep on the right side of the law.

October 30th, 2003, 01:45 AM
It will be interesting to see if any swimmers are caught in the web.

Maybe swimming will be lucky and no one will be found using the drug.

A couple of other comments
Almost every medicine you see was at one time available by prescription only and it was done this way to protect the patent on the drug for 7 years, not to protect the consumers.

Is there really a difference in the patent law between drugs that are prescribed and OTC. I thought they would be the same. If there is a difference is may be because of all the testing (and money for those tests) that has to be done before the drug can be released

"These rules and laws are not designed or enacted for monetary gain, they are enacted to help us and protect us" then please explain why the pharmaceutical lobby is the largest lobby in DC. You really naive enough to think they are spending all those millions to help us? C'mon, money, man, money.

Could you explain that statement in light of the Fortune article ( http://www.fortune.com/fortune/power25/0,15233,,00.html ) the top ten lobbying firms are

1. National Rifle Association
3. National Federation of Independent Businesses
4. American Israel Public Afairs Comm
5. Association of Trial Lawyers
7. Chamber of Commerce
8. National Beer Wholesalers Association (now there is a lobby group I can get behind).
9. National Association of Realtors
10 National Association of Manufacturers.

Well they did not make the top ten

AMA was#12 and American Hospital Association was #13

Pharmaceutical Research was #24

The US has the largest drug problem in the world, hands down, no one else is even close.

What numbers are you using for that statement? The US has the third largest population in the world - if one is going to have problems the US would have a lot of them just because of the the large numbers. Or it could be the US has the largest GDP. With all that wealth some could land in recreational pharmacology. (one would certainly not expect a large drug problem in Congo where the GDP / person is $400).


October 30th, 2003, 04:30 AM
I got my info from an NPR story that make this assertion. The story was about the new prescrption drug benefit debalte and the claim was made quite clearly that the pharmaceutical industry was the largest lobby in DC. Maybe as a whole they are, not by individual company.

I think it's a well established fact te US is the largest market for illegal drugs in the world. The Congo probably isn't keeping the Columbians in business.

Lastly, there is no difference in patent laws. That is my point. Once the patent expires, the profilt margin is gone.

October 30th, 2003, 08:37 AM
Is there really a difference in the patent law between drugs that are prescribed and OTC. I thought they would be the same. If there is a difference is may be because of all the testing (and money for those tests) that has to be done before the drug can be released

This is part of my point about the FDA regulations. It is the ridiculous regulations that supposedly jack up the cost of prescription drugs. Yet, the same drugs are available outside of the US for much less and... Other countries' regulations are not as 'strigentent.' The safety and effocasy of the drugs are proven more quickly, and therefore new & cheaper drugs are getting into the hands of doctors and patients who need them.

Why then must the US have the regulations that they do? Monetary and political reasons, thats all! When those type of things factor into decisions such as approving a drug, then the decision its self is questionable. All decisions made under the same regulations are questionable because no one knows exactly what factors influenced the decision. It might have been good solid scientific research, on the other hand, it might not have been.

Extend that to the current discussion of performance enhancing drugs and you have to ask yourself what is the motivation behind this substance or that substance being labeled as dangerous or performance enhancing.
Don't get me wrong, I believe that there should be regulations concerning the marketing and use of drugs and other substances. What I am saying is, the argument that the FDA has labeled this substance or that substance as 'dangerous' is useless because the regulations under which it operates are political in nature.

Tom Ellison
October 30th, 2003, 10:03 AM
"Maybe you haven't travelled as well as alleged if you think it's worse elsewhere." I have, and it is MUCH WORSE in other places!

Maybe you should do your homework a bit better before making fact statements like, "" then please explain why the pharmaceutical lobby is the largest lobby in DC."

Statements like, "your wrong" or "Again, you are incorrect" are pretty one sided and leave little or no room for decent, interactive dialog. This is especially true when the poster gets and F in homework…..

October 30th, 2003, 10:30 AM
I told you my source, NPR, maybe you should rant to them. There is no single country in the world with a greater drug problem. You think the poppy fields of Asia and the coca fields of SA are destined for the Congo? Get real, amigo, it's all coming to the US.

So, Tom, I did my homework and quoted my sources. Just because I don't participate in hero worship of doctors like you doesn't make me wrong, just makes me have a different opinion.

Tom Ellison
October 30th, 2003, 10:40 AM
Again, your slam with hero worship is out of line and untrue. I have a profound RESPECT for Doctors....Nothing less and nothing more, and my posts have indicated nothing remotely close to "HERO WORSHIP".
Lastly, my post was anything but, RANTING.

October 30th, 2003, 10:47 AM
So that I'm not accused of making things up anymore, please reference the folowing report:


October 30th, 2003, 02:01 PM

The article you referenced does not say that the drug industry is the biggest lobby in Washington. It says

the biggest drug companies and their trade associations employed more lobbyists and spent more on Washington, D.C. lobbying in 2001 than in previous years. This lobbying increase occurred while overall lobbying by all industries appeared to decline in 2001, based on available data.

All it's saying is the drug industry is spending more on lobbying than it has in the past, not that it spent more than any other industry or cause spends on lobbying.

I don't really care who the biggest lobbyist in Washington is, but I think you have been unnecessarily rude and should apologize.

October 30th, 2003, 02:32 PM
Please re read the article. You might note this sentence:

That said, the drug industry – as defined by Public Citizen – still appeared to have spent more on lobbying in 2001 than any other industry, based on available data.

So, I'm not exactly what I should apologize for.

October 30th, 2003, 02:44 PM
I have better things to do with my time than to wade through a voluminous article simply to try to prove you wrong. What you should apologize for is your rudeness.

October 30th, 2003, 03:28 PM

Maybe I read it to fast but I have to agree with Meg, it says they increased their spending not that they outspent others. If I am wrong could you please tell me where it states in the article that the drug companies outspent everyone else.

October 31st, 2003, 12:17 AM
Well, this discussion is out of hand. Anyway, wealth doesn't always have to do with using recreatonal drugs. Probably some of you forgot that China had an opium problem in the 19th century and the Chinamen that came to work on the railroads use the stuff. Now China is the biggest market for smoking tobacco, so times change and people use different drugs.

October 31st, 2003, 05:18 AM
kailonj - I didn't just make this up, I really didn't. I wasn't trying to make a point for the sake of making a point. There is a sentence that reads:

That said, the drug industry – as defined by Public Citizen – still appeared to have spent more on lobbying in 2001 than any other industry, based on available data.

It's about halfway down.

October 31st, 2003, 12:32 PM

Thanks for the help - I did find the section, the arguement comes down to semantics. Based upon the writing it is hard to say that the drug companies are the biggest lobbiers in DC - if that was the case then why didn't the Public Citizen come out and say that, that is a much stronger message than the 'still appeared to have spent more on lobbying in 2001 than any other industry' . The reason for their statement rather than a 'They are the biggest' is because the public citizen is using their criteria ('as defined by Public Citizen ' - which could be just about anything) and of course the 'based on available data.'
Not sure what Lobbying and the Drug industry has to do with original question for this thread - but would appear to have been totally sidetracked into a politically based debate (which I thought were discouraged, oh well).

Phil Arcuni
November 18th, 2003, 11:59 AM
Please read this article:


which discusses the complexities of this issue much more eloquently than I can.

January 23rd, 2004, 09:50 PM
Great article on this subject from last Sunday's NY Times:


The bottom line, according to a University of Pennsylvania geneticist: "There will come a day when [antidoping officials] just have to give up. It's maybe twenty years away, but it's coming."

January 24th, 2004, 06:27 PM
Thanks for the article Craig, it was a good read.