AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. October 2000, Volume 2, Number 10.

Ethics Poll

Athletes and Performance-Enhancing Drugs

The Ethics Poll is a snapshot of the opinions of interested readers.

As in previous Olympics, the 2000 Olympics were marred by reports of players and coaches testing positive for certain enhancement drugs. For instance, American shot put world champion C. J. Hunter, husband of Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones, tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone in late September. Romanian gymnast Andreea Raducan, winner of 2 gold medals and 1 silver at the Sydney Olympics, had her gold medal stripped away because of a positive drug test for ephedrine. Reports have surfaced of other professional athletes using enhancement drugs. During the 1998 baseball season, Mark McGwire's effort to break Roger Maris' home-run record was tainted by his admission of using a nutritional supplement called androstenedione. Although the substance is legal and its use permitted by Major League Baseball, the supplement is banned by other sports organizations, such as the National Football League and the International Olympic Committee. Hockey players have been known to take over-the-counter drugs that contain pseudophedrine to give them a lift when playing.

Should athletes be allowed to take legal but questionable supplements to enhance their performance?
Poll results reflect the opinions of visitors to the site who voluntarily answer the poll questions. Those visitors do not represent a random sample of Virtual Mentor readers. The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.