Health: Is Doping Becoming a “Public Health Issue?” NBCNews.com Examines the Possibility

“If we believe that around three percent of high school boys in the U.S. are taking a steroid or growth hormone, then that's a public health issue,"

That is a quote from Dr. Timothy Armstrong of the WHO (World Health Organization) in the recent NBCNews.com piece, Doping is now a public health issue, conference told.

And the inference in that article is that yes, the issue of doping or PED use goes well beyond the confines of just the athletic sports arena, something I have eluded to for several years. In fact, some of the same terminology, indicating my concern over this issue (trickle-down effect), was also used by David Howman (WADA Director General):

 “What we have learned in the last 10 years is that there is a trickle-down effect into recreational sports and into the high schools…"

The general tone of the piece speaks to the idea of combining efforts between all organizations focused on this issue so that the sharing of information might help in the fight against these PED uses and abuses. Organizations like WADA, WHO, the IOC, etc. would be able to create a better, more accurate picture of the problem society is facing as a whole if this were to happen—certainly a move in the right direction. Without doing so, there is to much guessing.

My take…the more cooperation the better. I have long been suggesting the idea that the problem is bigger than just “sports.” It is something I have addressed many times when commenting on articles (or other’s comments about articles) when some suggest either legalizing them in sports, or allowing certain individuals off the hook for their use.

In my mind, as I have stated, sports is merely reflecting societal attitudes that seem to be more accepting these days of “winning at all costs”  (no matter what form it takes) perspectives. You know, whatever it takes to get ahead—no matter who it hurts.

In the end, part of the solution will be in holding those using accountable for their use, something this cooperation between agencies would most certainly help with. However, I still believe an even bigger part of making a difference will center on developing attitudes in our youth (the next generation) that reflect a more “winning with character” type of foundation.

At least that is the direction I would like to see us travel. To me, a much better position to take than the let’s just legalize doping in sports position some subscribe to.

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