Is it time we enhance our laws?

Out of all the major team sports in North America, baseball has to deal with the most cases of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs).

Unknown criminals are brought to justice everyday for producing meth and dealing cocaine; however, we are failing to pay close enough attention to what is happening to the Canadian Hero, whether it be a home run king, an Olympic champion, or a hockey forward who never misses a shot. Various athletic heroes are using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) – also known as anabolic steroids – to help them win each competition. Sure, they eventually are brought down and convicted in the court of sports – thanks to the 1999 formation of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) – but what consequences are there to the individuals who make and sell the drugs? Even doctors and lawyers behind the operations should face the consequences. The Canadian legal system should ban the making and trafficking of PEDs. Criminal laws that directly affect the makers and dealers must be passed in order to curtail the use of PEDs in professional sports.

But first, why don’t we learn about how PEDs work?

The basic idea of taking anabolic steroids is to mimic the effects of testosterone in one’s body. Testosterone, the male hormone which tends to shine during puberty. Among developing facial hair and lowering one’s voice, the hormone also helps to develop muscles and heighten aggression. There are many different forms that steroids can be taken in. Some athletes give themselves injections, while others opt to orally take them through pills. Many players are moving towards pills because it seems less conspicuous. Here is an example:

Alex Rodrigez (also known as “A-Rod”) is probably the most well known case of steroid use in recent years. He was just issued a ban of two hundred games starting this season. The doctor, whom Rodriguez had been ordering from, ran an anti-aging clinic in Florida, named “Biogenesis of America”. The doctor – Anthony Bosch – was supplying A-Rod with testosterone in the form of small lozenges. These were commonly reffered to as “gummies” by both Bosch and A-Rod duriing verbal and digital conversations. Bosch instructed A-Rod to intake a couple gummies before and during games to receive the full effect. Bosch said that a huge reason for using his product was the fact that it is virtually indetectable by standard drug tests. Although one might think that the biggest culprit here is Rodgriguez, who actually consumed the drugs, Bosch shouldn’t have even been allowed to manufacture these pills in the first place. Strict laws must be enforced on people like Bosch so that athletes cannot be tempted to cheat in the first place.

Another significant historical event is Lance Armstrong going on trial regarding his use of PEDs over the past couple decades. After fighting testicular cancer, he won seven consecutive Tour de France titles from 1998 – 2005, proving that he is truly a heroic athlete. Nonetheless, in 2012, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) charged Armstrong with doping throughout his seven year winning streak. When the trials ended, the USADA stripped him of all previous cycling titles and implemented a lifetime ban from the sport of cycling. As one can see, Armstrong was harshly – and properly – punished for his actions. However, it is tragic that the manufacturers and traffickers of these PEDs were never accused of any crimes. In addition, Canada has been slow to pass any laws against trafficking PEDs, unlike many European countries such as Russia, Austria and Italy. Forbidding the trafficking of performance-enhancing drugs would help to diminish their use in professional sports.

Citizens of Canada should want their justice system to provide strong consequences for dealing PEDs. Athletes across our great country would then feel safe to compete fairly in all sports.

Since the inception of Canada, it has been human nature to strive to be strong and compassionate; the Canadian Constitution was a document designed for us to achieve greater success. However, it is also human nature to fail every now and then, or to perhaps misjudge certain things. When this happens, only finding the problem and developing a solution will help solve the situation. The same is true for the legal system in Canada. Certain aspects of laws designed work almost perfectly, while others need a bit of maintenance in order to benefit the people of which the law commands. As we gradually mend each little tear in our justice system, we eventually arrive at the manufacturing and trafficking of PEDs. The time has come to develop a strict criminal law which directly targets the makers and dealers in order to inhibit the use of PEDs by athletes in sports.