In addition, some scientists claim that using drugs may be necessary for certain athletes to compete at a high level. For example, studies have shown that caffeine improves reaction time and vigilance for elite cyclists and runners who experience drug use in sports periods of intense activity followed by rest days when they cannot consume any caffeine. Finally, some scientists believe that environmental factors not related to drugs or alcohol may play a role in sudden deaths among athletes.

This is often done by an entity above the individual, such as by a team or a state, which often stands to benefit from the cumulative boost in performance among its member athletes. In both cases, the supply and use are centrally managed in order to manage the risks of substance use for individuals who would be otherwise incapable of doing this effectively on their own. Though systematic doping is often done for collective performance enhancement, related concerns include avoiding detection and ensuring athletes remain healthy enough to compete.

How does cocaine affect the performance of an athlete?

WADA’s Anti-Doping Program is based on the WADA Code, a universal document that contains comprehensive guidelines for best practices in international and national antidoping programs (17). WADA also publishes the doping violation thresholds for banned substances. Performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) are substances taken by people who would like to change their physical appearance, enhance their sporting performance, or both. There are several types of PIEDs, including anabolic steroids, peptides, and hormones. Through doping, we understand the use by athletes of substances prohibited by the antidoping agencies in order to gain a competitive advantage.

  • PEDs are pharmacologic agents that athletes and nonathlete weightlifters use to enhance performance.
  • Some research has shown that users of amphetamines may be more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease later in life.
  • The estimates of the prevalence of AASs, cocaine, heroin, and amphetamine use among 12th-grade students from the Monitoring the Future study.
  • For example, where threshold values for banned substances have been set, athletes have ensured that they remain under the limit to avoid detection.
  • To date, there is no clear evidence that androgen administration causes prostate cancer; we are aware of only 2 case reports of prostate cancer in bodybuilders, both published more than 20 years ago (348, 349).

TMS studies looking at cocaine primarily all demonstrated decreased craving compared to the control group [52,78,79,80,81,82,83]. Several demonstrated reduced intake and craving and a single study looked at treatment of 11 weeks leading to an elongated latency to the first relapse [52,81,82,84]. Finally, one single theta burst study performed three sessions a day for 10 days and demonstrated a reduction in overall days cocaine was used by 70% and a 78% reduction in weekly cocaine consumption spending based in dollars [85]. Two studies utilizing tDCS looked at opioid use and pain in those who underwent a total knee arthroplasty with both suggesting decreased pain medication use but areas of treatment conflicted [90,91].

Substance Use and Addiction in Athletes: The Case for Neuromodulation and Beyond

Many athletes may be hesitant to using any treatment that was not FDA approved due to fears of violating the rules by which their sports are governed. It creates a situation where athletes are often operating outside of medical supervision. The legalization of performance enhancing drugs in competitive events could help to reduce the risks to the health of the athlete because it would place them under medical supervision for their activities. Instead of using doctors to look for ways to beat doping tests, these medical professionals could consult with each athlete to determine the best training regimen to follow that maximizes results.

negative effects of drugs in sport