Understanding Drug Addiction in Athletes
When it comes to drug addiction, it is easy to see that this problem is not isolated to the poverty-stricken areas of the inner cities. Drugs are a factor at nearly every rung on the social ladder. Individuals who are celebrities are also commonly found using drugs. Some of these high-profile individuals happen to be the athletic icons that have inspired and shaped the dreams of children everywhere. Yes, the ugly truth about drug addiction is that it affects even those who many look up to as their role models in the sports arenas. From boxing to baseball, drug addiction has become a serious problem that is often not given the attention it deserves.
The Tragic Consequences of Drug Addiction Among Athletes
When it comes to talking about the devastating and tragic affect drugs can have on an athlete and their career, certain names seem to crawl back into memory. For example, who can forget the late Len Bias? Bias was the University of Maryland All-American basketball player who was honored with the prestige of being drafted by the Boston Celtics. Not more than two days later, Bias was found dead from a cocaine overdose. Another name that comes to mind is Don Rogers. Rogers played safety for the Cleveland Browns. Nearly a week before his wedding, Rogers was found dead from a run in with cocaine. However, sometimes the tragic scenes of drug use among athletes extend well beyond their own personal struggles with drugs. In fact, you might even remember the fatal outcome of what took place when an intoxicated football player, Leonard Little, got behind the wheel and ran a red light. While Little survived the ordeal, another woman involved in the crash did not make it through alive.
When Drug Addiction Ruins Professional Relationships
Another tragic side to drug addiction is how perceptions, even among athletes, lead to public quarrels. One such quarrel that comes to mind is the intense badgering imposed on former team mate Dwight Gooden over drug addiction by Darryl Strawberry. Although both athletes have had their own personal struggles with drug addiction, Strawberry turned his attention towards other athletic addicts after finally becoming clean and sober himself. this has created a situation where public comments made by Strawberry about Gooden, over the last 30-years, has pushed Gooden to a point where he no longer even considers Strawberry a friend anymore.
Using in the Name of Performance
When the news produces a story about athletes doing drugs, these stories are often about an athlete using some type of drug intended for performance enhancement. It is easy from this kind of media coverage to imagine that the pressure is on and that athletes are simply using to up their game. In some cases, this scenario is not far from the truth. Many athletes feel the need to give more of themselves to remain in the spotlight or to live up to former achievements. No one likes to see themselves be less than they once were capable of being, not even an aging athlete. In fact, it is reasonable to suspect that athletes are, by their very nature, highly competitive. Sometimes this means they will do nearly anything to climb back on top of the world and be viewed as the star athlete they were once praised for being. Unfortunately, the role of drugs in such situations often ends up doing more harm than good to an athlete’s career. This is especially the case when they are caught for using an elicit substance. Not only can this lead to fines and legal issues, but it can cause many fans to form a negative opinion about such athletes.
Drug Use Beyond the Sport
Another side of the unfortunate story of drug use is that athletes are simply human. Like everyone else, they must struggle with temptation and vice. Sometimes this is done on a daily basis and for reasons other than those directly related to the sport for which they are a member. Often coming into large sums of money allows an athlete to walk among certain circles in society where illegal drug use is part of keeping up an image, a recreational activity or the result of keeping company with the kind of people who will help enable an athlete to get their next fix. In many ways, this makes athletes as subject to the flaws of humanity as anyone else who makes the decision to allow addictive substances to cause their life to spiral out of control.