Drug addiction, also known as substance use disorder, simply means dependence on legal or illegal drug or medication to achieve certain mental or physical powers or strength for extraordinary result.
Call it performance enhancement tendency and you are damn right. Drug addiction has been critically described as a social malady among people that have chosen to indulge in it, without recourse to its negative implications on their health, social wellbeing and moral standard.
Research has shown that the youth rank high in the prevalence rating, with its negative influences eating deep into the fabrics of the society.
Anthony Kiedis, a foreign medical expert, who described it as having the potentialities of killing addicts said, “It takes away a lot of the thrill of killing yourself, when people are looking for you and you’re disappointing them, because it is a lot of fun when you are out there killing yourself.”
Also, Russell Brand, a television presenter and producer, condemned it because of its adverse implications. He said, “The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational, until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help, they have no hope.”
Drug addiction has, over the years, remained a serious menace among Nigerian sports men and women, especially athletes.
Performance enhancement is the reason that usually compels them. So, they indulge in it without recourse to the consequences, such as ban from participating in tournaments or any related local or international competition, just because they want to be in the front line in competition.
They feel that to flow with the crowd is to be lost in the crowd. They want to stand out by making themselves and their countries proud.
So, they go the whole hog to achieve a great record.
But the saying that “you cannot eat your cake and have it” is a great judgment against them.
Any groundbreaking record set by an athlete under the influence of drug, if noticed, loses all the accolades, encomiums and rewards attached to it. Ignominy is always the end result.
But the President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Chief Solomon Ogba, has a different view on this issue, even as he did not want to utter a word. According to him, only the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, has the mandate to talk about drugs and athletes’ involvement.
“I don’t talk about drugs. Ask the minister, he is in the position to tell you about the measures they have taken to curb the use of drugs among the athletes,” he told The Point.
According to him, Nigeria as a nation, knows the implications of going to any competition with drugged athletes. With the development of event in Russia, when the country’s athletes were caught in drug web, the international athletics body, International Association of Athletics Federations sanctioned the entire track and field athletes of Russia, but International Olympic Committee, had to clear other sports for Russia to feature at the Games.
“We went to Rio to struggle,” Ogba said, adding, “We would always try our best without drugs.”
In the same vein, the AFN Technical Director, Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, believed that Nigeria has learnt her lessons in the past, as the body organises random testing exercise for its athletes on and off competition to escape international ban.
“We carry out our tests without being prompted by anyone. We know what to do to keep clean and we would never allow any athlete to ridicule Nigeria with their selfish interest and poor attitude. Once an athlete is caught, it affects the federation.” he said.
The implications of drug addiction are numerous. Records have shown that athletes caught in the web have always paid the bitter price.
At the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games in South Korea, Canadian sprinter, Ben Johnson, was disgraced and stripped of his gold medal, two days after setting a new World and Olympic record in the 100 metres dash.
He was caught for using anabolic steroids. The drug saga affected his career forever and it also placed a bad stigma on Canadian sports.
After serving his initial ban, it was difficult for Johnson to come back. He ended his career as a cheat. Many athletes, like the great Marion Jones, former world and Olympic champion and her hubby, Marion Jones-Thompson, won three gold medals and two bronze medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, but was later stripped of the titles after admitting to steroid use.
Jones did retain her three gold medals as a world champion from 1997 and 1999. At the time of her admission and subsequent guilty plea, she was one of the most famous athletes to be linked to the BALCO scandal. The case against BALCO covered more than 20 top level athletes, including Jones’s former husband shot putter, C.J. Hunter and 100m sprinter, Tim Montgomery, the father of Jones’s first child.
Her scandal further questioned the reputation and integrity of American track and field federation, as more revelations came out during the trial.
We carry out our tests Without being prompted by anyone. We knoW What to do to keep clean and We Would never alloW any athlete to ridicule nigeria With their selfish interest and poor attitude
So many African athletes, including Nigerians, had entered the bad books of the IAAF, after they were caught indulging in disgraceful habit, but police officer, Chioma Ajunwa-Opara, stood out, because of her never-say-die spirit.
Ajunwa, a former Super Falcons’ star-turned sprinter, was a household name in Nigerian athletics, where she made a remarkable showing at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games.
Ajunwa performed as a track and field athlete and specialised in 100m, 200m and long jump at the African Championships in 1989 and the All Africa Games in 1991, where she won gold medals in the long jump before being banned from the sport for four years after failing a drug test in 1992.
Despite that, Ajunwa maintained her innocence. The suspension brought out the best in her, as she pushed further to erase the dirty dust in her career.
Shortly after the completion of her suspension, Ajunwa went on to become the first West African woman, as well as the first Nigerian, to win an Olympic gold medal in a track and field event, when she emerged victorious in the women’s long jump event at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, with a jump of 7.12 meters (on her first attempt) at the final.
“This is an interesting topic to everyone in Nigeria, not only the athletes. Many people are guilty of illicit drugs taking now in Nigeria,” she said.
Steven Ungerleider asserted in his article, “Steroids Are Dangerous,” that even though steroid use may increase an athlete’s endurance and muscle growth, it also has many risky side effects.
Anabolic steroids are made in many forms that can be taken orally, injected, or rubbed into the skin.
In “Steroids Are Harmful,” Doug West stated that steroids have many serious physical and psychological consequences. They can cause cancer and strokes, stunt bone growth, and lead to aggression. They also may induce a sense of invincibility and promote excessively macho behavior, and sometimes, attacks of rage or psychosis. Men may also experience reduced sperm count, shrunken testicles, inability to achieve an erection, and irreversible breast enlargement. Women may develop deep voices and excessive body hair.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the more serious life-threatening effects of steroid abuse are heart attacks, strokes, and liver cancer.
As far as the psychological toll, depression and addiction are other potential problems. Other problems include irritability, impaired judgment, delusions and paranoid jealousy. Also, injecting steroids with contaminated needles creates a risk of HIV and other bloodborne infections.
Why are athletes today more athletic than athletes in the past? Some people say it’s because a lot of athletes are using performanceenhancing drugs.
In “Athletes Will Never Stop Using Performance-Enhancing Drugs,” Matt Barnard stated that people should recognise that even the best athletes go to great lengths in order to succeed. Definitely, one great length is the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Some athletes struggle to achieve and keep up with better competition. Though they condemn the use of drugs, international athletic associations and their corporate sponsors, covertly encourage drug use, by demanding higher standards of achievement from athletes in order to reach fans and gain profit.