Chapter 11: Causes and control of drug abuse by athletes by K. Venkateswarlu & Vehcit Dasha


The use of performance enhancing drugs in sports is only a recent manifestation of an old problem. Indians and Asian Indians, chewed ‘cocoa and other leaves‘. Australian aborigines ate ‘Pituri’ plant, Ancient Greeks used stimulants. These different people at different times used these substances for their stimulating and anti-
fatiguing effects to enhance performance (Williams, 1974). Boxers used a mixture of brandy and cocaine along with strychnine tablets to enhance performance in the middle and late 19th century (Asken, 1988; Venkateswarlu, 1996, 1997). Although the use of these drugs was started centuries ago, it has become extremely wide spread
only in recent years. In light of widespread abuse of drugs by athletes and because of the dangerous effects of these drugs on health, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has taken the responsibility of maintaining the integrity of the games For this purpose, the IOC established its medical commission to safeguard the health of the Olympic athletes in 1967. Despite the incessant efforts of the medical commission of the IOC to detect and control abuse of drugs in sports, sportsmen and women continue to use drugs to enhance their performance inspite of their knowledge of the dangerous consequences to use of drugs to their health. An attempt, therefore, is made in this paper to discuss the causative factors for drug abuse and the measures to control it in sports.