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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Amphetamines in the NFL

Professional athletes are always looking for an edge to enhance their game. Steroids and human growth hormones (HGH) are perhaps the most common substances that officials look for when testing athletes. Now athletes are using amphetamines to give themselves an extra boost.

NFL players testing positive for amphetamines is on the rise, using drugs like Adderall, according to the Associated Press. Adderall is to blame for more than 10 players suspended for failing drug tests since the start of last season.

Interestingly, the league does not use drug tests that identify what substance a player tested positive for when he is penalized, according to the AP. Players can blame their failure on Adderall even if they tested positive for steroids or another stimulant.

NFL Senior Vice President Adolpho Birch said that many college students use Adderall as a study aid, causing players to become reliant on the pills as a stimulant. “It’s not a secret that it’s a societal trend,” he noted. “I think we’re starting to see some of the effects of that trend.”

Football players diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can apply for an exemption that allows them to use Adderall. However, a number of the players who tested positive for the drug said they had a prescription, but did not receive an exemption.

Dr. Michael Joyner, a sports physiologist and anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota said that using Adderall “would absolutely give you a competitive advantage. Fatigue, focus, concentration, maybe aggression. And if they were using it during training, the ability to train harder, longer, the ability to have fewer bad days.”

Mixing amphetamines with heavy exercise has to be extremely hard on the body, especially the heart. Players who use drugs like Adderall over a long period of time may develop serious health problems.
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