Addiction In MLB
12/20/18: Addiction \ Drug Addiction
The world of sports has long had performance-enhancing drug controversies. When it comes to being an athlete, you need to always be on your “A-game”, constantly one-upping the opponent. Your main goal in sports is to break records, win games, and beat the rivals. However, injuries and time have a significant effect on an athlete’s ability to perform their best. Injuries are quite frequent and time does nothing but slowly diminish a person's athletic abilities. Because of this, athletes have ended up resorting to performance-enhancing drugs (steroids). This substance is known to enhance a person’s physical abilities and make them incredibly superior in many areas. Though steroids are a huge problem throughout all sports, another addiction plagues Major League Baseball: Cocaine addiction.
Cocaine & The League
A dark topic that not a lot of people, including players & the league, want to talk about is the current cocaine addictions many players in the league have. According to recent testimonies, around 25% of MLB players are active cocaine users or struggle with the addiction. Their reasoning? It makes them feel more awake, alert, and focused when they are playing or practicing.
This substance gives them an unfair advantage over the other players. Though the high from cocaine may have these effects, they do not last long and this is how the addiction happens. The more a player wants to be focused and alert, the more they will use cocaine. Since the effects are short-lived, they will want more cocaine to keep the effects going. This drug has some very serious long-term effects from frequent use: heart attacks, muscle spasms, high blood pressure, and many others that can lead to some serious issues for their sports career.
Players With Cocaine Problems
On and off the field, players in the MLB have been discovered to frequently sneak a dose of the drug. Former Montreal Expos player Tim Raines admitted to having a serious cocaine addiction. He admitted to having it in his uniform while playing. The late Jose Fernandez, a former Miami Marlins pitcher, died in 2016 after crashing a boat into a jetty. It was later discovered that he had cocaine in his system. More recently, former MLB star Esteban Loaiza was arrested with 44 lbs. of cocaine on him. Another player by the name of Josh Hamilton was banned from the league because of his alcohol and cocaine addiction. Before the league, he had never touched even a drop of liquor.
In a sport like baseball, it’s not wise to use such an addictive substance. This substance can cause some serious health issues. The last thing a professional baseball player should be putting in their body is cocaine. But why are all these players putting their lives and careers on the line for this substance?
Reasons Why Players Use
When you are in pro leagues for baseball, there are a lot of eyes watching you. When you are a part of a pro league sport, you can get a lot of fame and fortune from it. It can be argued that players can let the fame go to their head and may become wrapped up in it. Many of these players are young and can easily fall victim to the party lifestyle, which is filled with drugs and alcohol. When you get caught up in this scene, it can be easy to succumb to peer pressure or just simply wanting to fit in. One player does some cocaine, another player may give in to their curiosity and have a hit for themselves.
Similar to peer pressure, players are subject to public pressure. Sports are all about cheering your team on to victory and being a part of a culture. This can result in many die-hard fans having strong opinions on a players performance. Let’s say a new player does something that costs their team a victory -- fans may start to scrutinize the player for their “poor performance”. This is how cocaine addiction can start. When they realize the public is watching them and they feel as though they cannot improve to their liking, the player may resort to performance-enhancing drugs like cocaine. It’s easy, now, to see how peer pressure and crowd appeal have become huge factors in addiction amongst MLB players.
Drug Tests For Players
Chances are, you and most people believe that drug tests in pro league sports are actually quite frequent, but the real answer may shock you. Drug tests happen in the MLB, but not always for illegal substances. Most drug tests are for performance-enhancing drugs like steroids, but not cocaine. These drug tests are much more frequent, tests for illegal substances are much less frequent. The league is technically not allowed to test players for drugs like cocaine or marijuana without reasonable doubt. This makes this addiction especially difficult to handle if the player is sneaking in their doses of the drug.
Addiction is real and it is no joke. MLB players across the league have fallen victim to addition and can let it control their lives. A sport that is based on athletic performance should not have such a problem with a drug that can completely destroy an athlete’s ability to play. Drugs like these lead to nothing but problems down the road. It’s time to do something about this epidemic.
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