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Drug use by Athletes - A Symptom of Australia's Sport System

NCJ Number
Drug Education Journal of Australia Volume: 4 Issue: 1 Dated: (April 1990) Pages: 45-49
N Nicholson
Date Published
5 pages
This paper examines the causes of drug use and its prevention by athletes within the Australian sport system.
Sport in Australia is characterized by commercialism and the government's expectation of high levels of performance. Thus the pressure exerted on athletes, particularly the elite, to excel can lead to use of drugs to enhance performance. In the Australian sport system, the health-enhancing benefits of sport participation and related positive values such as striving for goals, sportsmanship, and teamwork may be influenced by certain practices. Sport sponsorship by tobacco and alcohol companies and media involvement influence both the spectator and the athlete; successful sports performance is demanded from the latter while advertising a health-detrimental product. Espousing of negative values such as cheating, winning-at-all costs, and a selfish desire for personal glory have also permeated the sports system. Anti-drug programs need to educate various target groups including coaches, administrators, politicians, parents, spectators, and the media in order to change the values system of the environment which condones this use of drugs by athletes. 13 references. (Author abstract modified)