Pros and Cons of Drug Testing

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From workplace to school, from professional sports to the armed forces, the advent of drug-testing procedures has stirred debate and controversy. The issue of drug testing in athletics seems to be the most prevalent debate. An incident that really brought drug testing into the spotlight is the track and field event in the 1988 Summer World Olympic Games. The two competitors in the limelight were Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson, both excellent and very emulating runners who have beaten each other in past competitions. This was the opportunity for the whole world to see who the true champion was after the 100 meter dash. In a quick ten seconds, Ben Johnson crossed the finish line as a champion, and from then on he was known as the fastest man alive. A week later a drug test was administered to Ben Johnson, and he then confessed to being a user of an illegal drug, anabolic steroids. Since the use of any kind of illegal drugs, including steroids, was and still is against Olympic regulations, Ben Johnson was stripped of his gold medal, that was then awarded to Carl Lewis (Galas,1997). Due to this incident and many others, drug testing should be enforced because it provides drug using athletes an unfair advantage, can eliminate any potential drug related health problems, and so that children can have worthy role-models to look up to and admire. Although designed to protect and thereby curtail the use of illegal drugs, the well-intended procedure of testing athletes involves many difficult issues, such as the issue of privacy. Those against drug testing feel that it should be banned because it violates the Fourth Amendment which defends and protects the rights of the American citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. The amendment states that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” ( Many feel that the act of testing a person for illegal drugs is an invasion of one’s privacy. What an athlete wishes to do with his/her own body, whether being good or bad, is that athlete’s prerogative and cannot be infringed. No matter how strenuous the circumstances may be, every one deserves that right of privacy and no individual should be permitted to partake in the invasion of it.

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