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What Are Banned Substances?

Performance enhancing drugs.
Certain substances, such as performance enhancing drugs, are banned from sporting competition.
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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2014
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To ban something is to prohibit it. Banned substances are items prohibited under certain circumstances or in certain places. For example, a substance may be banned from an athletic competition or from consumption on public transportation. However, a substance that is banned may not necessarily be illegal.

In many instances, substances are banned by group instead of by individual name. In 2009-10, for example, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) banned substances such as stimulants, street drugs, and anti-estrogens. A list of common substances from each group was provided. However, the organization clearly stated that the ban included any substance that is chemically related to those on the list and noted that individuals would be held responsible for consumption even when the substances were not specifically named.

The issue of banning substances is common in athletics. Prohibiting substances is generally done for several reasons. To begin with, certain substances are categorized as performance enhancing drugs. This means that consuming these drugs can augment a person’s ability in a way that may be unfair when he is competing against someone who competes without drugs. When banned substances are taken under these circumstances, the practice is commonly referred to as doping and can damage an athlete’s career.

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Another reason why many substances are banned is because they have known negative side effects, especially if they are consumed for long periods of time. Prohibiting the use of such substances is a control mechanism designed to keep individuals safe. This concern is prominent not only in athletics but also in society. Government bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States (US) commonly ban substances as a means to protect public health and safety.

A substance that is banned is not always illegal. A bodybuilder, for example, may be able to legally purchase steroids. However, the consumption of steroids may be grounds for disqualification from a weight lifting competition. There are some instances, however, where banned substances are also illegal. When this is the case, possession, trade, and consumption are generally prohibited.

Regulating and preventing the use of banned substances is generally placed so high as a priority that there are tests designed to detect users. However, the use of banned substances is prevalent in athletics and in society. As a result, many people try to adapt methods to beat the tests, or to make a test that should show positive results show negative results.

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