The New Wave of PED: Adderall
Adderall has become an epidemic.
College students are abusing this new drug in order to stay up late for those extensive study sessions needed to successfully pass their exams. And it's recently permeated into the football arena with a vengence.
Players are now taking this drug because of its performance-enhancing capabilities, then being tested and failing quite frequently. But this hasn't seemed to stem the tide on its usage.
First and foremost, Adderall is used to treat narcolepsy, but what it's mainly being prescribed for is ADHD. Students as well as individuals who have ADHD need this particular drug in order to concentrate. However, more and more people are now deciding to fake a psychological problem in order to obtain a prescription. This may well be the case in the NFL.
Football players, just like any other athletes, are always looking for a competitive advantage. Evidently, simply outworking and outsmarting your opponent using organic means isn't as common as it should beespecially in a sport where careers can be fleeting.
PED's are becoming the societal norm, not only in the NFL, but in other sports as well. Aderall, for example, is a stimulant that increases the brain's function to concentrate at a more focused level. It improves a person's memory and makes thinking less complicated. Therefore, reaction time is faster, and the ability to out-think your opponent is heightened.
The flip side to these advantages is Adderall can also take its toll on an athlete's physical health.
If he or she is prone to heat exhaustion, Adderall can increase that risk. It can also lead to cardiovascular problems such as a disrupted heart rhythm. Additionally, the effects of Adderall -- in athletes or anyone who doesn't have an ADHD disorder -- are short-term. Therefore, it may be effective initially, but over the long haul, athletes expose themselves to not only health issues but a possible suspension or fine if they're tested positive for Adderall if they're getting it under the table.
This, of course, is the drug du jour. Flashback to the earlier eras; the games were just as tough, but the integrity wasn't at all being questioned. Ironically, painkillers, steroids, and pre-Adderall amphetamines were a way of life and just as -- if not more -- physically damaging. But public awareness just wasn't there yet.
So don't think this stuff was ever not part of the football culture.
Now, we truly don't know who is taking what until that specific athlete fails a drug test. Overall, the NFL isn't as publicly tainted as the MLB, but the uncertainty has increased significantly.
Like most fans, I'm perfectly fine with the NFL and all other sports now testing regularly for this drug. It's not an issue of personal privacy anymore. In fact, testing should be regarded as a safeguard for athletes' general health.
Athletes in most sports are coming around to this way of thinking, too. Baseball players have been front and center about calling for lifetime suspensions for violators. Those in other sports haven't been as vocal yet, possibly because the peer pressure hasn't been as profound yet. And frankly, with the NFL itself still grappling with other testy issues regarding players' long-term health problems, its poobahs are probably perfectly happy that more of an issue isn't being made at this time.
But that's short-term thinking. Sooner or later, it will be. They need to emulate MLB's example and get ahead of it.