Why is it the once every other year report that upwards of 60% of high school students in top-tier schools like Bronx Science, Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech, Staten Island Tech, and Townsend Harris, as well as approximately 50% of Medical school students, law school students, engineering and hard science students in top-tier universities, all use Ritalin, either without a prescription or based on a phony diagnosis and prescription, simply to boost their ability to concentrate, focus, and retain crammed in information with superhuman ability, fails to generate any of the moral outrage in the public or political arenas that professional athletic steroid users do?
Competitive parents shop around for psychiatrists who will actually diagnose their healthy children because they know these drugs will give their kids a competitive edge scholastically. The AMA has labelled this phenomenon as an epidemic in America in their Medical Journals! So to readers who are concerned about young children being given performance enhancing drugs at an early age I remind you, the top students in this country are already getting them, for academic enhancement! Young children are receiving brain steroids (what psychiatrists call Ritalin among themselves), even though it is equally illegal and a psychiatrist can lose their license if caught giving bogus prescriptions. But who’s checking? Where is the outrage? Why don’t we care as much? Cause it’s not entertainment? Because we don’t make heroes of academic achievers and then take perverse pleasure in tearing them down after building them up? Hypocrites, every one of you, for attacking Lance, or Barry Bonds, or Alex Rodriguez, Marion Jones, or whoever else gets caught up in this ridiculous witch hunt to protect the illusion of some form of American purity that really never existed.
My point is, since we can obviously never truly know if an athlete is “clean” or not, we need to make sure there is at least informed consent; that they aren’t being given drugs without their knowledge or without being told of any possible short or long-term side affects.
And for anyone thinking that special tracks and footwear aren’t the same kind of cheating, keep in mind that unless you are considered a top candidate to medal, you don’t get the customized footwear made for you, and if you’re from a poor country chances are you never got a chance to train on a multi-million dollar track that closely mimics the conditions you will run in during the Olympics. That means that your timing and even your running gate will be thrown off dramatically. You have no chance.
We are a nation of cheats; it’s called innovation in some circles. Make it as safe as possible for the athletes and get on with the games.