I think you missed my point. If it becomes acceptable for professional athletes to penly take harmful drugs in order to compete more effectively, and it then becomes essentially impossible to be competitive at that level without doing so, this semds a strong message to aspiring young people interested in sports or the possibility of become elite athletes. That message is that if you want to get that level of performance, and the respect and financial rewards that go with it, you have to be willing to do what the big boys do to get there. I think you would see a lot more high-school and college athletes taking these drugs if the sanctions against them at the professional level were lifted because it would be clear that such drug use is accepted and expected for serious competitors.
I also think the comparison of thousands of hours of practice and drug use is a false one. The former is necessary for quality performance in any activity and is generally good for your health if done properly. The later is not necessary and is often injurious.
I agree with Brennan. I really think that’s the main point. Professional athletes are the product of a lifetime of habits and activities that lead up to that point. Just as you don’t suddenly start lifting weights when you become a pro player in the NFL, if there are others in high school or college using performance enhancing drugs then any student who wants to get a college scholarship may have to do the same and any college student who wants to go pro will be similarly forced down that road. Unfortunately school age children are not mature enough or knowledgeable enough to make an intelligent decision about this.
I can’t imagine any way in the world that we could turn a blind eye to professional athletes using these drugs and then expect to have an effective program that would stop kids from using them. Kids aren’t big fans of the “do as I say not as I do” philosophy.