PEDs are a hot ticket item for discussion these days (not peds, people just find that sick and twisted, but hey, it's a disorder), what with the latest in Lance Armstrong confirmations (they were only revelations if you completely ignore all sense, what with the rampant doping in cycling as a whole), not to mention NFL and MLB allegations and busts. In my corner I tend to follow abuse by runners, and even more specifically distance runners. Iin the NHL and NBA, no one really seems to give a shit; see also: soccer.
It makes it a little bit hard for me to enjoy sports as much because I appreciate the naturally-occurring freakishness of the human body over the drug-enhanced one. Takes the fun out of it, no? This isn't a novel or unique feeling. Headlines might start to get Onion-like, reporting things like "MVP Tests Negative for Drugs!"
But since lots of folks are focusing on this kind of PED use, let's instead shift to PED use in the arts, another arena where drug abuse can be expected, if not encouraged. In a sense then, this isn't that different from sport. And if you step outside of sport, in my narrow world exposure, I tend to think most people are substance users, if not abusers. Definitions. Semantics. And while for some it could have dangerous implications, the study is still in relative infancy because frankly there's a whole bunch of shit we just don't know about the body.
Think of Charlie Sheen who, though he did have quite the public meltdown, is still a functioning human being after consuming legendary volumes of controlled substances. And then think of how, in that meltdown, the focus was on the circus, not on how we might get it to change its act (there were those who expressed legitimate concern, but most were content to enjoy the show, and I certainly came in at best in the middle of that). Sure, there're the success stories a la Robert Downey Jr but only because he was given 7,500 opportunities. It's not his fault really that people were willing to endure it and help him, it's just a damn shame that non-celebrities really don't enjoy the same privilege.
Sure some of these substances may be performance-dehancing, with artists (I've cited only a couple of actors, but there are many famous substance abusers in any genre of art) perhaps succeeding in spite of, rather than because of them, but use them they do.
Then there's the matter of what you define as drugs. Take something like caffeine. In sport this is banned in excess, and yet old Voltaire is purported to have drank as many as thirty cups a day. No biggie. A good barometer for substance abuse successes? How about Stephen King? Through all of his use, it was an errant driver some decade into his sobriety that nearly ended his life.
So why bring any of this up? Well, if sports records are stricken from the books when the record-holder is found to have been using PEDs, why not revoke a National Book Award, a Pulitzer and you get the idea? I'm not saying it's what I'd do, but I am saying perception and subjectivity are funny, fickle beasts.