Should Doping Be Legal?

by Patrick Appel

Yascha Mounk makes a distinction between "drugs that pose significant health risks even when taken under medical supervision" and "all other substances – like erythropoietin (EPO) and propranolol, for example":

Anti-doping rules are meant to end the use of “performance-enhancing substances.” But that rationale makes little sense. Human beings need copious food and drink to survive, let alone run a marathon. Strictly speaking, we all ingest performance-enhancing substances all the time. Our decision about whether or not to ban a particular substance thus doesn’t depend on whether it will boost athletic performance; it depends on how “normal” – in the sense of either natural or common – we think it is.

Margaret Goodman has a different view:

I think that athletes, as a whole, wish to compete clean. The reality is that too often peer pressure wins out. Ultimately, the solution is threefold: educate athletes and the public that athletic prowess can be accomplished through competing clean; understand that “bigger, faster, stronger” contributes to injuries, shorter careers and debilitating retirement; and expand comprehensive, aggressive state-of-the-art testing.