Skip to main content

Is doping at work and in class OK?

By Bryan Moore, Special to CNN
updated 1:42 PM EDT, Mon August 12, 2013
New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez was suspended in August 2013 after he was accused of having ties to Biogenesis, a now-defunct anti-aging clinic, and taking performance-enhancing drugs. The suspension covers 211 regular-season games through the 2014 season. Rodriguez denied the accusations and said he intends to appeal. Twelve other Major League Baseball players received 50-game suspensions without pay in the Biogenesis probe, and In July, Milwaukee Brewers star outfielder Ryan Braun was suspended for the rest of the season for violating the league's drug policy. New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez was suspended in August 2013 after he was accused of having ties to Biogenesis, a now-defunct anti-aging clinic, and taking performance-enhancing drugs. The suspension covers 211 regular-season games through the 2014 season. Rodriguez denied the accusations and said he intends to appeal. Twelve other Major League Baseball players received 50-game suspensions without pay in the Biogenesis probe, and In July, Milwaukee Brewers star outfielder Ryan Braun was suspended for the rest of the season for violating the league's drug policy.
HIDE CAPTION
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
Drug scandals in sports
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bryan Moore: People who take neuroenhancement drugs to be sharper similar to A-Rod case
  • Moore says some may take mixed amphetamine salts, used to treat ADHD, to gain advantage
  • He says these medications may carry health risks but won't get high achievers fired at work
  • Moore: Perhaps professionals should face same scrutiny as athletes such as A-Rod

Editor's note: Bryan Moore is a senior neurology resident at New York University and will continue his training in 2014 at the University of Pennsylvania as a fellow in neurocritical care. He is also a contributing columnist to The Collared Sheep, a website that posts articles related to the office, corporation and cubicle lifestyle.

(CNN) -- Join me in a thought experiment. Take two individuals, A and B. A is a naturally gifted professional immersed in a hyper-competitive field where performance is publicly scrutinized and frequently re-evaluated. Continuous pressure makes A seek any advantage to excel. He takes medications to gain a physical advantage over competitors while risking chronic health problems.

B is a talented and motivated employee who has made innumerable sacrifices to get ahead at work. She is stressed by the knowledge that her productivity is always being analyzed and feels pressured to use any possible advantage to be the best. She takes a medication that makes her mentally sharper but could endanger her health.

A is maligned baseball star Alex Rodriguez. B is your co-worker with the newly acquired job title who seems to work 90 hours per week, escaping fatigue by inexplicable means.

Opinion: How A-Rod let us down

Bryan Moore
Bryan Moore

Is there really a significant difference between A and B, other than how much A has been publicly criticized? Not really. Their actions stem from the same premise: In competitive professional environments, winners do whatever is necessary to triumph.

Your new VP may lack A-Rod's bulk and salary, but they share a common style.

Rodriguez was recently suspended for 211 games for an alleged connection to a Florida clinic that has been accused of supplying professional athletes with performance-enhancing drugs. Even casual fans realize this action is the equivalent of a guilty verdict for doping.

Your enthusiastically efficient, work-obsessed colleague with the new job title and beautifully renovated office down the hall shares a similar philosophy as athletes accused of doping: Take advantage of any available mechanism to succeed. Consequently, Person B pursues the controversial advantage conferred by "neuroenhancement" medications.

In theory, these act as steroids for the mind. They include mixed amphetamine salts and other medications approved to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Whether or not the medications objectively enhance cognitive performance is still under investigation. There are theorized risks of increased rates of hypertension, heart failure and psychosis with their use, but there is no definitive evidence that the use of neuroenhancement medications imposes these risks.

A-Rod: Worst time of my life
A-Rod is 'disappointed with the penalty'
A-Rod fights suspension

Nonetheless, some researchers are documenting that U.S. college students and professionals are increasingly using neuroenhancement medications for "nonprescription use," which may include the use of the medication in healthy adults seeking a cognitive advantage.

As contentious as the research on neuroenhancement may be, there is even less controlled research looking at the objective results and adverse effects of performance-enhancing drugs in athletics.

Regardless of the outcomes that these medications achieve, the motivations of their consumers are the same. Whether doping for physical or cognitive enhancement, both parties are using medications with indeterminate efficacy and risk to obtain an advantage. The only difference is the level of regulation and scrutiny of the abusers and who is more likely to be punished for the abuse.

Fear of public shaming and prosecution should not drive decision-making when it comes to the illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs. A-Rod has a large number of critics; at least one of them must have tried neuroenhancement to dominate in the office. This person may label A-Rod as a "doper" and question the validity of his achievements without acknowledging that his or her motivations may stem from similar desires.

Fans who are critical of athletes need to apply the same standards to themselves and to the people in their lives. A pharmacologically derived professional advantage in the office should not be seen as more appropriate than a similar advantage gained in a stadium.

A-Rod could potentially sit for hundreds of games as a consequence of the accusations against him. Maybe your new VP should forfeit that fancy new office for 211 days to maintain a moral norm.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Bryan Moore.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:59 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
You could be forgiven for thinking no one cares -- or even should care, right now -- about climate change, writes CNN's John Sutter. But you'd be mistaken.
updated 5:32 PM EDT, Sun September 21, 2014
David Gergen says the White House's war against ISIS is getting off to a rough start and needs to be set right
updated 9:00 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
John Sutter boarded a leaky oyster boat in Connecticut with a captain who can't swim as he set off to get world leaders to act on climate change
updated 3:17 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says making rude use of the Mexican flag on Mexican independence day in a concert in Mexico was extremely tasteless, but not an international incident.
updated 9:59 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Michael Dunn is going to stand trial again after a jury was unable to reach a verdict; Mark O'Mara hopes for a fair trial.
updated 7:15 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Is ballet dying? CNN spoke with Isabella Boylston, a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, about the future of the art form.
updated 5:47 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Sally Kohn says it's time we take climate change as seriously as we do warfare in the Middle East
updated 8:17 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Laurence Steinberg says the high obesity rate among young children is worrisome for a host of reasons
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Dean Obeidallah says an Oklahoma state representative's hateful remarks were rightfully condemned by religious leaders..
updated 3:22 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
No matter how much planning has gone into U.S. military plans to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Arab public isn't convinced that anything will change, says Geneive Abdo
updated 11:44 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
President Obama's strategy for destroying ISIS seems to depend on a volley of air strikes. That won't be enough, says Haider Mullick.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Paul Begala says Hillary Clinton has plenty of good reasons not to jump into the 2016 race now
updated 11:01 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Scotland decided to trust its 16-year-olds to vote in the biggest question in its history. Americans, in contrast, don't even trust theirs to help pick the county sheriff. Who's right?
updated 9:57 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says spanking is an acceptable form of disciplining a child, as long as you follow the rules.
updated 11:47 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Frida Ghitis says the foiled Australian plot shows ISIS is working diligently to taunt the U.S. and its allies.
updated 3:58 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Young U.S. voters by and large just do not see the midterm elections offering legitimate choices because, in their eyes, Congress has proven to be largely ineffectual, and worse uncaring, argues John Della Volpe
updated 9:58 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Steven Holmes says spanking, a practice that is ingrained in our culture, accomplishes nothing positive and causes harm.
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Sally Kohn says America tried "Cowboy Adventurism" as a foreign policy strategy; it failed. So why try it again?
updated 10:27 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Van Jones says the video of John Crawford III, who was shot by a police officer in Walmart, should be released.
updated 10:48 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
NASA will need to embrace new entrants and promote a lot more competition in future, argues Newt Gingrich.
updated 7:15 PM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
If U.S. wants to see real change in Iraq and Syria, it will have to empower moderate forces, says Fouad Siniora.
updated 8:34 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Mark O'Mara says there are basic rules to follow when interacting with law enforcement: respect their authority.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
LZ Granderson says Congress has rebuked the NFL on domestic violence issue, but why not a federal judge?
updated 7:49 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Mel Robbins says the only person you can legally hit in the United States is a child. That's wrong.
updated 1:23 PM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
Eric Liu says seeing many friends fight so hard for same-sex marriage rights made him appreciate marriage.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT