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 6:10 PM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
If Obama thinks pushing out Hagel will be seen as the housecleaning many have eyed for his national security process, he'll be disappointed, says David Rothkopf.
updated 8:11 AM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
The decision by the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney to announce the Ferguson grand jury decision at night was dangerous, says Jeff Toobin.
updated 3:57 AM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
China's influence in Latin America is nothing new. Beijing has a voracious appetite for natural resources and deep pockets, says Frida Ghitis.
updated 4:51 PM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in the capital Tehran on June 14, 2014.
The decision to extend the deadline for talks over Iran's nuclear program doesn't change Tehran's dubious history on the issue, writes Michael Rubin.
updated 2:25 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Maria Cardona says Republicans should appreciate President Obama's executive action on immigration.
updated 7:44 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Van Jones says the Hunger Games is a more sweeping critique of wealth inequality than Elizabeth Warren's speech.
updated 6:29 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
obama immigration
David Gergen: It's deeply troubling to grant legal safe haven to unauthorized immigrants by executive order.
updated 8:34 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Charles Kaiser recalls a four-hour lunch that offered insight into the famed director's genius.
updated 3:12 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
The plan by President Obama to provide legal status to millions of undocumented adults living in the U.S. leaves Republicans in a political quandary.
updated 10:13 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Despite criticism from those on the right, Obama's expected immigration plans won't make much difference to deportation numbers, says Ruben Navarette.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
As new information and accusers against Bill Cosby are brought to light, we are reminded of an unshakable feature of American life: rape culture.
updated 5:56 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
When black people protest against police violence in Ferguson, Missouri, they're thought of as a "mob."
updated 3:11 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Lost in much of the coverage of ISIS brutality is how successful the group has been at attracting other groups, says Peter Bergen.
updated 8:45 AM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Do recent developments mean that full legalization of pot is inevitable? Not necessarily, but one would hope so, says Jeffrey Miron.
updated 8:19 AM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
We don't know what Bill Cosby did or did not do, but these allegations should not be easily dismissed, says Leslie Morgan Steiner.
updated 10:19 AM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Does Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have the influence to bring stability to Jerusalem?
updated 12:59 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Even though there are far fewer people being stopped, does continued use of "broken windows" strategy mean minorities are still the target of undue police enforcement?
updated 9:58 PM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
The truth is, we ran away from the best progressive persuasion voice in our times because the ghost of our country's original sin still haunts us, writes Cornell Belcher.
updated 4:41 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Children living in the Syrian city of Aleppo watch the sky. Not for signs of winter's approach, although the cold winds are already blowing, but for barrel bombs.
updated 8:21 AM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
We're stuck in a kind of Middle East Bermuda Triangle where messy outcomes are more likely than neat solutions, says Aaron David Miller.
updated 7:16 AM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
In the midst of the fight against Islamist rebels seeking to turn the clock back, a Kurdish region in Syria has approved a law ordering equality for women. Take that, ISIS!
updated 11:07 PM EST, Sun November 16, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says President Obama would be justified in acting on his own to limit deportations
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT