Thirteen players tested positive for the amphetamine-based drug Adderall in the past season, and 105 were granted exemptions for attention deficit disorder, for which Adderall is frequently prescribed. The exemptions excuse players in advance for banned substances they take on doctor's orders.It's very likely, of course, that baseball players are exploting a loophole so that they can use Adderall for its stimulant properties. This kind of off-label use is exploding in the general population, so it should come as no surprise that athletes are also tuning in.
The numbers, published in the third annual report of the league's drug program administrator, roughly mirrored those of the previous two seasons. There were 106 ADD exemptions in 2008, and 108 in 2009. That represents about 10% of MLB players, suggesting that the big leagues either have a disproportionately high number of distractible players, or that taking amphetamine-based drugs remains a popular method of staying alert during a long and grueling season.
So, is it cheating? What about caffeine, which is another stimulant? And what about students who are using Adderall in droves? Are they cheating, too? If it's being used in general everyday life, why can't it be used in sports? Are we creating an artificial dichotomy between real life and the theater of sports?
On this topic, I highly recommend this Nature piece from 2008: Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy.
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