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Not all of the dangerous, controversial drugs are banned in baseball

Feb 11, 2013, 6:39 AM EDT


We get up in arms about testosterone and HGH — substances our bodies naturally produce and which have few serious side effects or long-lasting consequences — because they’re on a banned list. Meanwhile there’s a drug that a lot of athletes take under the direction and supervision of their teams which can kill people and is banned in several countries: the anti-inflammatory Toradol.

Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston has a story about its use in baseball. The hook: an interview with Jonathan Papelbon who took it routinely when he was with the Red Sox but who was told by the Phillies that he can no longer take it as they do not allow it.  Edes looks into the controversial drug, notes its serious side effects, which can include internal bleeding (Clay Buchholz believes it’s what led to him contracting esophagitis which landed him in the ICU) and notes that it’s banned in several countries, for athletes and normal folks alike.

Papelbon’s description of its use in Major League Baseball is pretty familiar-sounding: it’s taken before the game to help guys “get through a 162 game season.” It’s, by definition, a performance enhancing drug. It’s letting guys do things they otherwise couldn’t do. Allowing their bodies to recover faster which allows them to train harder and compete at a more intense level than they otherwise could. Except it’s not on a banned list so no one cares despite the fact that it has the potential to kill you.

There is a tremendous disconnect between the drugs people think are awful in sports and the drugs that truly have the potential to be harmful. This is maybe the best example. Might be nice if we thought about our priorities about these things once in a while.

  1. yankeepunk3000 - Feb 11, 2013 at 6:52 AM

    Its the same way with laws. People do things all the time that are outlawed in other countrys. Hear they are our rights. The only time we care about such laws is if we break them. Athletes tend to be the same they take whatever their team says to take and as long as its not banned they don’t take a second glance. In effect many things can have huge side affects that can hurt or kill them. Its funny how the mind works on these matters, though I do believe taking steroids for years will kill a man I also believe popin all these other pills can do the same. But if its not banned players will continue to take what they can to get an edge even if it cost them their lives…

    • paperlions - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:01 AM

      I suppose you could believe things….or…you could become informed and know things….unless you believe that believing is enough.

      Worth noting: players do not take toradol to get an advantage, teams give their players toradol to get an advantage. To me, that is different, as teams actively make the decisions. Teams are pretty infamous for not telling players everything they are giving them when they are giving it to them, and that extends to toradol.

      The list of things that are legal and worse for you than taking testosterone include cigarettes, alcohol, and highly processed foods (e.g. pasta and breads made out of refined wheat flour, high fructose corn syrup). If used responsibly, testosterone is one of the least harmful “drugs” you can take. Hell, taking naproxen (Aleve) regularly is more harmful than testosterone.

      • Paul Melkonian - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:26 AM

        So the player has no say in whether they take something? Considering the smarminess of your reply, I expected something intelligent.

      • Old Gator - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:37 AM

        It doesn’t matter if it’s permitted or not. Everyone who takes it is Gowachin guilty anyway.

  2. yankeepunk3000 - Feb 11, 2013 at 6:53 AM

    P.S. Good blog Craig.

    • ctony1216 - Feb 11, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      I agree it’s a good post, but for different reasons. Toradol should be banned, true, but because it’s harmful to athletes, not because it’s a PED. Ibuprofen (Advil) also reduces inflammation, but without harmful side effects. Is Advil a PED? No. What about aspirin? No.

      The Players Union should be advising its players on the dangers of Toradol, and working with MLB to get it banned. Other writers should be raising awareness about its harmful side effects, just as Craig has.

      By the way, last year, Mark Teixeira was taking a widely prescribed medicine (overprescribed, actually) called Prednisone that has some weird side effects, including bad vision, depression, etc. The medicine might have hurt Tex’s performance more than it helped. There are a lot of freaky drugs/medications out there, and the Players Union should be helping athletes understand their side effects and which ones they might be wise to avoid.

      • sabatimus - Feb 11, 2013 at 4:32 PM

        You know, if I were to start listing the drugs that the FDA allows that are banned in other countries, I’d never stop typing.

      • statslady - Feb 11, 2013 at 7:47 PM

        Sorry to burst your bubble, but NSAID’s (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories), which include aspirin and Torodol, are hardly free of “harmful side effects”. All NSAID’s include GI bleeds as a major potential side effect, and it’s bleeding that can kill.

        Those “freaky drugs/medications” are also meds that can be greatly helpful to many, many people. That’s a calculation that every doctor goes through before suggesting/recommending/prescribing anything. That’s also a point that too many people want to ignore in favor of “oh, that drug is so dangerous, it can cause you to faint” or whatever. When they do so, the ignore the good that can be done for them by that drug. It’s a thought process that prevents too many people from accepting the legitimate help that is available for their specific health challenges. That seems to be your thought process here. I have three types of arthritis, one of them inflammatory, and I’m here to tell you that your thought process is wrong.

        And as to your final point, that’s the role of a pharmacist. All that anyone has to do is to ask their pharmacist. Of course, the same information can be found on the internet. One only needs to look, and then, if you still have questions, ask your pharmacist.

      • raysfan1 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:41 PM

        I disagree that Toradol should be banned. Used properly, it’s a great medicine. I have used it successfully on patients many times.

      • ctony1216 - Feb 12, 2013 at 8:38 AM

        How many people “ask their pharmacist” about the side effects of a medication, especially when prescribed by a doctor? Why didn’t Papelbon and Bucholz, two highly paid professional athletes, just ask their pharmacist about the dangers of Toradol?

        The reality is the drug industry makes billions pushing drugs, many of which are beneficial and many of which can be harmful. If the Player’s Union can’t take the time to warn athletes about the side effects of each drug, they should deal with the most-prescribed drugs, or at least explain to their athletes that a lot of these drugs do have harmful side effects, and that they should be aware of those side effects before taking them.

        Remember, not all these athletes are Stanford grads, and there’s a lot of misleading info on the internet. Even some doctors have financial incentives to prescribe certain drugs. The one group that has the players interests in mind is the Player’s Union, and that group should take the initiative to keep the athletes safe.

  3. Reggie's Bush - Feb 11, 2013 at 7:14 AM

    Where does “performance enhancing drugs” end? Like, where is the line?

    If you have a flu and you take medicine – is that “performance enhancing”? I mean you wouldn’t be able to preform at the same level if you were shivering sick right?

    What about excedrin migraine pills? If you have a migraine you wouldn’t be able to perform at the same level as you would without it.

    In my opinion, if a drug (recovery or not) has the ability to make you stronger, faster, etc than your body would achieve under normal circumstances – then I’d call it a PED. Not every drug needs to get the stigma of being “performance enhancing”

    • paperlions - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:06 AM

      Do you think that drugs that allow your body to heal faster than it could under normal circumstances so that you can play harder, longer, and more often at peak level is a performance enhancer?

      Do you think that drugs that allow you to ignore pain you couldn’t ignore under normal circumstances in order to allow you to play at a higher level is a performance enhancer?

      Do you think that drugs that give you an energy boost and mental focus that is great than you could achieve under normal circumstances is a performance enhancer?

      To me, there are far more physical aspects that go into performance than speed and strength.

      • Paul Melkonian - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:28 AM

        So caffeine is a performance enhancing drug?

      • paperlions - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:10 AM

        Of course it is. People seem to love to draw arbitrary boundaries. Predictably, the boundaries falls into “things I use, so they are okay” and “things I don’t use or need to use, so they are not okay.”

        To be clear, I am not pro PED use in sports…it would be great if baseball and other sports were PED-free. I am pro informed opinion with respect to what each drug does and does not do in terms of both health risks and performance enhancement, if any.

  4. reasonableeaglefan - Feb 11, 2013 at 7:18 AM

    So Craig, would you eliminate ibuprofen and naproxen(Alleve) as PEDs? They are in the same class of drugs as Toradol (NSAIDs), require prescriptions at high doses (like those most athletes would require), and are readily available to the general public, like Toradol is (and don’t fool yourself into thinking its not being prescribed thousands of times a day to patients that aren’t as healthy as pro athletes). Unlike anabolic steroids, which are not included in the standard of care of almost any condition. Or maybe writers just found out what Toradol is and are making a big fuss about it

    • paperlions - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:17 AM

      That is a conflation of argument. Just because the primary use of a drug is related to strength (anabolic steroids are used to treat many medical conditions) does not mean that its effects are greater or more useful for baseball players than other drugs. Yes, taking a bunch of steroids and hitting the gym will make players bigger and stronger, but there isn’t any evidence that it helps them play baseball better (just a long, information ignoring narrative). The primary utility of steroids to baseball players is probably similar to that of toradol (or naproxen), it helps them stay on the field….and, regular steroid use is definitely safer than toradol or even naproxen (unless you are a fan of intestinal bleeding).

      Again, this is about one set of substances being on a list (it should be noted that the AMA was 100% against the steroid act that was passed for political motives in 1991, steroid use without a prescription was not medically supported), and others not being on a list. The stigma is being on the list….not the danger or the utility of the drugs.

      • jeffbbf - Feb 11, 2013 at 11:06 AM

        In theory, every drug you put into your system is performance-enhancing. From testosterone to insulin to aspirin. This, of course, would be the all-encompassing definition of a PED. Of course, what professional sports iseem to be trying to define and ban are those drugs that 1)provide an unfair advantage by allowing an athlete’s body to do things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do without the drug; 2) are potentially or proven dangerous; 3) are probably not approved by the FDA or prescribed by a licensed doctor; 4) are not related to a medical condition; and 5) not generally available to the public. But, of course, if your slant is to be the conspiracy theorist on the board in order to get reactions, so be it.

    • statslady - Feb 11, 2013 at 7:55 PM

      Anabolic steroids are part of the standard care for all muscle wasting illnesses, and for the same reason that has them labeled as PED’s – they help to build/rebuild/maintain muscle mass.

      This is a story because Jonathan Papelbon didn’t bother to look before he lept – into the arms of the Phillies organization, and now he seems to be whining about it.

  5. reasonableeaglefan - Feb 11, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    Oh and if it did cause clay buchholz’ esophagitis, and it may have, that’s one case out of thousands of players who have taken this drug with a reported side effect. Sounds like less than 1%, which is usually acceptable in the medical community, but maybe one of the Sabermetricians can weigh in on the numbers

    • paperlions - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:18 AM

      First, that is the only case that was speculated about. It isn’t like teams are going to fess up to all of the side-effects they think could be caused by the drug.


  6. markfrednubble - Feb 11, 2013 at 7:27 AM

    Craig, you make a great point about Toradol and I for one did not know about it. To me it’s just the latest example of something you write less about, which is the chronic absence of actual journalists covering sports. If sports were covered by more than just lazy, fawning sportswriters who are afraid to lose their precious access, we would likely know more about topics like PEDs as they occur instead of years later. Just my opinion.

    You focus on legality and rules as to why you believe people “get all up in arms” about PEDs, but I think fans are just reacting to the information in front of us. My disgust with the athletes who use PEDs is not about breaking rules per se as much as it’s about distorting competition. The cartoon muscles and age-defying performance of guys like Bonds and Clemens pass the easy eyeball test. Baseball fans care about historic achievements and records, and we have a hard time reconciling the most blatant abuses in that context. Bonds doesn’t deserve Hank Aaron’s crown. The only thing we can do about it now, after he got away with it, it hope guys like him get locked out of Cooperstown. It’s all we have.

    The more subtle PEDs like Toradol or greenies are so difficult to discern in terms of their impact on level-playing-field competititon. Maybe this will lead to new awareness about phony durability of relief pitchers who can throw high octane every day. Let’s hope we get more reporting like Gordon’s so that rules and testing can have a prayer of keeping up with true PEDs — for the integrity of competition as well as the long-term health of the athletes.

    • sufferingphilsfan - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:07 AM

      lazy, fawning sportswriters who are afraid to lose their precious access, we would likely know more about topics like PEDs as they occur instead of years later.

      nail on head…craig to a tee.

    • paperlions - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:24 AM

      It is probably harder to discern the impact of steroids on baseball than it is amphetamines. Hitting and throwing a baseball are highly derived skills, strength helps, but there are limits to it’s utility. Check out a list of all of the players busted for steroids, few are big guys or power hitters, how do you discern who was using from who wasn’t or what the effect was. At the very least, steroids require repeated strenuous workout to have a potential effect…and even then there is no guarantee….thousands of baseball players used steroids, only a few had historic performances (about the same proportion that occur in any generation).

      Amphetamines can be taken and have an immediate positive effect on energy level and mental focus, no extra work required. Oddly enough, power numbers in baseball declined when amphetamine testing began, not when steroid testing began (they didn’t start at the same time). Power number didn’t increase when steroid use began either, power numbers jumped when MLB introduced a new ball in the middle of the 93 season….I doubt every player suddenly started juicing and hitting the gym at the same time.

    • ejannetta - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:45 PM

      Cartoon Muscles!…How about Big Sloppy? I would bet any amount of money that Papi has juiced on more than one occasion. Remember! He attended the very same training facility in the DR that A-Rod frequented and the guy running the place was dealing PED’s.

  7. larrybrown43 - Feb 11, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    I think all sports should ban every pharmaceutical ever made; even aspirin. How about caffeine too?

  8. buddaley - Feb 11, 2013 at 7:37 AM

    At the heart of the problem is that we categorize taking drugs as a legal and moral issue when it is purely a medical one. There may be a legitimate societal concern to protect its citizen’s health and productivity (although the latter issue seems inappropriate regarding PEDs), but for the individual it remains a medical concern at most.

    Although one might make a case that there is some moral issue involving self-control and and discipline, that case still does not mean the law should be involved, at least not in an essentially punitive mode.

    And the only real reason there is any moral issue is that, despite its inapplicability, there are laws prohibiting drug use. So we claim that it is immoral to break those laws.

    But what about those laws? Is blanket prohibition with severe penalties the proper way to address what is essentially a medical issue? Are the laws themselves rational in their distinctions among drugs, in their applicability, in their practicality, in the gap between intentions and reality?

    Why exactly does baseball (and the law) proscribe some means of improving performance while sponsoring others? Aside from the very shaky argument that injecting with steroids or taking some PED is wrong because it is illegal, based on an assumption that all laws, no matter how counter-productive and irrational should be obeyed, why are some performance enhancers more unethical than others? Were these players cheating because they sought to improve their performance, to give the teams and the fans more exciting baseball?

    And even if you want to label it cheating, why is it more heinous than the common variety “cheating” that happens in baseball regularly? Why do we chuckle at an admitted spitballer and welcome him to the Hall of Fame, but spit venom at a steroid user even though the rule at the time he may have used them was unenforced and unenforceable.

    Who is the bigger cheater, the player who works to enhance performance or the one who comes to the ball park hung over and unable to perform up to par? Who cheated, Bonds who allegedly took PEDs and engaged in year round rigorous training to make himself a superstar or Mantle who admitted to playing bleary-eyed and spent his time away from the ball park abusing his body?

  9. Old Gator - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:06 AM

    What a relief. After reading the first few lines of that blog, I thought he was going to talk about beer.

  10. Charles Gates - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:21 AM

    And then there’s Selig and Viagra, which I just made you think about.

    • indaburg - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:47 AM

      Damn you.

    • Old Gator - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      No, you didn’t. You’re dealing with a mind disciplined by a lifetime of Kundalini Yoga. My Kundalini remained firmly rooted in Svadisthana and could not be induced to budge.

      • kiwicricket - Feb 11, 2013 at 2:10 PM

        Glad to hear your time in Mysore has paid off.

  11. raysfan1 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:27 AM

    As a previous poster noted, ketorolac (Toradol) is an NSAID (non-steroidal anit-inflammatory drug), a drug used for inflammation and pain relief. The side effects noted, including what happened to Bucholz, are possible with all of them, including ibuprofen. Most of those same side effects can happen with steroids too. Used properly, the drugs are a boon; improperly use them, and they are potentially dangerous.

  12. vallewho - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:30 AM

    Isn’t Toradol the stuff that allegedly cause a heart attack on ta college football player?

    And when I first started reading this article, my first thought was about the ubiquitous “cortisone shots”…what great pick-me-up PEDs!

    • jm91rs - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:13 AM

      Yeah Toradol is implicated in a heart attack of a USC football player. Many colleges don’t use it anymore, as there was the impression that teams were forcing kids to take it to get back on the field, knowing full well the potential side effects. I think the problem is that it’s not meant to be used for prolonged periods, which is the way it sounds like Papelbon was getting it.

  13. indaburg - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    This is a complicated one. After reading this post, I did a little research. I recalled reading a few years ago that NSAIDs do not aid in muscle recovery (“allowing their bodies to recover faster” as Craig wrote) and in fact, can inhibit recovery in some cases. The evidence is murky at best and most of the scholarly articles I found indicated the need for more research in this area.

    Toradol and other NSAIDs are analgesics. The evidence is clear that they reduce or eliminate the sensation of pain. Is this performance enhacing or performance enabling? Is considering there is a difference a matter of semantics? Is there no difference? Is eliminating pain, something the players’ bodies are unable to do naturally without the passage of some time to allow the body to heal itself, in effect a performance enhancer? I am thinking yes, although I’m not yet sure of the answer. My thinking on this topic is still a work in progress.

    This is too much thinking for someone who hasn’t had any coffee, my PED of choice.

    • stex52 - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:01 AM

      Here’s a brigth spot for you on this Monday morning as we share our PED of choice, Inda. P’s and C’s report late next week. No mor thinking about these weighty issues. We will just WATCH BASEBALL!!

      I was beginning to feel like it would never get here. Better get working on your fantasy draft.

      • stex52 - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:02 AM

        And as you can see, I am typing like someone who hasn’t finished his PED.

      • indaburg - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:25 AM

        I’m very sensitive to the effects of our PED of choice. It’s basically a greenie to me. I have to use it sparingly.

        Next week? Some are actually reporting… tomorrow!! Later this week, I’m going to check out some practices. That’s my Valentine’s Day present to me.

        I’ve already started working on the draft. I’m really looking forward to it.

      • stex52 - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:59 AM

        I have names, but no bid ranges or order yet. The wife is going out of town for a day or two. Hope to do some fast catch-up.

  14. vilelabyrinth - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    If MLB finds a way to make a profit on HGH it would be legal. usin the fact tarodol can kill you is silly, I mean Tylenol can kill you when taken in excess over a period of time..

  15. Paul Melkonian - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    You cover baseball correct? I’d think you would know PED rules aren’t there to protect players they are there to protect the sport.

    • paperlions - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:11 AM

      They are there for PR.

  16. chasestern - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    I agree and disagree with many comments posted so far. Some thoughtful an intelligent. Some shortsighted and clearly facetious. Allow me to contribute to the latter: I myself can proudly admit here and now for all the world to hear that I have knowingly and repeatedly taken a known Performance Enhancing Drug known as ALCOHOL (AL-CO-HALL) in order to enhance my performance in the bedroom.

  17. yousuxxors - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    im sick of this shit. just like craig said, where do you draw the line? im tired of good athletes career get derailed bc of injury. let then so steriods tk get healthy. your never gonna get rid od it. a player has to be good brfore the drugs anyway. yoyr never gonna get rid of them.

  18. Chris Fiorentino - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    To be honest, Craig, I don’t care what drugs hurt players and what drugs are good for players. They are big boys and they can do whatever they want to their bodies to make a living. The issue here is whether they are breaking the rules. Period. If a substance is banned, they are not allowed to take it. If it is not, they can take it. If poison was not banned, and it helped them hit home runs, then take as much as you want gentlemen!!

    You seem to have fallen into the trap of worrying about which drugs hurt players and which do not. Why should we even care about that?

    • stex52 - Feb 11, 2013 at 11:01 AM

      Because we’re decent human beings?

      • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 11, 2013 at 11:25 AM

        So if I feel that player A can take willingly take whatever “non-banned” drugs he wants, even those that may harm him, I am not a “decent human being”? What’s he 5 years old???? Geeze.

      • stex52 - Feb 11, 2013 at 11:52 AM

        I can generally go with a pretty libertarian view of things. You can say that if a player chooses to shorten his life by making himself and his family very wealthy, then that is his choice. One problem, though. Those millions would not be available to players if it were not for the immense amounts of money being pumped into the game by – y’know – fanboys like us. So we do have an ethical dog in this fight. Besides, not caring about what they take is avoiding the likelihood that they are being pressured by their employers into decisions that are detrimental to their health. In fact that is pretty clearly the case here.

      • cur68 - Feb 11, 2013 at 12:21 PM

        Given how much pressure and how high the inducements are to perform well, we are well advised to ban certain chemicals in sports. Some of that stuff that helps with hitting baseballs or getting “up” for a game can kill you quick. Amphetamines in particular, but cocaine too. If athletes didn’t have MLB rules forbidding use of certain things then they would have no legitimate reason to say “No” to coaches, managers, agents etc who want them to perform well all the time.

        There’s a very good parallel with concussions that illustrates this point nicely. Before we had the current rules, education, and understood how long a person might take to recover from concussions, many players came back too soon. They were urged to do so by all around them, even though the player KNEW he was off. He had nothing to back him up to say “hey, this isn’t safe for me”.

        Some things should be banned. Banned if only to give players and those concerned for player well-being something firm to stand on if they do not agree with the course of action.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 11, 2013 at 12:49 PM

        cur, but the bigger point is that if a substance is banned, it is banned. Whether it was bad for you or not I don’t really care. It’s BANNED. Sure I would love to ban everything that could cause problems for players, but if a substance is not BANNED, then the players should be allowed to use it.

        Kudos to my Phillies for banning Toradol, something I have taken a few times in the past with no consequences. But if they want to BAN it on their team, then that’s their right.

        However, if Papelbon used it on the Red Sox, and it wasn’t BANNED by them or MLB, then who am I to question him on his usage of it? I trust that baseball would ban it if it was dangerous enough, and it obviously is not. Just because we have one case of a guy who may have gotten ill because of it or because it is banned in some other countries, doesn’t make it something that needs to be banned by MLB.

    • cur68 - Feb 11, 2013 at 1:26 PM

      Perhaps I misunderstood you, Chris. I thought you were making an argument for unbanning everything. Your reply seems to be indicating that what you actually mean is “judge to the banned list and never mind actual harm” (I’m probably overstating here, but its for the sake of clarity, not to paint you with too broad of a brush).

      The problem with the “MLB’s PEDs List” is that it doesn’t make a lot of sense in some cases. HGH is a good example. Its not a performance enhancer. What’s it doing on that list?

      Toradol use seems to be the other side of the coin: its potentially harmful and clearly being used as a PED but not on the list.

      Given MLB’s woeful history with drug use, their wilful blindness towards HGH, and their “image first” stance on drug use some of us don’t trust them and their list. Common sense seems to not play a role in it and we’d rather not see some nice talented kid drop dead because of a flawed list.

  19. savvybynature - Feb 11, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Craig, you are clearly on the side of not damning players for their PED use, and I respect that opinion. However, I think your readers would be better served if you wrote editorials outlining your opinions in detail, rather than just inserting opinions into every article that involves PED use.
    Here is why: “We get up in arms about testosterone and HGH — substances our bodies naturally produce and which have few serious side effects or long-lasting consequences”
    Steroids have been linked to heart enlargement and heart attacks, liver and kidney cancers, and mania and delusions. Among pubescent users it can delay or stall out development. I’m not sure what makes you say these are not serious side effects or that a heart attack or cancer wouldn’t have long-lasting effects. Death is as long-lasting as it gets.
    Further, young baseball fans who read this blog are left with the impression that HGH and steroid use isn’t really a big deal or particularly harmful. Do you really feel qualified to put these opinions out there authoritatively without a single dissenting opinion in the article? If your assertions are true, shouldn’t we be getting this information from a doctor or medical professional?
    Personally I find this comment to be completely unprofessional and irresponsible. Don’t misread me here: I like your blog, I like your writing, and I’m all for opinions counter to the norm. I would urge you to tread much more carefully however when it comes to throwing out opinions like steroids and HGH are harmless. If you believe that to be true, it should be a separate post that carefully analyzes counter opinions and data and reviews the current medical literature on the topic (much of which disagrees with you), rather than just stating as fact something that is very much not established fact. We are talking medical issues here after all — not your opinion on baseball alone which is much more in your wheelhouse as an expert. I know in blogs opinions are routinely thrown in to articles to spice them up a little, but again, this is a medical issue that could have consequences of life and death, and I hope you feel some obligation to report factually to your readers, some of whom may be very young.

    • phillyphreak - Feb 11, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      I agree with some of your thoughts- it’s true that irresponsible use of anabolic steroids can have negative health impacts. I will caution you in the established fact part of medical literature- I’m not really sure the HGH impact has really been demonstrated either way. And consequences of life and death is a little harsh no?

      • savvybynature - Feb 11, 2013 at 12:57 PM

        While the health impact of misusing anabolic steroids is debated within the current medical literature — even more so in the case of HGH — I don’t think it is a stretch to say the consequences COULD be of a life and death nature, whether by directly impacting one’s health or by resulting psychological and emotional effects that can influence behavior and decision making.
        And that’s not even considering the risks of sharing needles, which seems to be common among younger users according to a study published in the NE Journal of Medicine (abstract:
        Debating whether these guys should get into the HoF is one thing, but sending a message that using anabolic steroids is not a big deal is quite another imo.

      • phillyphreak - Feb 11, 2013 at 1:26 PM

        Two points;

        1) If the emphasis was COULD be then it should have been spelled out that way. And if that were the case, I’d probably agree.

        2) If, as a society, we are looking to baseball to instill right and wrong into young kids then we’re probably doing something wrong.

        The study you linked two is a questionnaire based study from 1993. As a scientist doing bench research, I have a really hard time believing these types of studies- mostly because we cannot account for how truthful all responders may be and what impact they may have in skewing data. Interesting though is that after having health classes on risks,a lower percentage of users shared needles and one would assume that these classes have come a long way especially in our understanding and control of disease transmission. This might suggest that if people are using, we can at least educate them on ways to cut down on disease transmission.

      • savvybynature - Feb 11, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        “this is a medical issue that could have consequences of life and death”

        I only know of one way to spell “could” and it’s right there in my original post.

        I’m not saying we should look to baseball for what’s right and wrong at all. Stating that steroids and HGH are harmless with few long-term effects isn’t a comment on right and wrong; it is a statement about medical science, not morality.

      • phillyphreak - Feb 11, 2013 at 2:47 PM

        Holy jeeze, totally missed that first time round…sorry pal.

  20. phillyphreak - Feb 11, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    I think some posters above are guilty of lumping all NSAIDs into one category. NSAID just means that the drug is anti-inflammatory and not a steroid. It is true that higher doses of ibuprofen can be prescribed by a doctor, but really it’s the same thing as popping 3 (instead of 2, or the recommended dose of 1) OTC pills. There’s nothing different about them. The prescription thing is because you shouldn’t take NSAIDs at high doses for long periods of time.

    Toradol is different in that it is indicated for moderate to severe pain and only for short term. High doses or extended doses of the drug is thought to be the culrpit of the nasty side effects.

    I think some of the disconnect is that everything is available at the click of a mouse now, and because of that we all feel like we can play scientist. It’s not true, so we need to be careful in our comparisons and commenting.

  21. ajbaxter1975 - Feb 11, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    I’ve been administered Toradol shots several times during emergency room visits for back problems. It burns like a hot poker when it goes in and the discomfort doesn’t go away quickly. Why any knucklehead would willingly put themselves through that is beyond me.

    • stex52 - Feb 11, 2013 at 2:03 PM

      Money. Far more money than you would otherwise see in your whole life. I wish I had a better answer than that. But that’s why they are doing it.

  22. unclemosesgreen - Feb 11, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    Wait, wait, wait, there’s a drug that fixes Jonathan Papelbon while almost killing Clay Bucholz? Given what Clay did to my fantasy team in his last start last year, I may be interested in purchasing a large amount …

  23. bobcrs - Feb 11, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    Wow…Craig you have to be an avid steroid user as I never read so many articles that support steroids and cheating as no big deal

    • macjacmccoy - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:07 AM

      Actually it was just released that in the Biogenesis log books there are many entries about money being paid to someone called C.C./Blogger under the label Shill .

  24. macjacmccoy - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:45 AM

    Wow Craig you just proved your ignorance and bias on the effects of anabolic steroids and HGH. No serious or long term effects? That is so laughably uninformed that its almost sad. Joint erosion, stunted growth, hardened ventricles and veins, heart disease, ligament ruptures, cancer, inability to naturally produce the hormones afterwards, extreme amounts of estrogen production, depression, psychosis, diabetes, osteoporosis, bone decay etc. Not to mention the purely vain but still negative outward effects of the substances like acne scarring, skin discoloration, and female like breasts on men.

    But no they arent dangerous they are only illegal because it makes baseball players better.

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