Need a brain steroid

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I found Daniel Riggs’ cover story, “Juiced,” quite interesting. Riggs has a lot of talent, and I have a feeling he’s going to go a long way in this business. Anyway, it seems a topic full of the promise of discussion. It’s pretty obvious that people who know more about the physiological effects of steroids than I do think it’s a bad idea for young people to take them—but they’re certainly more ambivalent when it comes to adult athletes.

Personally, I think steroids should be legal under a doctor’s observation for people over 21. Is that radical? I can say with near certainty that there will be advancements in gene therapy and nanotechnology in the next couple of decades that will make steroids look about as effective as Tic Tacs.

It’s a peculiar hypocrisy we have. We worship the risk takers, the people who let nothing stand in their way. Most of our heroes are the top people in whatever field—athletes, firefighters, captains of industry, rock stars. We allow anybody to enhance their joints, improve their health, sharpen their mind, ease their pain—go ahead and pick your deficit; society accepts your chemical enhancement.

But not steroids. We tell the very heroes we’ve worshipped for their extreme competitiveness that there is something that will improve their performance and that the people they compete with are taking, but taking it is cheating. And the whole time, from junior high even, they’re watching the cheaters prosper.

My bottom line isn’t sympathy with the heroes; my bottom line is that I don’t think the government should be able to tell us what we can do with our bodies. While government can and should regulate criminal actions, an adult’s ingestion of any substance—as long as it doesn’t hurt another person—should not be the government’s business. People are not the government’s chattel.