Love is the drug: performance-enhancing in sport and music

Jeremy (Jed) Novick, Robert Steen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drugs: the question of who should and who shouldn't be permitted to take them, and why, is among the more perplexing issues of modern times. Their value in enhancing performance is hardly a secret. Would Byron and Shelley have been the creative force they were without the aid of laudunum? Would David Bowie have madeStation to Stationif he hadn't been caught in a cocaine blizzard? Would John Lennon have written ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ on caffeine? Should sleep-deprived surgeons be encouraged to take modafinil, a brain stimulant known to boost memory and brain power? But if you're Ben Johnson or Lance Armstrong, down that road lies only disqualification, betrayal and global opprobrium. But is the sports star who looks for an edge, who looks to go further, really any different? And if not, why do we treat them differently? Since musicians, writers and dancers also compete with each other for our pockets and affections, albeit in a less directly confrontational manner, is it fair to stigmatize sportspeople for using chemistry to enhance our enjoyment? This chapter examines whether such double standards can be justified any longer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-432
Number of pages14
JournalSport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article submitted for consideration in Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics © Taylor & Francis; Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics is available online at


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