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In sport, as in the wider world, these terms carry a specific meaning which is both pejorative and misleading. People who are said to ‘take drugs’ or, worse still, to ‘deal drugs’ are invariably thought to be an affront to decent society. Sociologists who have investigated the ‘drug culture’ are thought, for the sake of their research, to have walked, however briefly, on the wild side. But modern societies are, in effect, drug cultures. Most of us visit the doctor and, when we do, we can expect to be prescribed drugs. Huge trans-national companies exist to deal drugs. This is respectable, however, because it is done for medical purposes – to eradicate illness, injury and discomfort and to ease pain. Some drugs are permissible, ...

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