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Performance-enhancing drugs

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Performance-enhancing drugs, or PEDs, include all pharmaceutical products considered to give an inappropriate boost to athletic performance, such as steroids, amphetamines or human growth hormone. Their use has been banned by Major League Baseball for a number of years for health reasons, although this ban only became truly effective with the introduction of testing in the Collective Bargaining Agreement in the wake of the 2000s steroid scandal and the BALCO affair. PEDs are not to be confused with drugs of abuse, such as cocaine or marijuana, which are also banned, but whose effect on performance is usually detrimental. Many of the banned PEDs are also scheduled drugs whose possession or distribution without a prescription is a federal offense.

Internationally, PEDs are banned by the International Olympic Committee, which includes testing undertaken by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as part of competitions it organizes, such as the baseball tournaments at the Olympic Games. The International Baseball Federation has its own testing regime for competitions such as the Baseball World Cup.

A number of prominent players have been suspended for infringing Major League Baseball's policy on PEDs, most notably Rafael Palmeiro in 2005 and Manny Ramirez in 2009. Ramirez was detected through Major League Baseball's systematic testing program which performs approximately 3,600 tests per year, failing a test in 2009 that led to his suspension, and a second one in 2011 that prompted his retirement.

While PEDs were largely accepted by players as a fact of the game in the 2000s, with only a few lone voices speaking out against them, things changed the following decade, as many prominent players began to ask the Players Union to demand more stringent controls and penalties, in order to rid baseball of the taint caused by the benign neglect of its drug problem over the previous two decades. As Ryan Zimmerman put it in 2013: "If you want hardship penalties, I'm all for that. Nobody wants to watch cheaters. Those guys make those of us who don't cheat, don't use, look worse." This coincided with the rise of Michael Weiner, who had long been an advocate for a drug-free sport, as the union's chief.

During spring training in 2013, the major league's next significant PED scandal emerged, when an investigation into a Miami, FL clinic, Biogenesis Laboratories, revealed that it including a number of major league players among its list of clients. The clinic was suspected by Federal authorities of supplying PEDs to its clients. An in-depth investigation of the allegations was immediately launched, and the first suspension was handed out on July 22nd, when Ryan Braun recognized that he had violated MLB's drug program and chose not to contest a suspension for the remainder of the year.

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