The Atlantic has a provocative article arguing that drug-fuelled shootings would make competitive sport more interesting, although probably not in the way you’re thinking.
The piece discusses beta blockers such as propranolol, drugs that have their major effect on the peripheral part of the autonomic nervous system.
They don’t actually make the user feel less psychologically anxious, but just reduce the normal ‘fight or flight’ pumped feeling, so the bodily effects of anxiety such as shaking, sweating, heart pounding and muscle tension are reduced.
These drugs are used widely by professional musicians to stop performance jitters and the Atlantic article argues that they should be allowed in sports like shooting and archery so competitors aren’t disadvantaged by performance anxiety.
From a competitive standpoint, this is what makes beta blockers so interesting : they seem to level the playing field for anxious and non-anxious performers, helping nervous performers much more than they help performers who are naturally relaxed. In the British study, for example, the musician who experienced the greatest benefit was the one with the worst nervous tremor. This player’s score increased by a whopping 73%, whereas the musicians who were not nervous saw hardly any effect at all.
One of the most compelling arguments against performance enhancing drugs is that they produce an arms race among competitors, who feel compelled to use the drugs even when they would prefer not to, simply to stay competitive. But this argument falls away if the effects of the drug are distributed so unequally. If it’s only the nervous performers who are helped by beta blockers, there’s no reason for anyone other than nervous performers to use them.