Whenever I have a chance to research or write about performance enhancing drugs, or anabolic steroids, I take it. Mostly because its interesting to me, but also because I had a good friend who took anabolic steroids, and he greatly suffered from the side effects. His name is Zach, and he is my best friend. Zach was always into sports his whole life, but he really began to feel the pressure when he left to go play football in college. He felt the need to get bigger and faster, and just lifting weights was not doing It for him so he began taking anabolic steroids. He quickly put on 20 pounds of muscle, and got faster. But he soon began to realize that it wasn’t worth it. After taking steroids for about a year, Zach began to become depresses, and when I say depressed, I mean extremely depressed. He was not talking to any of his friends, and he had broken up with his girlfriend so none of us knew what was really going on. I did not know how serious the situation was until his mother called me letting me know that Zach was suicidal, and had dropped out of college. I was in shock. Zachs life had taken a complete 360 spiral the wrong way, all because of PEDs or anabolic steroids. After Zach went through therapy and was slowly cycled off anabolc steroids he began to be my best friend again. It’s crazy how much one drug can really affect someone in such a negative way, and when we talk about it to this day he tells me that it was not worth it at all.
Another story that I found touching while I was doing my research, that people should know about. This article from the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) summarizes Taylor Hootons death, and how high school athletes feel the pressure to take steroids. Taylor Hooton, a 16 year old boy from Texas was, a well-known boy who did well on and off the baseball field. Taylor was told by his baseball coach that he needed to get bigger to move up on the team depth chart. After his coach told him, Taylor thought he had only one option. Taylor began using anabolic steroids in the year 2003. Taylor’s family began to notice some mild mood swings from Taylor. So Taylor’s parents began taking him to a psychiatrist. Taylor admitted to using anabolic steroids, and promised that he would stop using them. That same summer, Taylor started to get into trouble. Taylor stole a laptop computer. His parents grounded him from driving his truck, and he couldn’t hang with his for two weeks as a punishment for stealing the laptop. The next morning after his punishments, Taylor tried pleaded his mother not to punish him. Taylor’s mother said, “’ Taylor came in and had a couple tears in his eyes, so he reached over and squeezed her hand, went upstairs and hung himself.”’
Taylor is just one of thousands of high school athletes that abuse or take anabolic steroids. When steroids are taken, they suppress the body’s ability to produce testosterone. When someone stops using steroids, t5he body takes a few months to return to normal and severe depression can occur. The article explains how there are no exact number on suicides related to steroids, but Taylor’s father said it’s not uncommon. According to UNESCO, 500,000 to 600,000 high school student athlete’s abuse or have used steroids. Dr. Lyle Micheli says that there is an underground black market for kids to buy steroids, and the internet is even easier way to get steroids. A survey taken by the Youth Risk Behavior survey says that 6.1 percent of students in grades 9-12 have tried steroids without a doctor’s prescription. Taylor’s father says he believes that all students need to be educated and taught the risks of taking anabolic steroids. He says this because he doesn’t want to see young lives taken because of steroids. Another point brought up in the article is that today’s youth sees professional athletes using steroids. They think that since professional athletes can get away with using steroids, then they can use steroids and get away with it. The article mentions how New Jersey high schools are now using a high school steroid testing program.
This was a very touching article for me because I realized how lucky I was. I didn’t have to see my best friend commit suicide, but I did lose my best friend. This is why I believe that every student in high school should be tested. It doesn’t matter if only 100 kids die a year. That is still a hundred lives that could be saved. In the article when Dr. Lyle Micheli is saying how steroids are extremely easy to buy online. I think that is true because I know that’s how Zach bought his steroids. I think that there should be some way to monitor websites selling illegal steroids. I also completely agree with Mr. Hooton, I think that today’s youth should be educated on anabolic steroids. I agree with this because this would teach students what happens to their bodies if they use steroids. This would maybe help to make student athletes make the right choice. One of the main reasons that today’s youth think it’s acceptable to use steroids is because their professional role models use them. It also makes the youth think that steroids will make them as good as their role model. One of the main things that I think will help solve steroid use, is to have random testing every week for all high school athletes. Like in the state of New Jersey they require drug test for every student. Every state needs to have that rule. Think how many lives could be saved if all 50 states required drug tests. I also strongly disagree the parents of these athletes that say “since only so few students are caught using steroids why waste time to test students.”. A life is a life, and as many lives should be saved as possible.
– Here is an amazing video that shows what kids like Zach were going through when they used anabolic steroids. I know it is a little long, but it is a great story, and really gives you a good idea of what happens psychologically happens when someone takes steroids- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkPZ5xIAIk4
There are laws that are in place that make taking anabolic steroids illegal, but it so east to do and not monitored and is becoming decriminalized. According to Lindsey Barton, there are a few ways to prevent steroid use, but its difficult. Some ways of prevention are,
– “Education: Well-designed, properly implemented sex-spacific, sport-centered, and nd coach-facilitated educational programs appears to be effective AAS abuse deterrents for adolescent student-athletes.”
-“Drug testing: Whether drug testing significantly deters AAS abuse remains unclear, says the statement, due to the small number of high-quality studies. The statement says a prospective randomized trials to investigate the deterrent effect of AAS screening is “greatly needed.”
These are the two main way that are used when it comes to preventing anabolic steroid abuse. I think that when people know what nasty side effects that this drugs has that it will deter them from using anabolic steroids. When looking at ways of treatment, Lindsay Barton list a few ways to treat anabolic steroid abusers.
–keeping athletes’ self-esteem high with alternatives to AAS, such as evidence-based nutrition and weight-training principles, along with collaboration from conditioning experts and sports nutritionists, among others
-building trust with patients, clients, athletes, and coaches through consistent, year-round, evidence-based educational meetings and in-service sessions;
-avoiding unfounded scare tactics and hype concerning the negative consequences of AAS;
-being alert for excessive discussion about and focus on supplements and nutrition practices or self-education about AAS (eg, types, stacks, and cycles);
-not threatening suspected AAS abusers, but instead cautiously stating their suspicions and offering evidence-based information and assistance in order to be an “accessible agent of positive behavioral changes”
-acknowledging the minimal, short-term (physical) consequences of AAS abuse but stressing education from health, moral and ethical, and legal perspectives;
-commenting on the negative aspects of AAS abuse, such as increased acne, stunted growth, or jaundice because they are “issues younger adolescents and adults will likely to be concerned about,” and being sure not to compliment their physical appearance (eg. muscularity) or strength gaines because it may reinforce or encourage AAS abuse;
-discussing personal sacrifices that accompany AAS abuse, such as money, time, social experiences, risk of disease and injury, and counterfeit or tainted products, among others; and
-remaining attentive because AAS abusers typically are secretive and good at not getting caught (i.e. a passed drug screen does not prove AAS nonuse).
As of right now there are rules in all professional sports that ban the use of anabolic steroids and other PEDs, and there is also legal laws against the use of anabolic steroids. I think that by educating our youth about anabolic steroids and other PEDs, and their bad side effects as well as drug test more consistently, then we will be more successful in preventing anacolic steroid abuse.
Barton, Lindsay. “Pro-Active Approach To Preventing Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Use Urged.” Moms TEAM. MomsTeam, n.d. Web. 10 July 2014.
Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior. By, Carl Hart and Charles Ksir.
“DrugFacts: Anabolic Steroids.” National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). N.p., July 2012. Web. 13 July 2014.
Roberts, Stephen. “Dying to be prefect”. “UNECO”. Sept. 2006. 9 Oct. 2008
Kersey R, Elliott D, et. al. National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids. J Ath. Train 2012;47(5):567-588 doi:10.4085/1062-6050-47.5.08.
Neri, M. M., Bello, S. S., Bonsignore, A. A., Cantatore, S. S., Riezzo, I. I., Turillazzi, E. E., & Fineschi, V. V. (2011). Anabolic Androgenic Steroids Abuse and Liver Toxicity. Mini Reviews In Medicinal Chemistry, 11(5), 430-437.
Radcliffe, Shawn. “Troubling Trend: Steroid Use On The Rise.” Men’s Fitness. Weider Publications LLC, n.d. Web. 10 July 2014.