Steroid use has become an increasingly frustrating problem for those in the professional sports industry with admissions by major players that buy steroids use was involved in their lives. Even more frightening than the widespread abuse of steroids by professional sports players is the alarming number of teenagers and young athletes using steroids with the belief that they will help them become faster, stronger, or better at performing in athletic competitions. People have taken steroids for football, baseball, swimming, wrestling, weight lifting, running, and other sports. When the statistics are reviewed, they show that steroid use is increasing in this age group, which can have serious consequences.
A study that was conducted from 1999 to 2001 shows that steroid use among teenagers has been on the rise and gives statistics that support that assumption. In 1999, 2.7% of tenth grade students report having used steroids at least one time in their lives, while 2.9% of twelfth grade students reported steroid use. The survey was repeated in 2001 and showed that the incidence of steroid use had increased. Tenth grade students reported a 3.5% incidence rate of steroid use, while the use of steroids by twelfth-graders increased to 4%. The same study surveyed the sample of students and asked how frequently their steroid use occurred. In the tenth grade group, 1.0% had used steroids within the month preceding the survey and 2.2% had used steroids within a year preceding the survey. The twelfth grade group showed increased use with 1.4% using in the month prior to the survey and 2.5% using in the year prior to the survey.
This same study shows that gender, race, and cultural beliefs highly impact the decision of whether or not to use steroids. The research shows that Caucasian students are more likely to use steroids than African Americans, Hispanics, or those of other races. Gender also plays a key role in determining who will develop an addiction to steroids or use them at least once. Men use steroids overwhelmingly more than women. In this case, the pressures of the gender may contribute to the development of this type of addiction. Most women are encouraged to be pretty or thin, but men are expected to be masculine, strong, and physically fit. Many fathers encourage their sons to participate in athletics, leading their sons to believe that top performance is a must. These young men then turn to steroids to help them build muscle mass, run faster, hit the ball harder, or have more energy and stamina.
The use of anabolic steroids and steroidal supplements is certainly an issue for student athletes. The best way to reduce the incidence of steroid use is to emphasize natural methods of bulking up and performing better such as cardiovascular exercise, weight bearing exercises, and a healthy diet. With this type of positive encouragement, students may feel less pressure to perform well and avoid using steroids as a means of performance enhancement.