Research Essay Student Model -                       Be Sure to Double Space Yours!~

LKE Student #4
English 9 Honors
11 January 2007

                Steroid Use In High-School Sports:  Building Muscles, Destroying Lives

            Statistics from the 2002 “Monitoring the Future”, a study that surveyed drug use of 8th, 10th and 12th graders in the United States since 1991, show that there has been a significant increase in the use of anabolic steroids.  In 2001 alone, 2.5% of eighth graders, 3.5% of tenth graders, and 4.0% of twelfth graders nationwide have reported steroid abuse at least once in their lifetime.  (“Steroids”- Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse).  This study has shown how steroid abuse has become a large part in the lives of student-athletes.  Although steroids have the ability to coax prospective athletes into enhancing athletic ability and muscle, they have also become a part in altering and destroying the lives of youths by causing unwanted side-effects and health problems.

            Anabolic steroids were first developed in the late 1930’s primarily to treat hypogonadism, a condition in which the testes did not produce sufficient testosterone.  Scientists then discovered that anabolic steroids could aide the growth of skeletal muscle in laboratory animals.  This find led to the abuse of these compounds by bodybuilders, weightlifters, and then athletes who participated in other sports.  (“Steroids”- Office of National Drug Control Policy).  Over the years, steroids began leaking into the hands of adolescents in the forms of tablets, capsules, or injectable liquids, depending on the brand.  (“Steroids”- Better Health Channel).

            Now, not only are bodybuilders and weightlifters abuse steroids, but adolescents in high-school sports have found ways to retrieve the drug.  In fact, in the 2002 “Monitoring the Future” survey, 22% of eighth graders, 33.2% of tenth graders, and 46.1% of twelfth graders reported that steroids were easy to obtain.  (“Steroids”- Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse).  Although they found it easy to obtain, most are unaware that possession of steroids is illegal.  In just the first offense, a person who obtains illicit drugs can be put to prison for a maximum of one year and may face minimum fines of over $1,000.  Also, trafficking the drug can result in a maximum of five years in prison and a minimum fine of $250,000.  In a second offense, the maximum prison time and fines double.  (Anabolic Steroids- Hidden Dangers).  If an adolescent decided to use steroids, he or she can face such consequences.

            Although there are legal consequences, most adolescents obtain the drug mainly because of his or her appearance.  They use it to increase muscle size, reduce body fat, or even as a part of a pattern of other high-risk behaviors (e.g. drinking and driving, carrying a weapon, or even abusing other illicit drugs).  (Anabolic Steroid Abuse).  Amazingly though, most adolescents (male and female) who abuse anabolic steroids are aware of the health risks; in a 2001 survey, it was determined that 62% of twelfth graders knew that using steroids causes a great risk to health.  (“Steroids”- Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse). Although the percentage is large, all the adolescents who abuse steroids do it to change the way other people see them.

            Anabolic steroid use can cause many drastic health problems to males and females.  Overall use of the compound can cause elevated blood pressure, increases in cholesterol levels, acne, an acceleration of premature baldness, and increases in the risks of prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, and coronary artery disease.  In males, specifically, steroid use can cause breast development, reduced sexual function, temporary infertility, and a temporary decrease in natural testosterone levels.  In females, steroids cause an increase in body hair, a deepening of the voice, and a temporary decrease in menstrual cycles.  Use of an anabolic compound by an adolescent can cause stunted growth, accelerated bone maturation, and a slight beard growth.  (Anabolic steroid).  All of these health effects are those most teenagers want to avoid, yet those who abuse steroids do not care about the risks.

            Steroids can be very life changing to the abuser of the drug.  James Teames, a Women’s Softball coach at Sheldon High School, tells of one such story:

                  It was two students here at Sheldon.  Both had a rapid weight and muscle
                  mass gain, which by itself is not the only tell tale sign.  Both students broke
                   out with severe cases of acne and had very drastic changes in personality.
                  Counseled both on the possible long term damage that they could be doing
                  to their bodies, but both students denied use.  No test was done to prove
                  they were on steroids. (Teames Interview).

Not only are the lives of steroid abusers affected by numerous health problems, they have also proved change the life of an individual who is linked in any way to a steroid user.  Trevor Graham, an elite U.S.A. track and field coach, is a coach in such a case. Graham has coached such athletes as five-time Olympic medalist Marion Jones and former world record holder Tim Montgomery. In April of 2006, though, one of Graham’s top athletes, Olympic and world sprint champion Justin Gatlin, was tested positive for steroids and other performance enhancers.  Graham, who has had other athletes test positive for steroid use, is now being charged of lying to federal investigators and is subject to investigation.  (Baum).  Unfortunately, Graham now faces the possibility of losing his job and even affecting the lives of his family and friends.

            In order to help prevent adolescent use, the NCAA now uses a drug-testing program for its prospective student athletes.  Now, before any athlete can participate in a college level sport, he or she must participate in a drug test.  These tests search for any signs of performance enhancers, anabolic compounds, supplements, or other illicit drugs; most of which are illegal under NCAA conduct.  (Drug Testing Program 2006-2007).  The NCAA is now performing the drug test mainly due to the concern for the health of its athletes and to promote fair play.  (NCAA Drug Education and).  The drug testing program can also prove to be a warning to any prospective student-athletes who wish to compete in a NCAA sport or even go further as a professional athlete.

            Another organization trying to reverse the increasing steroid abuse by adolescents is the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse).  The NIDA and seven national partners have come up with an initiative to alert the public about the risks of using steroids.  The NIDA and its partners distributed bulletins and postcard to various cities in the U.S. as an attempt to warn the public, specifically youths, about the dangers of using anabolic steroids.  (Zickler).***

            Anabolic steroids have become a large part in the lives of adolescents.  It has already been proved to cause major health problems such as disease or abnormalities in body growth.  It has also shown to be a cause of altering the lives of those linked to a drug abuser.  Even though many organizations are trying to find ways to prevent teenage steroid abuse, the lives of so many young, prospective student-athletes have already been altered or destroyed, and much more should be done.

Total Number of Words:  1,079

Readability:  11th grade

                                                                                                     Last Name Page       
                                                    Works Cited

 “Anabolic Steroid Abuse”.  National Institute on Drug Abuse.  April 2000.  4 December
         2006.  <>.

“Anabolic Steroids- Hidden Dangers.”  U.S. Department of Justice.  March 2004.  20
        December 2006. 

Baum, Bob.  Drug-tainted coaches targeted in anti-doping rules.”  USA Today.  7
        December 2006.  7 December 2006.  

Drug-Testing Program 2006-2007.  2006.  11 December 2006. 

NCAA Drug Education and Testing Video.  Windows Media Player.  National Collegiate
         Athletic Association, 2006-07.  2006.  11 December 2006.

“Steroids.”  Better Health Channel.  October 2006.  20 December 2006. 

“Steroids.”  Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse.  6 March 2006.  20
        December 2006.  <>.

 “Steroids.”  Office of National Drug Control Policy.  12 December 2006.  20 December
         2006.  <>.

Teames, James.  Personal Interview.  10 January 2007.

Zickler, Patrick.  NIDA Initiative Targets Increasing Teen Use of Anabolic Steroids.”  
        Pediatrics for Parents.  December 1999.  7 December 2006.