Kids Sports News Network

Teen Use of HGH

In today’s world, performing enhancing drugs are enticing for many athletes as the pressure to fit in and enhance one’s body image takes over. This comes at no surprise when as many as one of every twenty teens use steroids to increase muscle mass. Teen usage of synthetic HGH increased by 120 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to statistics from the recent Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS).

While such pressures are easily felt by everyone, the effects of these drugs can be especially deteriorating and negatively impactful. As Steve Pasierb, president of the Partnership for Drug-Free kids, stated, “”This is about how you feel, how you look,” Pasierb said. “They’re doing this thing to get ahead. … Girls want to be thin and toned. For a lot of boys, it’s about their six-pack.”

Among performing enhancing drugs, some of the most prevalent include creatine, anabolic steroids, and steroid precursors. Creatine is a naturally occurring compound in the body that can be used to increase muscle mass and strength. Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of the hormone testosterone that build muscle and result in a proliferation of strength. These drugs undoubtedly cause long-term severe impacts on health; the higher the dose, the more severe. Among the consequences, some of the more severe include permanent stunting of height in adolescents. Side effects can range from shrunken testicles and breast growth in boys. Both genders also experience acne, liver problems, blood-clotting problems, and much more.

Even with the knowledge of such acute impacts, teens still use performing enhancing drugs for a variety of different reasons. These can be pressure from parents or peers, being male and the desire to enhance oneself, negative body image and a tendency to compare oneself with others, and more. Tyler Hamilton, who had to give up his 2004 Gold Medal in Cycling after being found guilty of doping, warned teens the grave consequences of performing enhancing drugs and claimed, “There’s so much pressure on winning — it’s tough for these kids to stay true to themselves,” he said. “I can’t change every kid’s mind, but if I can do my part and other people do their part, we can beat this monster.”

It is estimated that more than 1.5 million teenagers in the U.S. have used steroids. Though this might be alarming to many, it is not unexpected due to the influence of marketing from performing-enhancing drug companies and the fact that barely anyone is tested for these drugs. Travis Tygart, CEO of the US Anti-Doping Agency, stated, “It’s what you get when you combine aggressive promotion from for-profit companies with a vulnerable target — kids who want a quick fix and don’t care about health risk,” Tygart said in an interview. “It’s a very easy sell, unfortunately.”

Combating this problem requires the assistance and dedication of everyone. There are many parents and coaches ignorant of the consequences of performing-enhancing drugs when faced with the desire to win. If you have children, please warn them of the consequences; if more people are aware, then word will spread and we can hopefully slow the rising use of these drugs. As Paiserb said, “It’s not about illegality, or whether you’re a good parent or bad parent. It’s a health issue. These substances literally alter your body.”

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Author: Kyle Zhu

 

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