Reports of professional athletes using anabolic steroids and other potentially performance-enhancing drugs routinely grab headlines and spark debate. Yet far greater numbers of young student athletes are using these substances, with much less fanfare.
A recent Pride Survey (conducted by International Survey Associates in Bowling Green, Ky) of more than 120 000 US students who were in grades 6 through 12 during the 2008-2009 school year found that nearly 2% of junior high students reported using steroids in the past year and almost 5% of 12th graders reported such use (http://www.pridesurveys.com/customercenter/us08ns.pdf). Boys report disproportionately higher rates of use, with 7.1% of 12th-grade males reporting past-year steroid use during that period compared with 2.7% of 12th-grade females. Such rates are consistent with previous estimates that have ranged between 4% to 11% of adolescent boys and as many of 3% of adolescent girls in high school, according to a 2006 literature review (Calfee R and Fadale P. Pediatrics. 2006;117:e577-e589).
Kuehn BM. Teen Steroid, Supplement Use Targeted. JAMA. 2009;302(21):2301-2303. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1711