Sir.—The nonmedical use of anabolic steroids among high school students is an issue that requires better definition. Terney and McLain1 present data that show that 4.4% of the students in a large Chicago, Ill, high school admit to using anabolic steroids, an incidence that is quite concerning. However, the interpretation of the data is compromised by questions regarding the study design.
In my experience, the term anabolic steroid is relatively unfamiliar to many, if not most, school-aged children. None of the survey questions in this study verified that the subjects understand this term, and no mention was made of presurvey education. An unknown percentage of the children will be familiar with the term steroid as used for treatment of asthma, allergies, and other medical conditions and might answer in the affirmative without knowing the meaning of anabolic. Another unknown percentage of the children may have had anabolic
LEE PDK. The Use of Anabolic Steroids. Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(9):954-955. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150330012005