Steroids Now More Common with Long Island High School Athletes

By John Lavitt 09/15/14

Despite the dangers to health, more student athletes are boosting performance with steroids and other PEDs now more than ever.

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In high schools across Long Island, steroid use among athletes and young weightlifters is actually increasing, with performance-enhancing drugs being used now more than ever to bulk up and improve athletic performance.

According to law-enforcement officials and treatment experts, the steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs are illegally bought and sold in a drug market based around gyms and athletic centers. Despite a rash of reports linking anabolic steroids and synthetic human growth hormone to numerous health problems, the drugs continue to be popular with young athletes looking for that one-of-a-kind edge. Steroids especially are promoted as a quick and easy way to recover from workout-related injuries. Despite physical trainers warning against their use, steroids remain the first choice for many young people in rehabilitation.

A recent study showing teenage use of HGH increased 120% from 2012 to 2013, highlighting the national scope of the problem. The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) sampled 3,705 high-school-age teens nationally, finding that the percentage that used HGH at least once without a prescription increased from five in 2012 to 11 in 2013. The study also found one in five teens thought it easy to get steroids and had at least one friend who used them.

With a sharp rise of Internet sales on the deep web and the resulting fall in prices, competitive spirits have taken over and drowned out the inner voice of reason and healthy logic. As opposed to having the opposite effect, widely publicized use by professional athletes has surprisingly reduced the stigma of the drugs. As a result, 17- to 25-year-old men, particularly in suburban enclaves where there is more disposable income, are using more performance-enhancing drugs.

"People can't turn a blind eye to this kind of abuse," said Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice. "Steroids should not be socially acceptable."

Performance-enhancing drugs like steroids and HGH (human growth hormone) result in serious health problems, including liver damage, severe acne, shrunken testicles, and premature baldness. Mental problems associated with steroid use include anger management issues described as "roid rage."

"We're seeing a lot more steroid users come through our anger-management program," said Steven Chassman, clinical director at the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. "We're seeing people who have amassed a host of different charges, including assault, and we strongly recommend they get treatment.”

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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