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Young Athletes & Drug Abuse

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More Than 40% Of High School Seniors Take Performance Enhancing Drugs

Upwards of 1 Million Adolescents Have Taken Steroids or Steroid Precursors

Elmhurst, IL - April 12, 2004 - The use of performance enhancing drugs at the professional level of sports continues to have a negative and potentially disastrous consequence with the young athletes of this country.

According to Criminal Justice Statistics, more than 1 million adolescents aged 12 - 17, have used performance enhancing drugs as either a sport enhancement tool or for aesthetic purposes. A corroborative recent study by the Mayo Clinic indicated that 16.4% of teenaged athletes admitted to using creatine.

Creatine is currently a legal and over the counter dietary supplement that has gained huge popularity among young athletes in this country. Creatine is thought to increase muscle energy, decrease recovery time and reportedly add muscle bulk to an athlete’s frame.

Many researchers of creatine use suggest that the increased muscle size associated with the supplement is actually attributed to water retention. They also state that several side effects of creatine use include dehydration, nausea, dizziness, cramping and kidney irregularities.

Of critical importance with respect to youths is the fact that no studies have been conducted to show the long term implications of creatine use on adolescents or the effects of creatine supplementation when combined with prescription drugs such as Ritalin, anti-biotics or anti-depressants. As a result, California Senator Jackie Speier is proposing a bill to ban the sale of creatine to anyone under the age of 18, and require youth coaches to have mandatory training in the health risks of performance enhancing drugs.

Performance enhancing drugs and youth athletics have become a very familiar pairing of late. A study released by the Sport Journal in the Fall of 2002 stated that nearly 1 in every 100 PRE-adolescent athletes are consuming steroids; these are children as young as 10 years old. Additionally, a survey conducted by Mr. Lloyd Johnston of the University of Michigan showed that an astounding 1 in every 30 adolescent males are currently taking steroids. A study published in Pediatrics magazine (August 2001) showed that more than 40% of high school seniors use creatine - many experts speculate that creatine use is a precursor to steroid use.

- Brian


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