The official anti-doping agency in New Zealand is considering testing high school students, according to Radio New Zealand.
Drug Free Sport New Zealand is an "independent Crown Entity" and is responsible for "implementing and applying the the World Anti-Doping Code in New Zealand."
According to Radio New Zealand:
Concern that the use of these type of drugs has spread from adults to high school students has been raised after the agency told a parliamentary select committee on Wednesday the practice was happening overseas and should be checked out in New Zealand.
Drug Free Sport New Zealand chief executive Graeme Steel told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Wednesday there is more pressure on younger athletes to perform and his agency has been told that increasing numbers are using supplements.
"And we know well that when you begin using supplements, unless you're very careful, you can use the wrong ones - some that are contaminated, some that contain banned substances."
Mr Steel says the agency will do further research into what other organisations are doing in terms of testing young athletes.
A study published last week in the journal "Pediatrics" concluded that:
The use of muscle-enhancing behaviors is substantially higher than has been previously reported and is cause for concern. Pediatricians and other health care providers should ask their adolescent patients about muscle-enhancing behaviors.
Many news sources have covered the results of the report.
From the New York Times:
Pediatricians are starting to sound alarm bells about boys who take unhealthy measures to try to achieve Charles Atlas bodies that only genetics can truly confer. Whether it is long hours in the gym, allowances blown on expensive supplements or even risky experiments with illegal steroids, the price American boys are willing to pay for the perfect body appears to be on the rise.
In a study to be published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics, more than 40 percent of boys in middle school and high school said they regularly exercised with the goal of increasing muscle mass. Thirty-eight percent said they used protein supplements, and nearly 6 percent said they had experimented with steroids.
Over all, 90 percent of the 1,307 boys in the survey — who lived in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, but typify what doctors say is a national phenomenon — said they exercised at least occasionally to add muscle.
From Jim Ferstle and the blog "Down the Backstretch:"
While the rate of steroid use was higher among athletes, it was not limited to them. These conclusions are not unique, nor startling. They've been reported before in lower numbers, and have the limitation of being from one area of the country and a self reporting survey that relies on the truthfulness and accuracy of the information provided by the subjects, but one would have to have the proverbial "head in the sand" not to understand that athletics and society in general has a drug/"enhancing substances" problem.
The major unanswered question of this latest survey is where are these middle and high school kids getting what are controlled substances, such as steroids, that are illegal to possess or sell without a prescription.
Student-athletes were more likely than their peers to use most methods of muscle-building. Steroid use, however, was equally common among athletes and non-athletes.
According to findings published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, Asian students were three to four times more likely to have used steroids in the past year than white students. Most Asians in the study were Hmong, lead researcher Marla Eisenberg from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and her colleagues noted.
Their study shows higher adolescent use of steroids and other muscle-boosting substances than most other recent research and "is cause for concern," according to the researchers. But it's not clear whether the findings would apply to an area outside of the Twin Cities, or among wealthier students, they noted.
The Discovery Education website claims that high school students will learn that “science is essential to athletic training.” They will “Research and summarize three examples of sports science that could be used by an athlete” and “Discover the variety of careers in sports science.”
Two class periods are recommended, along with an instruction to:
After watching the video, review some of the reasons behind Lance Armstrong's success in cycling. List students' answers in a chart with four categories: Physiology, Psychology, Equipment, Training/Strategy.
An article in Saturday's New York Times discusses the pros and cons of drug testing middle school students who want to participate in school clubs or sports.
Florida, Alabama, Missouri, West Virginia, Arkansas, Ohio, New Jersey and Texas have middle schools that conduct drug testing and according to the Times:
Such drug testing at the middle school level is confounding students and stirring objections from parents and proponents of civil liberties.
Proponents --- including drug testing companies -- say the testing serves as a deterrent for middle school students who, for the first time, may be facing decisions about using any number of drugs, including steroids.
Critics claim the tests are unncecessary and are an infringement on students' rights.
Says Dr. Linn Goldberg, head of the Division of Health Promotion and Sports Medicine at the Oregon Health and Science University:
“Drug testing is a multibillion-dollar industry ... They go to these schools and say it’s great. But do the schools actually look at the data? Schools don’t know what to do.”
“There’s little evidence these programs work,” Dr. Goldberg said. “Drug testing has never been shown to have a deterrent effect.”
In 2007, Dr. Goldberg published the results of a study of athletes at five high schools with drug testing and six schools that had deferred implementing a testing policy. He found that athletes from the two groups did not differ in their recent use of drugs or alcohol.
“I think you have to look at the reason for testing,” Dr. Goldberg said. “With Olympic testing, it’s to weed out the people who are cheating. If you’re using drug testing to weed out a problem in kids, you need to get them in therapy. But it doesn’t reduce whether or not kids use drugs.”
A Houston high school was placed on two years’ probation by Texas’ University Interscholastic League (UIL) after informing athletes of an upcoming steroids test. While technically a violation of state law, punishment for the infraction was left up to the UIL, which also gave Sterling High School a public reprimand.
The high school claimed it did not notify athletes ahead of the test in an effort to cheat but rather to ensure athletes were on campus to take the test.
From The Daily Journal:
Testing rules require the drug testing company to notify schools 24 to 48 hours before arriving on campus. Only a handful of school officials are supposed to know they are coming and they are forbidden from notifying students, who can be banned from competition if they test positive.
A student can also be considered as having a positive test if they skip the test or are absent the day the tests are conducted.
[Sterling interim principal Sam] Dominguez said Sterling officials worried that absent students would be punished, so they called their families to tell them the tests would be the next day.
Thirty-two people from Ohio and Tennessee have been indicted in a drug trafficking investigation involving steroids from China, a steroids lab in Tennessee, gyms and YMCAs in Ohio and "concerns that some of the drugs were being dealt to high school athletes," according to Cincinnati.com.
Local professional athletes – who haven’t been charged -- are being probed in a far-reaching Warren County drug investigation that busted a clandestine anabolic steroids lab in Tennessee and led to indictments of 32 people, authorities said Tuesday.
“There are at least two (professional athletes) we feel have an involvement in this operation,” said John Burke, commander of the Warren County Drug Task Force. “The investigation is ongoing and there may well be charges (against the athletes).”
Burke added that authorities had strong indication that high school students were also buying steroids but officials weren’t able to identify any of them. Officials didn’t name any schools.
Bob Cook, who writes a youth sports blog for Forbes, wrote of the bust,
It cost $25 to make each vial of steroids, but it was sold for $85 to $125 a vial — a tidy profit, no doubt. Although it brings to mind the question, where were high schoolers getting that kind of money?
They find a way. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the estimated rate of U.S. high schoolers admitting past or present use of steroids has grown from 1 in 45 in 1993 to 1 in 16 in 2005, and there are no indications the rate is not continuing to increase. As of 2005, 6.8% of male high schoolers admitted steroid use, as did 5.3% of females. By the way, steroid use among high schoolers is not a U.S. problem only.
You might ask yourself, hey, haven’t these kids gotten the message that injecting yourself with steroids is illegal, that the muscle mass you get today is outweighted by the small sexual organs and back acne you’ll have tomorrow, and that someday someone is going to expose you as a falsely built, performance-enhancing drug freak?
Fortunately, there are some high school athletes who have gotten the message. From Fox19.com:
"I've been in here lifting over the summer, and I heard some young guys were the ones picking them up. No one ever offered anything to me so I'm kind of shocked," said Joe Feldmann, a high school athlete.
Joe and his friend, Trent Fruhwirth, believe their coaches will use this major bust to teach a lesson.
"They will definitely talk to us about this about staying away from these kind of drugs. It will just ruin your career of ever playing sports," said Fruhwirth.
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA), the governing body for high school sports in the state, announced that four athletes tested positive for steroids during the 2010-11 school year, earning each athlete a one-year suspension.
Four positive tests is the most since the NJSIAA started testing for performance-enhancing drugs (PED) in the 2006-07 season, according to NorthJersey.com. The NJSIAA receives $50,000 from the state and spends an additional $50,000 from its accounts for the testing program.
Said NJSIAA executive director Steve Timko, "it only reinforces the need for testing and how important it is to maintain this program. One [positive test] is too many."
Ocean City principal Matthew Jamison, the president of the executive committee, commented, "this just serves to show you how easily available steroids are to the high school athlete."
Called "Performance Enhancing Drugs: They're More Available, Popular, and Dangerous Than You Think," the webinar will be led by Don Hooten and will provide an opportunity to discuss steroid use by high school athletes "striving to improve athletic performance and secure college scholarships" and:
young men and women who aren't out to gain an athletic edge-they simply want to look like the "cut" models, musicians, movie stars, and athletes they see glorified in the media. The Internet makes it easy for anyone to buy steroids, and they're available in almost every local gym.
To participate, sign up here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/690376712?associate=2226
Are youth athletes using steroids or not? An article in today's Chicago Tribune reports conflicting information from those involved in finding out.
Through three years of random testing for steroids in the high schools the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) had just two positive results in 1,478 tests, according to the Tribune. At the same time a national survey from the University of Michigan, counting both athletes and non-athletes, claims that "steroid use among teens rose in 2010." From the Tribune:
The [University of Michigan] survey of approximately 50,000 eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders showed 4 percent of male high school seniors said they used steroids in 2010 — up from 3.4 percent in 2009 and the highest number since 2004.
Chicago Bear Hall-of-Famer Dick Butkus has an organization called Play Clean which encourages young athletes to avoid doping and, well, play clean. After pointing out that the U of Michigan "survey relies on self-reporting,” Dick Butkus has said he believes the use rates actually are higher. According to Ron Arp, president of the Butkus Foundation,
"Most tests are through urine and not blood, so you don't know how thorough they are. The major pro leagues and even the world doping agencies are constantly trying to find tests for things being used. We are chasing things that are designed by their very nature to be elusive."
Still, Arp says,
"I do think it is fantastic that some states are testing. It is a natural deterrent for people on the bubble if they know their career or eligibility could come crashing down."