Anabolic Steroid Use is Now a Public Health Problem
The use of Anabolic Steroids and other appearance and performance enhancing drugs have grown to epidemic levels.
- The most recent studies show that as many as 4 million Americans have used anabolic steroids
- 7% of US high school students admit to having used anabolic steroids
The profile of the typical steroid user has changed in recent years. This behavior started with athletes trying to get bigger, faster and stronger. The early growth began to grow following the release of Daniel Duchaine’s “The Underground Steroid Handbook” first published in 1981. Duchaine became known as the Steroid Guru and this book became the accepted guide that showed users how to use these new drugs.
As these athletes’ bodies began to change, other non-athletes noticed the changes and began to emulate the behavior of the athletes in an attempt to compete in various social circles. The demographics are now upside down from where they were just a few years ago. As many as 80% of today’s steroid users are not athletes at all. They are users that are suffering with body image dysmorphia to varying degrees.
It is generally accepted among medical experts that there is serious, life threatening damage being done to the bodies and minds of these steroid users. Four categories of complications are particularly concerning:
- Increased risk of death from homicide, suicide and accidents
- Premature cardiovascular disease and death
- Major neuropsychiatric disorders
- Anabolic steroid withdrawal syndrome and anabolic steroid dependence
There are multiple examples of people suffering and/or dying from each of these areas. In my family’s case, our youngest son Taylor died during the period of his withdrawal from his use of these drugs.
In addition, there are other medical complications that can develop among steroid users:
- Liver toxicity with oral 17-alpha alkylated androgens
- Gynecomastia, acne, balding
- Neuronal toxicity
Anabolic steroid usage is one of the most neglected problems of health care disparities for America’s young men. The leading causes of death in both men and women across the lifespan – heart disease and cancer – are the same. EXCEPT in men, 15-34 years of age: unintentional injuries, homicides, and suicides account for over three fourths of all deaths! Yet, the National Institute of Health and the Department of Defense’s allocation for addressing the major contributors to morbidity and mortality among young men – AAS abuse among them – has been woefully inadequate.
We need to all recognize the scope of this problem and recognize that little (very little) is being done to address this problem. Part of our mission at the Taylor Hooton Foundation is to change this situation!
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