NIDA Targets Teen Steroid Use

New program targets upswing in teen steroid use.

By Staff

Athletic Management, 12.5, August/September 2000,

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recently launched a campaign to counter rising steroid use among teenagers. The multimedia public education initiative will be centered around a new Web site and include the distribution of a Community Drug Alert Bulletin and an updated report about anabolic steroids, which explains their effects, as well as approaches to prevent their use.
“In December, 1999, when our ‘Monitoring the Future’ survey showed that anabolic steroid use by 8th and 10th graders had increased, and that the perceived risk about steroids had declined among 12th graders, we knew we had to take steps to reverse this trend before it gained momentum,” explained Dr. Alan Leshner, NIDA’s Director, at a news conference earlier this year.
According to the 1999 survey, 2.7 percent of 8th and 10th graders and 2.9 percent of 12th graders reported that they had taken anabolic steroids at least once in their lives. These figures represent increases from 1991 (the first year that data on steroid abuse were collected from the younger students) of about 50 percent among 8th and 10th graders and 38 percent among 12th graders.
During the news conference, NIDA also highlighted a prevention program for young male athletes developed by Dr. Linn Goldberg and Dr. Diane Elliot, both of Oregon Health Sciences University. With NIDA funding, Drs. Goldberg and Elliot devised and demonstrated the effectiveness of the “Adolescents Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids” (ATLAS) program in the Portland area. ATLAS uses a team-centered and gender-specific approach that addresses key risk and protective factors associated with anabolic steroids and other drug use.
The same researchers are developing a prevention program for girls, “Athletes Targeting Healthy Exercise and Nutrition Alternatives” (ATHENA), that will be designed to reduce the use of anabolic steroids and prevent eating disorders.
NIDA’s partners in the initiative include the NCAA, American College of Sports Medicine, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of School Nurses, National Federation of State High School Associations, International Students in Action, and Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of MTV’s “Loveline” and .
“I’m pleased that we have the help of so many others in this effort to reach young people, their parents, and others who may think that anabolic steroids are a harmless way to ‘bulk up’ or achieve athletic goals,” Dr. Leshner said.
For more information on the ATLAS program, call (503) 494-8051 or visit .