"Steroids give you a better body even if you don't play sports."It's more like a muscle -building supplement .We all use use it ." "If you want to play varsity ,you need to get bigger."
That final quote was told to my son Taylor by a baseball coach during his junior season at Plano West Senior High in 2003.Those words made an impression on Taylor .He had plans to be the top pitcher on the varsity squad-he didn't have time to wait .The pressure to succeed for high school athletes in Plano ,Texas ,can be huge ,as evidenced by the number of players on Taylor's team who were already using anabolic steroids to give themselves an edge .With so much peer pressure around him ,Taylor decided that steroids were also his path to athletic stardom, and he began injecting himself as many as three times a week.
The results were immediate.Taylor was lifting more weight in the gym than he ever had ,and he put on 30 pounds of muscle in about 90 days .Vanity about his looks started playing a part in his steroid use .But along with those gains came some tell tale signs of steroid abuse,severe acne on his back ,bad breath and explosive mood swings that produced fits of anger and yelling ,commonly known as "roid rage ." My wife ,Gwen ,and I had no knowledge of steroids , but his change in behavior made us suspicious .We had Taylor tested for drug use by our family doctor , but since steroids are not part of a standard drug test panel , we remained in the dark.
We eventually took Taylor to a psychiatrist ,who got him to admit that he was abusing steroids and to agree to tell us the truth .He was also instructed to quit cold turkey .A side effect of someone ending steroid use is plummeting testosterone ,which can lead to depression , so Taylor was also prescribed an antidepressant .
Gwen and I monitored him closely as he tried to clean up ,but the residual effects of the steroids dug too deep a hole to climb out for Taylor .Barely a month after his 17 th birthday ,he took his own life.
The realty of steroids
Taylor's tragedy raised a number of questions that we needed answers to ,and as we began digging into the facts behind steroids abuse ,we realized how few adults knew about the extent of the problem That understanding led to us to form the Taylor Hooton Foundation (http://taylorhooton.org/about-us/leadership/) in 2004 ,with the mission of raising awareness about the near epidemic use of anabolic steroids and other appearance -and performance -enhancing drugs (APEDs).Let's examine some of the facts :
According to a 2012 study from the University of Minnesota ,5.9 percent of school-age boys and 4.6 percent of girls admit to using anabolic steroids .This translates to around 1.5 million kids ,or about four dozen in an average high school .Parents should realize that this problem is much closer to them then they might think .
A 2013 national survey conducted by the University of Massachusetts and Gallup showed that about 81 percent of adults are virtually unaware of this problem among youth .This leads to kids making making their own choices after talking to other steroid users in the gym about improving strength and performance or just looking better.
While speaking literally to hundreds of thousands of kids ,we have rarely received an affirmative response to the question of whether anyone has ever spoken with them about the dangers of APEDs.
Don serves as President of the Taylor Hooton Foundation and sits on the Board of Directors. He and his family founded the Taylor Hooton Foundation in 2004, the year following the loss of their son Taylor. Since founding this organization, Don has become the leading national spokesman on the issue of appearance and performance enhancing drug use (anabolic steroids, dietary supplements, hGH, etc.) by our nation’s youth. He and his team have spoken directly to over 650,000 people across the country, he has
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT
APEDs(Appearance and performance enhancing
They come in the form of both anabolic steroids and unregulated dietary supplements .Steroids are synthetic testosterone -drugs developed for legitimate medical reasons that are misused by some to get bigger ,faster and stronger .Typical application methods are by pill ,cream ,gel ,patch or ,the most common ,injection .Legitimate steroids are created by pharmaceutical companies and delivered through hospitals and pharmacies via prescription ,while almost all "street"steroids come into the U.S.from Asia .Those typically arrive in a powder form and are mixed with various oils before before being put into vials for sale.For these illegal steroids ,no quality control is applied ,contamination is common and they may not be what the purchaser thinks they are -either the type of steroids or the dosage .Easy to purchase ,they are sold illicitly in gyms or online ;try an Internet search for "buy steroids "and you will find millions of links peddaling steroids .Taylor met his dealer at our local gym .
Dangers of anabolic steroids use
Even pharmaceutical steroids can do serious damage to the body and the mind when not used properly under a doctor's guidance .The possible effects of continual unregulated abuse include :
Enlarged heart /increased risk of heart attack
Water and salt retention leading to high blood pressure
Elevated cholesterol and triglycerides
Blood clotting disorders
Liver cysts /liver cancer
Increased chance of injury to tendons ,ligaments and muscles
Jaundice ,trembling and aching joints
Harm to musculoskeletal system -bones stop growing
Signs of steroid use
There are a number of signs that can help us spot a steroid user .The following list highlights the common symptoms of anabolic steroid use .
Fast weight gain /rapid increase in muscle mass
Acne ,especially on the back
Puffiness in the rists ,neck and ankles
Male pattern hair loss
Changes in breast size -larger for males (gynecomastia),smaller for females
Deeper voice in females
Facial hair growth in females
Injection sites (blood spots on underwear)
Persistent bad breath
Sudden desire to work out at gym ,sometimes upto 2-3 times
Becoming secretive and lying
Stealing or losing belongings /money
Paranoia -displaying feelings of mistrust or fear
Uncontrolled aggression and sudden acts of violence ,aka "roid
Depression that is sometimes severe and may include thoughts of suicide
Giving away valuable possessions
Drug and alcohol abuse
(What can you do ?Pl read in Part III)
There are some key steps you can take to identify a potential problem and prevent your kids from using APEDs.
Educate :Talk to them regularly and discuss the health ,ethical and legal risks so they understand what's at stake.Be clear about your expectations as a parent .
Advocate :Talk about healthy fitness alternatives through a balanced diet and proper training .Inspire them to be their best and always be encouraging .
Communicate :Reassure your teen through love and support , no matter how they are performing .Insist that your children's coaches
talk to them regularly about APEDs.Ask them when was the last time an adult at school talked to them about steroids -don't rely on assurances from teachers that the subject is being covered .
If you suspect your child is using ,intervene with them ,expose the truth and get a physician involved .Don't ever stop communicating openly with them and letting them know the risks they are taking .
The Taylor Hooton Foundation is widely acknowledged as the national leader in education on the topic of APED use by youth in the U.S.;Canada and Latin America .With the help of our partnerships with professional sports organizations ,Little League Baseball and other key associations ,the facts around APEDs have been getting out to school administrators and coaches ,federal and state legislatures ,national media and ,most importantly ,kids at risk .Educating young people about the dangers of these drugs is a mission we all need to promote through every available avenue.
Donald M.Hooton serves as President of the Taylor Hooton Foundation .Recognized as the leading national spokesman on the issues of APEDs our nation's youth face ,he has spoken to hundreds of thousands and has appeared as an expert witness before Congress on three occasions .For his work in the field ,Don was named one of the Top 100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America by the institute for International Sports .He was also recently selected to receive the Distinguished Service Award by the United States Academy .
family wellness FITNESS ,FOOD &LIFESTYLE
Healthy Living Made Simple /Sam's Club /july/august2014/P18-19