"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