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(11) Drugs & Child’s

Drugs - Brain Dead Children

CD11

My son is into sports at school. What type of drugs might he encounter as an athlete?

As athletes are driven to win, with no room for failure, they are more likely to seek performance-enhancing substances. Male student athletes were at a high risk for heavy alcohol use and steroids as they deal with more stress in meeting the demands of both roles. When taken for a period of 10–20 weeks, a high dose of steroids can increase lean body mass, size, and strength, with or without exercise. Most notably, however, are steroids’ performance-enhancing effects if combined with a training regimen and a high-caloric and high-protein diet.

Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AASs) produce heightened mood and decreased fatigue, prolonging physical exertion. A study (Buckley et al., 1998) found that 6.6% of male high school seniors had tried steroids, with 67% onset of use by age 16, and 40% using multiple cycles. The Monitoring of the Future Study (2008) indicated that 1.4% of eighth graders, 1.4% of tenth graders, and 2.2% of twelfth graders have reported trying steroids at least once in their lifetime. Anabolic steroids are used primarily by males. Annual prevalence rates were 1.2%, 1.4%, and 2.5% for boys in grades 8, 10, and 12, compared with 0.5%, 0.5%, and 0.4% for girls, respectively.

A high level of steroid abuse has been exposed among professional athletes. A number of professional baseball players have been implicated or have disclosed using banned steroids during their careers. Serving as role models, these athletes may well have contributed to adolescents’ decrease in perceived risks of use. The nonmedical use of AASs has been banned by a number of organizations including the International Olympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. A number of medical associations have likewise denounced their nonmedical use.

AASs have multiple medical uses; they have been used in trauma, extensive surgery, and growth and puberty delays. They also are used for AIDS-associated wasting syndrome. Steroids reverse further breakdown in burns. They also show promising results in muscle wasting for patients with advanced kidney problems.

 What is the usual dosage and period of time for which steroids are administered?

For their performance-enhancing effects, testosterone preparations are usually given by injection at doses of 25–200 mg weekly. Doses are abused to as much as three times the recommended use. Steroids taken by mouth range from 35 to 200 mg weekly and are abused up to four times the recommended dose. Usually, injection and oral forms are used during a 6–12-week cycle. Injectable preparations are less likely to cause liver problems. Oral forms are cleared from the body faster and are preferred to avoid detection. Stacking is when multiple steroids are used at the same time. Pyramiding is when doses are increased through a cycle allowing for doses to be increased 10–40 times the usual dose. These two methods decrease the side effects of steroids. It is common that individuals also take supplements (vitamins, creatine, and other protein supplements) to boost the steroid effects. Others also use other medications like tamoxifen, a cancer medication, to reduce risk of breast enlargement. Sources often include gyms, which procure them illegally (via foreign mail orders and the Internet). Quality or even whether these are actual steroids cannot be ensured.

Terms:

Stacking - The use of multiple steroids at the same time.

Pyramiding - Increasing doses of steroids through a cycle allowing for doses to be increased 10-40 times the usual dose.

 Injectable preparations are less likely to cause liver problems.

 What are the telltale signs of steroid abuse?

 Telltale signs include yellowish discoloration of the skin, high blood pressure, decrease in testicle size, change in voice pitch, breast enlargement, which can be permanent after long-term use, tendon fractures, stopping of growth, severe acne, baldness, abscesses from needle punctures, and pinkish to silver streaks on the skin. Steroids also cause increases in positive mood (mania) or depression, violence, or disordered thinking. The physical examination clearance from physicians, who must have increased awareness of the problem, provides the time to note any changes that can be attributed to AAS abuse.

There are no clear-cut profiles that separate those who abuse steroids from others. Sports requiring strength and power (football, wrestling, and track) are most closely associated with AAS. Other adolescents look to steroids to help attain what is in their eyes a more attractive body.

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