Michelle Muth Person,
Public Service Announcements and "In the Mix Show" Highlight the Dangers of Anabolic Steroids
Part of the angst of adolescence is concern about body image. In the quest for physical perfection and athletic performance America's young adults increasingly have turned to anabolic steroids, despite the serious side effects of these drugs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which began a public education program about abuse of anabolic steroids in April 2000, is now distributing public service announcements in English and Spanish to television stations across the country. The announcements are designed to educate teens, parents and others about the dangers of anabolic steroid abuse.
The Institute also participated in the development of "Steroids: The Hard Truth," a special on anabolic steroid abuse among young people that will air on In the Mix, a popular television show for teens (airing on PBS stations, February 16, 2002, to February 23, 2002, check local listings). This program addresses the growing use of anabolic steroids by girls as well as boys. It features interviews with teens on sports and self-image; and provides insights from ex-users and experts who reveal the dangers and misconceptions about steroids.
"Anabolic steroids is the familiar name for synthetic substances related to testosterone, the male sex hormone," said Dr. Glen Hanson, Acting Director, NIDA. "While these drugs have medical uses, such as treating delayed puberty, when abused, anabolic steroids have serious health consequences. Instead of enhancing body image, in fact, they can do the very opposite. In boys and men, the abuse of anabolic steroids can reduce sperm production, shrink the testicles, and cause impotence and irreversible breast enlargement. Girls and women can develop more masculine characteristics such as deepening of the voice and excessive body hair."
In addition to the public service announcements, NIDA has a Research Report: Anabolic Steroid Abuse and other information about the health effects of these drugs on its websites (www.drugabuse.gov or www.steroidabuse.org). This information may also be requested by calling the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) at 1-800-729-6686.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and other topics can be ordered free of charge in English and Spanish by calling NIDA Infofax at 1-888-NIH-NIDA (644-6432) or 1-888-TTY-NIDA (889-6432) for the deaf. These fact sheets and further information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at http://www.drugabuse.gov.