Upton highlights dangers of steriod use

Published 6:34 pm Friday, March 11, 2005

By Staff
WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, today highlighted the dangers of steroids and performance enhancing drugs during today's joint Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection and Health Subcommittee hearing - "Steroids in Sports: Cheating the System and Gambling Your Health."
The subcommittees, hearing testimony from numerous medical and athletic officials, examined the implications for the integrity of sports and the health of steroid users.
There is substantial evidence indicating that steroid use by youth is increasing rapidly.
Survey results show approximately 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent of high school students use steroids.
Media reports have indicated at least 300,000 teenagers use steroids. In spite of the growing use, few high schools test for steroids. Costs and privacy concerns have been the primary reasons cited why schools do not test. Figures vary, but approximately 10-15 percent of high schools nationwide test for drugs.
Most of these programs are based on "for cause" testing. According to a study by the University of Michigan in 2003, only 5 percent of schools test for steroids.
During the last year, news accounts of both alleged and admitted steroid use by professional athletes have raised concerns about their increasing use in our society. Particular concerns have been raised regarding the increasing use of steroids by youth; predominantly, but not exclusively, high school athletes. In addition to being illegal, many believe steroid use has consequences reaching beyond the integrity of sport related to adverse health consequences.
Steroid use can affect individuals differently depending on a number of factors, including the amount and type of steroid used, as well as the age, sex, and genetics of the user. Effects may not appear for years but can be life-threatening.
Steroids can cause numerous adverse side effects; witnesses are knowledgeable on the specifics. The most serious potential side effects associated with steroids include liver damage, heart disease, stroke, mood swings, depression and infertility.