Author(s): Melia P, Pipe A, Greenberg L
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of use of anabolic-androgenic steroids and other presumed performance-enhancing drugs and the associated knowledge, attitudes, and behavior of school-aged Canadians. DESIGN: A national survey was conducted using a self-report questionnaire distributed randomly to schools within each of five Canadian regions. SETTING: Canada. SUBJECTS: The subjects were 16,119 Canadian students, in the sixth grade and above, from 107 schools drawn randomly from five Canadian regions. MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: The number of students reporting the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in the year before the survey, the nature of such drug-taking activities, and the attitudes underlying the decision to take anabolic-androgenic steroids. RESULTS: More than 83,000 young Canadians (2.8\% of the respondents) are estimated to have used anabolic-androgenic steroids in the year before the survey. Of those taking such drugs, 29.4\% reported that they injected them; of the latter group, 29.2\% reported sharing needles in the course of injecting anabolic-androgenic steroids. Significant numbers of respondents reported using other substances (caffeine, 27\%; extra protein, 27\%; alcohol, 8.6\%; painkillers, 9\%; stimulants, 3.1\%; "doping methods," 2.3\%; beta-blockers, 1\%) in attempts to improve sport performance. CONCLUSIONS: The use of anabolic-androgenic steroids is more widespread than may have been assumed and is often accompanied by high-risk needle-sharing. Anabolic-androgenic steroid use is often intended to alter body build as opposed to accentuating sport performance. Many young Canadians use a variety of other substances in attempts to improve sport performance. Drug-taking of this kind represents a special challenge for educators, health professionals, and sport authorities.
This article was published in Clin J Sport Med
and referenced in Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies