The NBA has a PEDs problem

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[2011] Derrick Rose on PEDs: “It’s huge, and I think we need a level playing field”

In the history of the NBA, no more than two players have tested positive for PEDs in a single season. It’s November 6th, and we already have three. Wilson Chandler tested positive for Ipamorelin in August, DeAndre Ayton was recently suspended for a diuretic, and now John Collins tested positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-2.

nder the current collective bargaining agreement, players can be randomly tested up to four times during the season (twice for HGH) and twice during the offseason (once for HGH), per Larry Coon’s FAQ. The league can’t conduct more than 1,525 tests in a year or 600 during an offseason. Players can also be tested for “reasonable cause” up to four times in a six-week period.

Out of all professional sports, the NBA has had the smallest number of players tested positive for banned substances (performance-enhancing stuff) – 13. Do these recent positives mean players are doping more, or are they just getting caught?

In 2011 Derrick Rose gave an interview to ESPN The Magazine. He was asked: “If 1 equals ‘What are PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs)’? and 10 equals ‘Everybody’s Juicing’ … How big of an issue is illegal enhancing in your sport?” (via ESPN):

“Seven. It’s huge, and I think we need a level playing field, where nobody has that advantage over the next person.”

Rose would later deny the quote and say he doesn’t remember ever being asked or answering the question. In the same denial, he said he probably misunderstood the question. Enough said.

He isn’t the only significant NBA personality that spoke up about this. One of the reasons George Karl doesn’t get as much love in NBA circles is this quote from his book Furious George: My Forty Years Surviving NBA Divas, Clueless GMs, and Poor Shot Selection (via NBC Sports):

“We’ve got a more thorough drug-testing program than the NFL or MLB, which we always brag about. But we’ve still got a drug issue, though a different one than thirty years ago. And this one bothers me more than the dumbasses who got in trouble with recreational drugs.
I’m talking about performance-enhancing drugs—like steroids, human growth hormone, and so on. It’s obvious some of our players are doping. How are some guys getting older—yet thinner and fitter? How are they recovering from injuries so fast? Why the hell are they going to Germany in the off-season? I doubt it’s for the sauerkraut.
More likely it’s for the newest, hard-to-detect blood boosters and PEDs they have in Europe. Unfortunately, drug testing always seems to be a couple steps behind drug hiding. Lance Armstrong never failed a drug test. I think we want the best athletes to succeed, not the biggest, richest cheaters employing the best scientists. But I don’t know what to do about it.”

Former players have said that 4 tests a year are easily manipulated and nowhere near to present real control and oversight. I don’t have a problem with players using PEDs in recovery or to make it through the 82 game season. Some may. As I see it, the NBA has two choices: either keep them banned and implement a serious testing and control system or stop the charade and let players use PEDs.

https://www.basketballnetwork.net/2011-derrick-rose-on-peds-its-huge-and-i-think-we-need-a-level-playing-field/ 

Three NBA players have each been given 25 game suspensions this year for PEDs

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Three weeks into the 2019-20 NBA season, three players have tested positive for banned substances, resulting in 25-game suspensions. In late August, Brooklyn Nets forward Wilson Chandler tested positive for Ipamorelin. In late October, Hawks center Deandre Ayton tested positive for a diuretic. On Nov. 5, Hawks big man John Collins tested positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-2.

While professional athletes in the world of sports getting caught for PEDs is nothing new, this frequency is unprecedented in the NBA. In the history of the league, no more than two players have ever tested positive in the same season. And there’s still more than 70 games to go in this one.

What do these banned substances do?

How does the NBA’s drug policy work anyway?

Under the current collective bargaining agreement, players can be randomly tested up to four times during the season (twice for HGH) and twice during the offseason (once for HGH), per Larry Coon’s FAQ. The league can’t conduct more than 1,525 tests in a year or 600 during an offseason. Players can also be tested for “reasonable cause” up to four times in a six-week period.

When players are tested, their samples are split into a “Test A” and “Test B.” If “Test A” results in a positive testing, a player can request “Test B” be sent to another lab. If a player refuses to submit for testing or tries to cheat, they’re considered to have tested positive.

What’s going on this year?

The NBA’s had just 13 athletes test positive for banned substances ever, including the most recent three. For a league with over 450 players, that number is minuscule. Could it really be so few?

In 2017, Karl, in his book Furious George: My Forty Years Surviving NBA Divas, Clueless GMs, and Poor Shot Selection, sounded off about doping in the NBA.

From NBC Sports:

We’ve got a more thorough drug-testing program than the NFL or MLB, which we always brag about. But we’ve still got a drug issue, though a different one than thirty years ago. And this one bothers me more than the dumbasses who got in trouble with recreational drugs.

I’m talking about performance-enhancing drugs—like steroids, human growth hormone, and so on. It’s obvious some of our players are doping. How are some guys getting older—yet thinner and fitter? How are they recovering from injuries so fast? Why the hell are they going to Germany in the off-season? I doubt it’s for the sauerkraut.

More likely it’s for the newest, hard-to-detect blood boosters and PEDs they have in Europe. Unfortunately, drug testing always seems to be a couple steps behind drug hiding. Lance Armstrong never failed a drug test. I think we want the best athletes to succeed, not the biggest, richest cheaters employing the best scientists. But I don’t know what to do about it.

Are more players using PEDs now than ever? Or is the NBA testing more frequently than it once did?

The NBA is sending a warning

The NBA’s sent a statement with three players already testing positive for PEDs. Collins was in the midst of a breakout year, and Ayton was the top pick in last year’s draft. All players are subject to testing.

https://www.sbnation.com/nba/2019/11/5/20949723/nba-ped-suspensions-deandre-ayton-wilson-chandler-john-collins-steroids-banned-substances

Falcons host interactive camp to educate moms about football safety

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Brian Parker of the Taylor Hooton Foundation addresses Moms

ATLANTA – Mothers used to cheering from the sidelines are learning important lessons about football in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The Atlanta Falcons are in the fifth year of a special mother’s education. 

Once a year, moms come together and learn football.

Statistics suggests a decline in football participation. 

Falcons Vice President of Community Relations Chris Millman is hoping to change that.

The Falcons are using the interactive camp to educate mothers about making the right safety decisions for their children.

Dozens of moms are used to cheering from the sidelines but today they’re in Mercedes-Benz Stadium learning important lessons about football.

The main focus of the program is to make mothers aware and keep children active.

The mothers are also learning about the dangers of steroids and what to look out for to keep their children safe.

Taylor Hooton used anabolic steroids and ultimately took his life. His family started the Hooton Foundation, a non-profit to educate families about steroid and supplement abuse. 

Foundation spokesman Brian Parker spoke to these moms about the realities and dangers of those substances. 

“We looked around and we noticed that there are a couple million kids involved with these drugs and there was not really a group out there talking about it,” Parker said. “So that transitions us into an event like this where we can spread our education to a very important demographic and that’s moms.”

https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/atlanta/falcons-host-interactive-camp-to-educate-moms-about-football-safety/1001079511 

Michael Phelps On Doping: One Failed Test And You Should Never Be Allowed To Compete Again

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(CNN) — Swimming legend and Baltimore native Michael Phelps is more likely to jump in a ball pool than a swimming pool these days.

The 28-time Olympic medalist, who retired from competition after the 2016 Rio Games, became a father for a third time in September when his wife Nicole gave birth to baby boy Maverick.

American Phelps, who already had two sons, Boomer and Beckett, says fatherhood as been one of the “greatest things” he’s had the chance to do.

“For me it has been such an amazing and exciting time to see Boomer grow up as he has,” Phelps told CNN’s Don Riddell.

“Boomer is our oldest and every day is almost like seeing a mini me right in front of me.

“At times that can be frustrating but honestly it’s so enjoyable just to be able to teach him these small things that he’ll be able to carry through life.”

Phelps, who has ruled out a return to action at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, is now passionately involved in raising awareness around mental health and water conservation.

The 34-year-old, who says he has always been aware of the importance water holds in the eco-system, is hoping to pass that knowledge onto his kids.

“For me as a dad now, I’m going back and reliving some of my childhood so it’s helping me grow as a person as well,” he added.

“It’s something I’m very excited for. I’m tired at times but there’s nothing better in the world than seeing a smile on your kid’s face or hearing him say ‘I love you’ or when you walk in from a trip, having their arms just flung around your body for a hug.

“This is probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever had the chance to do, to welcome three healthy boys into this world and have the best wife to raise the three of them.”

Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, won 23 golds, three silvers and two bronze during an illustrious career, though he thinks he “never competed in a clean field once” in his life.

“That has to change,” added Phelps, as he reflected on the issue of doping in sport. “If you test positive once you should never be allowed to compete again.”

His success propelled him to fame and fortune, becoming one of the most recognized sports stars in the world. His eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games remains one of modern sport’s greatest achievements.

But Phelps also had his struggles.

Last year he told CNN about his battle with depression and how he struggled to adapt to life after announcing his first retirement from swimming following the London Olympics in 2012.

That retirement did not last however, and he returned to action in Rio four years later, winning four golds and a silver before retiring for good.

Since then he has spent time campaigning on issues surrounding mental health and the environment and while he accepts being in the public eye can be difficult, he says it has given him a platform to pursue causes that are close to his heart.

“It’s difficult at times,” Phelps said when asked about dealing with fame. “When I’m in public with my family and I just want to have a dinner it’s challenging at times.

“But I also understand that this is who I am and what I’ve been able to do and had the opportunity to do is something I’ve always dreamed of and something I wanted to do, something nobody has ever seen before. So to be doing that, I think it just comes along with the territory.

“I’ve kind of got used to it because now I have the opportunity to use the platform that I have in order to step up and talk about things that are important and things we can all do to make a little bit of change in today’s society.

Michael Phelps On Doping: One Failed Test And You Should Never Be Allowed To Compete Again

AdvoCare fined $150 million as FTC calls it a pyramid scheme

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AdvoCare International, a multi-level marketing company known for endorsements by professional athletes and other celebrities, will pay $150 million to settle government claims it’s an illegal pyramid scheme where most of those selling its products earned nothing or lost money. 

The Plano, Texas-based provider of diet supplements and energy drinks offered consumers the chance to “earn unlimited income, attain financial freedom, and quit their regular job,” according to the Federal Trade Commission. But the agency contends AdvoCare pressured sellers to bring in new distributors to purchase large amounts of the supplement products.

Those new recruits were charged $59 to become AdvoCare distributors, at which point they could potentially earn more if they became “advisers” by spending $1,200 to $2,400 on its products, the FTC said. But an adviser’s income depended on how many recruits purchased AdvoCare products.

 

Legitimate businesses make money by selling products and services, but it’s an illegal pyramid when it “depends on recruitments to pay out” and involves overblown income claims, Andrew Smith, the FTC’s consumer protection bureau director, said in a news conference. 

“The defendants promoted AdvoCare as a life-saving opportunity, yet more than 90% of its distributors in the U.S. earned less than $250 a year,” he said.

AdvoCare denies it is a pyramid scheme. 

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“We strongly disagree with the FTC allegations, but we are committed to abiding by this agreement and moving forward. The strength of AdvoCare is and always has been our highly-valued health and wellness products, which remain in great demand by our hundreds of thousands of loyal customers,” AdvoCare CEO Patrick Wright said in a statement. “We will continue to stand behind our distributors, employees and customers and to uphold our values of integrity and transparency, as we have for over 25 years.” 

AdvoCare is known for its dozens of pro sports endorsers. They include New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, the company’s national spokesperson; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes; and Becky Sauerbrunn, a defender on the U.S. women’s national soccer team. 

Under a settlement with the FTC, AdvoCare is permanently banned from multi-level marketing. The agency also said the company would return some money to distributors. In addition to AdvoCare, the FTC complaint names former CEO Brian Connolly and four individual distributors.

The FTC order does not put AdvoCare out of business, said Smith, who noted that the company can continue to sell its products to one level of distributors, who then would sell to consumers.

The company in May said it would change its operating model following “confidential talks” with the agency. AdvoCare said it had informed its more than 100,000 distributors that it was shelving the multi-level marketing model and would start paying based on actual sales.

The settlement contains echoes of one reached by the FTC three years ago with Herbalife, which paid $200 million to settle claims it misled buyers and sellers of its nutritional supplements. In that agreement, the FTC stopped short of calling the business a pyramid scheme.

Smith urged consumers considering a multi-level marketing pitch to look for signs of an illegal pyramid scheme, including: 

  • Would your compensation depend on your recruitment of others?
  • Are you required to purchase specific amounts of product to stay eligible for compensation?
  • Beware of unbelievable earnings or lifestyle claims.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/advocare-fined-150-million-as-ftc-calls-it-a-pyramid-scheme/

Impact of Anabolic Steroid Use on Heart Structure and Function in Weightlifters

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A new study presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2019 is shedding light on the risks of anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) use on heart function.

The study, which examined use of AAS in 100 male weightlifters, is providing further evidence found that AAS-using weight lifters had a thicker heart muscle and left ventricular posterior wall while also reducing its ability to function.

“Continuous, long-term use of AAS might prove to be a ‘silent killer’ but it is too early to tell,”  said study investigator Rang Abdullah, medical student at University of Oslo. ”There are many case-studies out there on AAS-using weightlifters who end up dead or hospitalized from a heart attack or life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. This is why prospective observational trials on this subject are so desperately needed.”

To assess the impact of illicit use of AAS on cardiovascular health, investigators conducted a study that included male weightlifters with a history of more than 1 year of cumulative AAS-use and weightlifters unexposed to AAS.

Investigators performed echocardiography in all participants and assessed left ventricular mass through 2D echocardiographic linear measurements and Cube formula. Additionally, left ventricular ejection fraction and left ventricular global longitudinal strain were assessed by speckle-tracking echocardiography.

A total of 100 male weight lifters were recruited for the study, 58 of which were previous or current AAS-users while the other 42 were unexposed weightlifters. Of the AAS-users, the mean duration of AAS-use was 10.4 years. Investigators no difference in mean age (35.5 versus 35.3, P=0.8) or BMI (31.4 versus 30.1, P=0.6) between the AAS-users and unexposed weightlifters.

Upon analyses, AAS-exposed weight lifters demonstrated thicker inter ventricular septum  (11.2 versus 9.2 mm, P<0.001), thicker left ventricular posterior wall dimension (10.1 versus 8.9 mm, P<0.001), and higher left ventricular mass index (99.7 versus 78.4 g/m2, P<0.001) than unexposed weight lifters.

 Additionally, left ventricular ejection fraction (49 versus 53%, P=0.02) and left ventricular global longitudinal strain (-15.6 versus -18.3, P<0.001) were decreased in AAS-exposed weight lifters compared to their unexposed counterparts.

“Our study found that illicit steroid use is associated with a number of worrying effects on the heart,” Abdullah said.  “We demonstrated that AAS-using weightlifters have a thicker heart muscle and reduced ability to contract the ventricular chambers of the heart during a cardiac cycle.”

This study, “Long-term use of anabolic-androgenic steroids in male weight lifters is associated with left ventricular systolic dysfunction,
“ was presented at ESC Congress 2019.

https://www.mdmag.com/medical-news/anabolic-steroid-use-heart-structure-function-in-weightlifters-esc

Drug dealers are peddling steroids on Facebook and YouTube

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The sale of illicit wares across social media platforms is raising questions about how well the companies are policing their sites.

September 16 at 6:00 AM

Drug dealers are turning to Facebook and other popular social media sites to peddle steroids, which are illegal without a prescription, raising more questions about whether the companies are properly policing their platforms.

Those substances are being aggressively sold or marketed through posts and videos on sites including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, according to new research by Internet safety nonprofit group Digital Citizens Alliance and cyberintelligence firm GiPEC. During the first half of the year, the researchers say they found more than 100 examples of such pages or posts.

Pages, groups and videos pushing steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs could be found through searching for keywords like Human Growth Hormone or Humatrope. Once users land on one of those pages, dealers push using the drugs and may include a way to contact them, like an email address or WhatsApp number.

Even as recently as this week, more than a dozen Facebook pages, YouTube videos and an Instagram account were selling or promoting prescription steroids and other appearance enhancing drugs. After a Washington Post inquiry, the social media companies removed the pages and posts for violating their terms of service, which prohibit illegal drug sales.

The posts turn devices into drug dealers, said Tom Galvin, Digital Citizens Alliance executive director. “Parents should know that,” he said. Their kids are “gaining access to this online on sites that are mainstream.”

The sale of these types of drugs is just the latest example of harmful and illicit content proliferating on social networks. Disinformation, hate speech and illegal sales continue to plague the sites, despite efforts to better moderate content both with thousands of humans and improved algorithms.

Amazon and Google recently were selling firearm and gun accessories on their sites in apparent violation of their own policies. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter played Whac-a-Mole after the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand, when the shooter’s video surfaced and was disseminated across the Web. And Twitter, Facebook and YouTube recently said they removed hundreds of accounts that appeared to be a concerted Chinese effort at spreading political discord regarding protests in Hong Kong.

That has led some industry critics to question whether the companies are doing enough.

“The model of moderation that platforms use is structurally inadequate to the task,” said Roger McNamee, a Facebook investor who has become one of the most prominent critics of Big Tech. “It appears that the moderation is not actually designed to eliminate those things, it’s designed to eliminate the political blowback.”

Facebook, which also owns Instagram, said it removes content that violates its policies as it finds them. “Our Community Standards make it very clear that buying, selling or trading drugs, which include steroids, is not allowed anywhere on Pages, in advertising, or anywhere else on Facebook,” said Facebook spokeswoman Crystal Davis.

YouTube said it removed 90,000 videos for violating its “harmful or dangerous policy” in the second quarter of 2019, and the company works closely with experts, including emergency room doctors and pediatricians, to develop its policies. “We’ve been investing in the policies, resources and products needed to live up to our responsibility and protect the YouTube community from harmful content,” YouTube spokesman Farshad Shadloo said.

Twitter spokeswoman Katie Rosborough pointed to the company’s existing policies, which state Twitter can’t be used for “any unlawful purpose or in furtherance of illegal activities.”

Steroids have previously surfaced as a social media problem. Digital Citizens Alliance first researched the issue in 2013, finding that steroids were being sold on YouTube. Immediately following the report, it appeared the company cracked down. (DCA receives funding from telecommunications, pharmaceutical and tech organizations, as well as some members of the Motion Picture Association of America.)

YouTube, which is part of Google, said it has taken a number of steps to reduce the spread of “borderline content and videos” on its site in recent years.

The researchers, including Eric Feinberg, the chief executive of New York-based GiPEC, decided to revisit the topic after noticing last year that steroids continued to be sold on the platforms. “They continue to turn a blind eye,” he said.

In some cases, the content surfaced to researchers as “Suggested Pages” or “Recommended Videos” they might like due to their searches. While YouTube has recently launched features attempting to reduce illicit content, it only works on English-speaking videos. The researchers found suggested steroid videos alongside videos in foreign languages like Arabic, according to screen shots reviewed by The Post.

In one example, a Facebook page called “Landmarkchem Raw steroid powders, HGH, peptides & semi-finished for sale” offered a variety of steroids via Facebook’s “shop” function, which is intended to help merchants sell products. The button directed people to the Facebook page of “Lucky Li,” whose email address and Skype name were also listed on the page.

The researchers contacted Landmark through an email address found on Facebook, and they were offered a wide range of drugs that are supposed to require a prescription, according to emails reviewed by The Post. The emails also gave instructions for administering the drugs.

The researchers purchased two vials labeled Human Growth Hormone, a substance that is often abused to enhance muscle mass or athletic performance, and three vials of an anabolic steroid known as Deca Durabolin, which is only available with a prescription due to potential side effects such as liver damage. The researcher paid about $360 for the drugs via the PayPal-owned platform Venmo. (Such a transaction violates Venmo’s terms of service.)

Drug testing showed that the Deca Durabolin appeared to be legitimate, but the HGH was not — leaving questions about what they were sold.

Steroids can be used to enhance appearance as well as athletic performance.

“It seems like a cruel irony that the same platforms that are fueling a desire to look like celebrities in the social media age are also the platforms that people turn to reshape their body to look like celebrities,” Galvin said.

Advocates against steroid abuse are calling on the tech companies to do more to stamp out the sales on their platforms.

Donald Hooton Sr., the executive chairman of the Taylor Hooton Foundation, fights steroid abuse in memory of his son. The new research illustrates just how much the issue of steroid abuse has evolved, he said. His son Taylor, a successful high school student athlete whose death was linked to steroid abuse more than 15 years ago, found his dealer while working out at the local YMCA.

Hooton Sr. said he was concerned that parents don’t realize such sales could now be happening on their children’s devices, and he called on the tech giants to do more.

“There is no doubt in my mind that they’ve got the capability, engineering skills and the wherewithal to get this crap stopped, to prevent this from going on their platform,” he added.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/09/16/drug-dealers-are-peddling-steroids-facebook-youtube/?noredirect=on 

STATEMENT BY DON HOOTON re: Digital Citizens Alliance Report on Digital Platforms Enabling the Sale of Illegal Appearance and Performance-Enhancing Drugs

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, September 16, 2019

 

STATEMENT BY DON HOOTON

Founder and Executive Chairman, Taylor Hooton Foundation

RE: Digital Citizens Alliance Report on Digital Platforms Enabling

the Sale of Illegal Appearance and Performance-Enhancing Drugs

 

“This is a bone-chilling report and should serve as a call to action for these popular digital platforms that the advertising and sale of these extremely dangerous and illegal substances on their sites must stop. It’s time for these digital platforms, like Facebook and Google, to stop turning a blind eye and to stop allowing, even enabling, drug dealers to conduct business on their sites. Appearance and Performance Enhancing Substances carry serious health risks that can have significant harmful implications for athletes and non-athletes alike, including heart attacks, kidney and liver damage, severe depression, and even death.”

—-

The six-month Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) investigation and its ensuing report found that companies distributing the illegal substances advertised by using various social media sites to reach their often underage target audience, with no age-related barriers in place to prohibit youth from purchasing the substances.

 

The Taylor Hooton Foundation works every day to educate young people and adult influencers on the serious health risks associated with using Appearance and Performance Enhancing Substances. The Foundation conducts educational assemblies primarily at middle school, high school and college campuses—as well as at all 30 MLB ballparks with the full support of Major League Baseball—that teach students and adults about the dangers of using Appearance and Performance Enhancing Substances, including anabolic steroids, Human Growth Hormone (HGH), unregulated dietary supplements and others.

The Taylor Hooton Foundation hopes that this report serves as a “call to action” and also ignites new conversations about how to educate young people about the dangers associated with these substances and how to keep them safe online.

To view the full DCA Steroids Report, please visit (click here).

CONTACT:   Rick Cerrone / Rick Cerrone Communications

rick@rickcerrone.com

 

Facebook and Google Offer Haven for Sale of Illegal Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs, Investigation Finds

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Published Sunday, September 15, 2019

Drug Dealers Advertise and Sell Illegal Drugs as Online Platforms Ignore

WASHINGTON, September 15, 2019 — Americans who rely on illegal and potentially dangerous appearance and performance enhancing drugs to improve their physical appearance or step up their athletic performance are aided by three unlikely partners – drug dealers, Facebook and Google — according to a Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) / Global Intellectual Property Enforcement Center Worldwide (GIPEC) investigation.

The report – “Digital Platforms on Steroids” – presents the results of a six-month investigation that shows that millions of Americans have resorted to the use of appearance and performance enhancing drugs (APEDs), aided by drug dealers who advertise the sale of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone online while digital platforms seemingly turn a blind eye.

The investigation looked at the scope of use of APEDs and the ease of buying them from online suppliers. A Digital Citizens research survey found that 1 in 10 Americans reported using the drugs at one time. As part of its inquiry, DCA purchased drugs from a China-based dealer who promoted them on Facebook. After professional testing of the samples, one was in fact an anabolic steroid while another labeled as human growth hormone (HGH) was fake.

“Thanks to Facebook and Google, a teen’s drug supplier is located in their phone, tablet or computer,”said Tom Galvin, executive director of DCA. “Digital platforms seem to only take down illegal and/or illicit content when it becomes a PR problem, not for the good of their users. Whether a street corner or an online site, criminals tend to go where it’s easiest. And the proliferation of APEDs is being made easier by the unwillingness of digital platforms to take the issue seriously.”

This is the second time that Digital Citizens has found APEDs for sale on social media platforms. A 2013 DCA report on YouTube videos pushing and demonstrating APED usage led to the take down of dozens those videos.

“It is disappointing and frustrating that we are still finding large-scale sales of illegal APEDs on these social media platforms six years after we first identified the illicit activity,” said Eric Feinberg, the co-founder of GIPEC. “Social media advertising algorithms are driving users directly to drug dealers. We didn’t have to spend very long looking for steroids because the platforms’ algorithms enabled the operators of suggested pages and videos of illegal steroids to find us.”

The DCA / GIPEC investigation found:

  • For several years, APED sellers have used Facebook pages to market and sell drugs. In at least one instance, Facebook placed a “Shop Now” button to enable users to make drug purchases. On another page targeting bodybuilders, sellers offered Somatropin, a human growth hormone (HGH) used to treat growth failure in children.
  • Numerous YouTube videos promote the sale of APEDs, among them “Steroids Corner,” a group selling the drugs that use a Whatsapp number as the point of contact.
  • Facebook offered “Suggested Pages” that promoted access to APEDs. These suggestions often were placed on other Facebook group pages related to sports. In one case, Facebook suggested steroid dealers next to content from the Taylor Hooton Foundation, a group dedicated to alerting the public to the dangers of APEDs.
  • APED dealers in some cases also offered access to opioids, drugs that have fueled an epidemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans in the last decade.

“Young people face enormous pressure, whether it’s to look better, to get a scholarship to pay for college or live up to the unrealistic image of friends, celebrities and influencers on social media. Some seek a shortcut by using APEDs that offer the promise to play and look better,” said Don Hooton, Executive Chairman of the Taylor Hooton Foundation. “These substances carry dangerous risks that can have tragic results. Our efforts to help our nation’s youth steer clear of these risks are undermined when digital platforms such as Facebook and Google make it easy to acquire these substances online. These companies must be held accountable for this behavior and must take active steps immediately to cease enabling the sale of these substances via their platforms. NOW!”

While steroid and HGH use in the past was fueled by a desire to improve athletic performance, the research shows that enhanced appearance is now a key driver for use. The July 2019 DCA survey of 2,417 Americans found:

  • 1 in 10 respondents admitted to taking steroids. 13 percent of males and 8 percent of females had taken the harmful drugs.
  • When asked the reason for taking APEDs, 52 percent respondents said they took APEDs to “improve physical appearance” compared to 35 percent who said it was to “improve athletic performance.”
  • More than 1 in 3 (35 percent) of those who purchased APEDs said they got them online.
  • 37 percent of those respondents who took steroids or HGH started when they were 24 or younger with 10 percent were under the age of 18 at first use.
  • 63 percent of respondents who admitted to using steroids or HGH said they experienced side effects or health issues consistent with the use of such drugs.

About DCA

The Digital Citizens Alliance is a nonprofit, 501(c)(6) organization that is a consumer- oriented coalition focused on educating the public and policymakers on the threats that consumers face on the Internet. Digital Citizens wants to create a dialogue on the importance for Internet stakeholders— individuals, government and industry—to make the Web a safer place. Based in Washington, DC, the Digital Citizens Alliance counts among its supporters: private citizens, the health, pharmaceutical and creative industries as well as online safety experts and other communities focused on Internet safety. Visit us at www.digitalcitizensalliance.org.

About GIPEC

The Global Intellectual Property Enforcement Center Worldwide is a cyber intelligence company that uses patented tools to interrogate the deep web and social media. To learn more about GIPEC visit www.gipec.com

 

Can an Athlete With Type 1 Diabetes Make the Olympic Track Team?

Kate Hall

You’ll want to be ready if you find yourself on the receiving end of a Kate Hall medicine ball toss.

I wasn’t. During a midday early May workout, Hall recruited me to catch her throws and roll the ball back to her. I moved to the middle of the infield at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland, Maine. From just inside the track, Hall sprang forward and heaved the 8-pound ball. Next thing I knew, the ball landed just in front of me, bounced, and crashed into my chest. It left a red mark on my sternum that lingered for a week.

I should have known better. Hall, age 22, is the national high school record-holder in the long jump, a two-time NCAA champion in the event, and this year’s national indoor titlist. Her long jump PR of 6.83 meters is best appreciated by unspooling a tape measure 22 feet, 5 inches and imagining how much of that distance you could cover after a 40-meter run-up. Hall is also an accomplished sprinter, with a 100-meter best of 11.30 and a runner-up finish at 60 meters in February’s indoor nationals.

The medicine ball tosses came at the end of a workout focusing on sprintstarts; on some, she bolted from the blocks with such force that her grandfather, standing on the back of the blocks, was knocked off balance. So of course I should have braced myself when this exemplar of power sent a flying object my way.

Hall is exceptional even among her peers. After the 2018 outdoor season, she decided not to return to the University of Georgia for what would have been her senior year. She moved back to her native Maine to resume working with Chris Pribish, an athletic trainer who guided her high school career but who has otherwise never coached a world-class track athlete, and who spends much of his day working with orthopedic rehab clients.

Hall and Pribish hope that their highly individualized approach can put someone training solo, unsponsored, in Maine’s less-than-ideal climate, on this year’s world championships team. And they hope next year to show that Hall, who has type 1 diabetes, can be the first person with the disease known to become a U.S. track and field Olympian.


Growing up, Hall was used to being the quickest kid in school. That doesn’t necessarily mean much in Casco, Maine, which had a population of 3,742 when Hall became a teenager. But it meant something to a natural competitor, so one day in 2007, when the 10-year-old Hall was beaten by another girl at a soccer practice race, she wanted answers. Hall’s father learned the other girl had done a summer track program. He urged her to try track club the following summer.

“I was hesitant to do something new,” Hall says. “I was all set with soccer and basketball. My dad said, ‘Just go and try one practice. If you hate it, you don’t have to come back.’” Hall sampled all of the events, excelled in the sprints and long jump, and told her father she wanted to return. By seventh grade she was competing for state titles. She stopped playing basketball in eighth grade because it interfered with indoor track, and abandoned soccer the following fall to avoid knee injuries.

Kate Hall
Hall sometimes gets help at workouts from her father, Eric Hall.
 

Hall was obviously a natural, but that doesn’t mean she came to track unprepared. She has a jumper/sprinter’s version of Kenyan kids running to school. “When I was young, every time I went through a door, I would jump up and hit the doorpost,” she says. “I was probably doing hundreds of jumps a day. I sort of started to train myself to develop that springiness.”

In 2012, as a high school freshman, Hall set the goal of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic trials, even though her best long jump at the time was more than three feet shy of the eventual standard of 21 feet, 11 inches. In the final jump of her prep career, at the 2015 New Balance Nationals, Hall soared as she never had before. Her mark of 22 feet, 5 inches broke a 39-year-old national high school record, held by Kate McMillan, who in open competition went on to win silver at the 1976 Olympics. It was a massive improvement in personal terms—she had set her previous outdoor PR of 20 feet, 11 inches just the previous week—and an automatic qualifier for the 2016 trials.

https://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/a28450989/kate-hall-sprinter-type-1-diabetes/