Federal Efforts to Confront Youth Steroid Threat are a "Travesty"
WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, The Taylor Hooton Foundation published an open letter in theÂ USA Today's World Series Special Section addressing the steroid threat still facing America's youth-five years after the Congressional hearings on steroids in Major League Baseball. The letter calls upon the Congress and the Federal government to take action.
"All told, the rate of steroid and other performance enhancing drug use vastly exceeds use rates for other drugs that receive much more attention"
In the letter Don Hooton, President of the Taylor Hooton Foundation, writes:
"At the televised 2005 hearings, Congressmen readily beat up on MLB. Five years later, no federal progress has been made to keep these drugs from killing our children. Even though a few Congressmen recognize the importance of this crisis, it is a travesty that the budget includes no funds for steroid education for our youth."
Likewise, the Federal agencies charged with drug prevention have no programs that target steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.
According to the CDC, 5.1 percent of high school males and 2.7 percent of high school females use steroids. Additionally, these statistics do not take into account the still larger numbers of young people who are unwittingly taking steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. Two recent, independent studies have found that 20 to 25 percent of food supplements purchased off the shelf in the United States contained steroids. "All told, the rate of steroid and other performance enhancing drug use vastly exceeds use rates for other drugs that receive much more attention,"Â Hooton added.
Studies also show that the main reasons young people use steroids is to look and feel better-not just perform better in sports. "This is no longer a problem limited to our athletes-it is a threat to all our kids," Hooton said.
Despite the scope of this problem, research by the Government Accountability Office and the Hooton Foundation indicates thatÂ the Federal government currently spends zero dollars on anti-steroid youth education programs. "Major League Baseball, which was the focus of a lot of negative attention at the 2005 hearings, now outspends the entire federal government on youth anti-steroid education by a factor of more than 500,000 percent a year," added Hooton. (The Foundation's education programs in all the major league baseball stadiums are funded through a partnership with MLB.)
The lack of attention to this threat is also clear from the fact that the Federal government's recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health did not even ask about steroid use. "We don't even care to know how big a problem we have," Hooton said.
"As a result of this lack of attention by Congress and the Federal government, the only people talking to our kids about steroids and other performance enhancing drugs are the people pushing them to use these drugs, or pushing the drugs themselves,"Â Hooton said. A 2009 study found that 85 percent of America's young people have never had an adult speak to them about the dangers of steroids.
"We need the Congress and the Federal government to take this threat seriously and act now. We need effective, broad-based youth education programs. We need better regulation of supplements. We need law enforcement to take down the drug rings that traffic in steroids and crack down on the illegal use of steroids in food supplements. This is no longer just about pro sports, it is about America's kids," Hooton concluded.
About the Taylor Hooton Foundation
The Taylor Hooton Foundation was founded in 2004 after Don Hooton's son Taylor, an aspiring baseball player, took his own life because of steroid use. The Foundation seeks to inform America's youth, parents, coaches, professional athletes and organizations about the dangers of steroid use.
For more information on The Taylor Hooton Foundation visitÂ www.taylorhooton.org