September 26, 2012
Did Olympic doping lead to world-wide problem?
Doping a public health problem not limited to sports At the "Doping as a Public Health Issue" Symposium that was held September 21 and 22 in Stockholm Sweden, had experts explaining that using doping products or blood products to improve athletic performance is now a public health problem. Dr. Timothy Armstrong of the World Health Organization (WHO) had explained that around 3% of American high school boys are regularly taking steroid or growth hormone, it's a public health issue. Armstrong was speaking at the conference which was organized by the Arne Ljungqvist Foundation. The foundation is named after the Swedish anti-doping official that is chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) medical commission. Dr. Ljungqvist agreed with Armstrong that doping has now reached the scale where it threatens public health. He adds “Elite sport plays an obvious role. They are the role models of youngsters and if they are drug takers that is not the right role model for the coming society. “I am so happy today to see these international authorities coming together and sharing these concerns that are being expressed and I hope that we can find common ways to deal with them.” Director of the World Anti-doping Agency, General David Howman shared his belief that what happens in elite sports has an effect on a wider society and sharing information is critical to attacking the problem. He also adds that in the last ten years it has become clear that there is a trickle-down effect into recreational sports and high school arena. Howman states “In Australia now, the customs people share their information with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA), and already 40 percent of their anti-doping rule violations come from that sort of information. “That’s a very good example of how it can work when people work together.” Assistant Director General, Pilar Alvarez-Laso, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had stated it is critical that young people be educated on the moral, legal and health consequences of doping. Are teens influenced to use enhancement performing drugs by sports athletes that use them, the answer just may surprise you. Estimates show that 20% of high school student's decision to use anabolic steroids was influenced by professional athletes and almost 50% said professional athletes influenced their friend's decisions to use anabolic steroids. Greg Schwab, offense lineman University of Oregon, and played with the San Diego Charges and is now principal at Mountlake Terrace High School stated stated the following in his June 18, 2002 testimony for the hearing “Steroid Use in Professional Baseball and Anti-Doping Issues in Amateur Sports” “For many male high school athletes, pro athletes are major influences. They are the role models. They choose the jersey numbers of their favorite professional players. They emulate their training regimens. They emulate their style of play. And they are influenced by their drug use. When a professional athlete admits to using steroids, the message young athletes hear is not always the one that is intended. Young athletes often believe that steroid use by their role models gives them permission to use. That it is simply part of what one must do to become an elite athlete.” Findings from the National Results on Adolescent Drug Use 2011, had consisted of survey of around 46,000 8th, 10th and 12th grade students in 400 secondary schools nationwide. The results showed the following percentages of steroid use among students; 61.6% 12th graders, 16.8% 10th graders and 16.8% among 8th graders. Dr. Gary I.Walder, MD, Chairman World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Prohibited List and Methods Sub-Committee when asked if performance enhancing drugs should be accepted in sports had in part commented "clearly most athletes, especially Olympic athletes, serve as positive role models, shaping the behavior of our youth. Regrettably, there is a negative ripple effect from those who resort to doping… " "We cannot allow performance-enhancing drugs to undermine the Olympic Movement. We cannot allow another generation of young people to approach adulthood with a pervading sense of cynicism, and a belief in the power of chemical manipulation rather than the power of character." According to the Taylor Hooton Foundation around one million students and as many as 6% of American high school student admit to using anabolic steroids which equals one in 16 students. The above number does not apply to those who unknowingly used steroids such as taking supplements that contain steroids. More than one in 20 high school girls already use anabolic steroids and the growing number of anabolic steroid use is among high school girls. The average age a child first uses anabolic steroids is fifteen. Estimates indicate that half of those users of anabolic steroids are not athletes and have no desire to be one. The dosage of these steroids is 10 to 100 times greater than what a physician would prescribe for medical conditions. According to information from Medicine Net the side effects in males the excess steroid suppresses the normal testosterone production in the body and can lead to shrunken testicles and decreased sperm count, baldness, and breast development. In females, steroids will lead to masculinization with loss of body fat and breast size, swelling of the clitoris, deepening of the voice, and the development of facial and body hair. Life threatening side effects include heart attack, stroke, blood clots, liver failure, liver cancer and even death. The Taylor Hooton Foundation is committed to educating everyone, youth and adults alike, about the life-threatening dangers of appearance and performance enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids