Australian school kids taking steroids
DANNY ROSE, MEDICAL WRITER
August 11, 2010 – 10:34AM
Australian schools have been told to broaden their drug education programs as research shows how many teens are experimenting with anabolic steroids.
A major survey conducted in secondary schools has found 2.4 per cent of 12 to 17 year olds reported using theÂ muscle enhancing injections.
Dr Matthew Dunn, a researcher at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), said this was a much higher usage rate than that seen across the population.
“It’s low when we compare it to groups such as body builders and weightlifters,” Dr Dunn told AAP.
Dr Dunn analysed data collected as part of a broader survey on substance abuse, which took in about 22,000 students from 376 secondary schools across the country.
Teens who admitted to past steroid use were also more likely to report experimenting with other illicit substances, such as cannabis.
They tended to report lower scholastic performance, were usually male and not always involved in sporting activities.
Dr Dunn said the research highlighted the need for drug and alcohol education programs in schools to not have a sole focus on recreational drugs.
School sport and athletics programs should also highlight the risks involved in steroid abuse, he said.
“For those that are in sporting clubs, and getting involved in the gym, we probably do want some sort of targeted education and prevention initiative,” Dr Dunn said.The data was released at the NDARC’s annual symposium, held at the University of NSW this week.