October 8, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Adam Benson, Digital Citizens Alliance, 202.999.9104, adam@digitalcitizensalliance.org
Kyle Purdy, Taylor Hooton Foundation, 972-403-7300, kyle.purdy@taylorhooton.org

In Digital Citizens Alliance / Taylor Hooton Foundation Investigation,Researchers Find Dangerous Drugs on YouTube, But Also Get Fakes and Even No Shipment At All 

Washington, DC – Large numbers of young people are succumbing to the pressure to win, using anabolic steroids and Human Growth Hormone to keep up athletically and socially with their peers.  More than eight percent of males between 18-25 admit they have taken these Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs (APEDs) according to a new poll commissioned by the Internet safety group, Digital Citizens Alliance.

The poll numbers are part of the new findings in the report from Digital Citizens and the Taylor Hooton Foundation, “Better at Any Cost: The Dangerous Intersection of Young People, Steroids, and the Internet.”  The Taylor Hooton Foundation is widely acknowledged as the leader in the advocacy against performance enhancing drug use by the youth of America.

Along with the polling, investigators from Digital Citizens wanted to see if they could order APEDs online – and found it was all too easy.  Digital Citizens attempted to buy four APEDs (three anabolic steroids and one shipment of Human Growth Hormone (HGH)) online that investigators found during a search on YouTube, one of the most popular sites in the world with teens. Digital Citizens sent two of the APEDs to Microtrace LLC, a testing facility in Elgin, IL.  The lab found that the steroid was what the sellers claimed it to be – Deca Durabolin®, a potentially dangerous drug that is illegal to possess without a valid prescription from a doctor.  The second package – which the seller claimed to be HGH – was a fake. Digital Citizens was charged for two other orders, but those never arrived at their final destination.

“The recently closed online drug black market, Silk Road, was a billion dollar enterprise – and it had nowhere near the traffic that YouTube does,” said Tom Galvin, the Executive Director of the Digital Citizens Alliance.  “We applaud the crackdown on the dark web’s worst operators, but many of those same operators do the same things on the open web that our children use every day.  The brilliant minds at YouTube and Google are doing amazing things.  If they can build a car that parks itself, why can’t they build a wall protecting children from drug dealers?”

Don Hooton lost his son, Taylor, after Taylor used steroids to improve his performance as a high school baseball player. Don and his Taylor Hooton Foundation team travel the country talking to kids about steroid use.  To date, the THF team has spoken to more than 500,000 people.  Hooton says the numbers in the Digital Citizens poll numbers are consistent with other research.

“We talk to children everyday who know where to find this stuff,” Hooton said.  “My son Taylor obtained his steroids from a 19-year-old drug dealer who he met at our local YMCA.  Now, kids don’t even have to leave the couch to find anabolic steroids, Human Growth Hormone, and other Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs.  Today’s dealers come right to the playground where kids live – the Internet.”

Additional Poll Results

Other eye-opening findings in the polls done for Digital Citizens by Zogby Analytics include:

– APEDs are dangerous, but young athletes will use them anyway.
– Over 8 percent of males aged 18-25 reported that they have used anabolic steroids.
– Almost 28 percent reported that they knew someone who had taken APEDs, such as steroids or HGH.
– Professional athletes using APEDs send a dangerous message to young athletes.
– One in five males ages 18 – 25 said that taking APEDs is “the only way to make it in professional sports.”
– An additional 24 percent said it was “critical to enhancing one’s athletic performance.”
– More than 77 percent of parents of males between the ages of 14-25 said the use of APED in pro sports put pressure on young athletes to also use the drugs.

  For a complete look at the poll numbers, click here.

Zogby Analytics conducted the two online surveys from July 19 thru July 22, 2013.  Zogby surveyed 350 males in between the ages of 18-25 in the United States and possessed a margin of error of +/- 5.3 percentage points as well as 352 adults with male children between the ages of 14-25 in the United States with a margin of error of +/- 5.3 percentage points.

About the Digital Citizens Alliance The Digital Citizens Alliance is a consumer-oriented coalition focused on educating the public and policy makers on the threats that consumers face on the Internet and 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. For more information, please visit digitalcitizensalliance.org.

About The Taylor Hooton Foundation
The Taylor Hooton Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to educating North America’s young people about the dangers of anabolic steroids and other appearance and performance enhancing drugs.   The friends and family of Taylor Hooton formed the Foundation in 2004 after his untimely death following his use of anabolic steroids.

For more information about the Taylor Hooton Foundation and its efforts, please visit www.taylorhooton.org.