If you listen to the talking heads, when it comes to anabolic steroids you’re probably under the impression steroids and teenagers is the epidemic of the modern era. Almost any time a news report discusses anabolic steroids, it doesn’t matter what the discussion is based upon it will to a degree turn to or at least mention steroids and teenagers almost each and every time. For those who hate anabolic steroids, this is one of their main weapons; anabolic steroids plus teenagers equals bad news. When anabolic steroids are mentioned in a professional sports scandal, each and every time we hear how such activity is damaging to young, impressionable minds because it encourages them to supplement. This leads us to a very important question; are they right? Do steroids and teenagers not mix; do pro athletes supplementing with steroids influence our children, and is there truly an epidemic on our hands?
In the eyes of the anti-steroid crowd, the answer to the above questions is yes for everyone, and enough reason to keep anabolic steroids on the controlled substance list. Again we ask, are they correct in their thinking? Let’s go ahead and get this right out of the way; steroids and teenagers do not mix; such a relationship can be extremely damaging to their fragile and developing bodies. We’ll explain more as we go along, but what about the other two questions, the influential factor and the epidemic? If these are non-existent problems it puts a massive hole in the anti-argument; it doesn’t change the fact steroids should not be used by teenagers, but it does raise questions regarding the controlled nature of the hormones. Let’s take a look and see what we can find.
To discuss this topic with any validity, we must first have a general understanding of anabolic steroids. Anabolic Androgenic Steroids generally referred to as “Anabolic Steroids” or “AAS” are synthetic derivatives of the primary male androgen Testosterone and Dihydrotestosterone to a lesser degree. The term “Anabolic Steroid” itself is a generic term, as it refers to a large class of hormones of which there are many. These are not foreign substances to the body; although they are synthetically made they are hormones the body is well accustomed to.
To understand AAS, we can learn a lot from the term itself, as each word is very telling. Steroids are four-cyclic rings of 17 carbon atoms; there are literally hundreds and hundreds of steroids found in the human body and nature, even in plants; many are not of an anabolic nature, but the ones we’re concerned with are of an anabolic and fat based nature. As for “Anabolic” this refers to anabolism or in simplistic terms “muscle building”; one way to phrase it is anabolic refers to the constructive nature of the metabolism. Then we’re left with androgenic, which simply refers to the promotion of the male sexual characteristics.
This is anabolic steroids in a general sense; now you at least know what they are, but we assure you there is so much more to learn about them directly and we encourage you to do some digging. However, here we are only concerned about steroids and teenagers and the arguments made revolving around the subject, and now that we know what steroids are we can do just that.
When it comes to the argument against the relationship of steroids and teenagers, this argument is dead on the money; the two should never for any reason exist with one another. There are several reasons steroids and teenagers do not mix three specifically, and while two are facts the one used by the anti-steroid crowd has yet to be proven as fact, but there’s a decent possibility it may hold some truth. The argument is simple; anabolic steroids will stunt a developing body’s growth by closing growth plates prematurely. If this is true, it is a sound argument, but it’s nowhere near as damaging as the other two which are absolute facts.
When steroids and teenagers collide, this has a strong, negative impact on their natural androgen production which has yet to fully develop to its full capacity. Some teens will find supplementation enhances their puberty rate in an unsatisfactory manner, as well as lead to inefficient androgen production in the long run. To make matter worse, anabolic steroids appear to have a tremendously negative impact on the mental state of teenagers. Many teenagers often experience severe depression after discontinuing anabolic steroid use; something that is normally not a problem for healthy adult men. For an adolescent, once use is discontinued his testosterone levels will be low, very low, and low testosterone can cause depression in any man regardless of age; however, let’s remember what was discussed above. When an adult man discontinues use, he is doing so with an already well-developed androgen system, and as such his natural testosterone production will begin again. As you recall, there’s a good chance a teen has damaged his androgen production, and while his natural production may begin again it will more than likely do so at a rate that is unsatisfactory. Further, most adults who supplement with anabolic steroids understand you do not simply stop and hope for the best; that’s the last thing you want to do. Most adult men will do things to promote their natural testosterone production, to get production going again at an efficient level; this is a thought most teens don’t know they need to have, and as such is tremendously damaging.
It’s been one of the principal arguments made by the anti-steroid crowd for nearly twenty-five years; pro athletes supplementing with anabolic steroids influences teenagers to supplement. As we know, steroids and teenagers do not mix due to the health reasons discussed above, but are pro athletes genuinely having this negative impact? Let’s be clear, pro athletes supplement with anabolic steroids, they have been for over sixty years, and they still do today; in-fact, when we say pro athletes supplement with anabolic steroids, when it comes to the big two sports, football and baseball we’re referring to the strong majority.
With so many athletes supplementing, is this what’s causing the relationship of steroids and teenagers to reach epidemic proportions? Let’s go ahead and clear up another relatively unknown fact; in the United States, we know without question there are at least six-million adults supplementing with anabolic steroids. By market activity, it is estimated to be at least twice that amount, maybe even three times that number. Of these adults supplementing with anabolic steroids, we know 85-90% of them are doing so for the strict purpose of physique enhancement; we’re talking about the gym rats. These are people who compete in no sport, they don’t have a competition; they supplement with anabolic steroids for the sole purpose of looking and feeling better; they supplement with anabolic steroids because they understand the health benefits held within. So again we ask; what about steroids and teenagers? Only 10-15% of the total anabolic population is competitive athletes, but are they influencing our children to a level that has reached epidemic proportions? To answer this question, we only need to look at the 2010 poll done by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) which polled a bevy of teens at the 8th, 10th and 12th grade levels. In the NIDA poll, they inquired about tobacco and alcohol use, as well as marijuana and of course anabolic steroids; here are the numbers, and from looking at them, you should be able to answer is the issue of steroids and teenagers is truly an epidemic:
Smoking and Teenagers
Smokeless Tobacco and Teenagers
Marijuana and Teenagers
Alcohol and Teenagers
Steroids and Teenagers
These are the numbers, and in-case you’re a little slow or simply blind we’ll go ahead and translate the above. Based on the numbers by the NIDA, steroids and teenagers are not a problem; you could poll a thousand children on almost anything and find numbers higher than the steroid numbers here. If the argument that pro athletes are influencing teens to supplement with anabolic steroids holds any weight, these pro athletes are doing a horrible job. The sad truth, the one that’s the most damaging of all, alcohol, you won’t hear near the uproar around it as you do anabolic steroids. It’s true; anabolic steroids are damaging to teens, but as for the issue being an epidemic and that pro athletes influence it, for the anti-steroid crowd this argument equals one thing; FAIL!
There are a few arguments made by the anti-steroid crowd, but for years, the primary argument made has been that anabolic steroids must be controlled in-order to protect children. Even presidents have jumped on the bandwagon, stating pro athlete use sends the wrong message to teens. Of course, they would also argue the campaign has been successful based on the numbers we stated above, but come on, let’s be honest about the whole thing. By “protecting the children”, (massive eye role implied) we are punishing free adults. We know children shouldn’t take steroids, but we know they shouldn’t smoke or drink either, but of course they are and at high rates. Even so, we control these items in a way that allows adults to make a decision for themselves; can the same not be done with anabolic steroids?
Of course, the argument is made about keeping sports clean and pure, and if a sport deems steroid use is cheating then it’s cheating pure and simple. What about the rest of us; what about the six-million who largely supplement for their own personal benefit, they don’t play sports, they simply want to look better; are they not entitled to decide for themselves? If a free adult who lives in the United States decides to supplement with anabolic steroids, if he makes this decision based upon the liberty he has been granted as an American citizen, if his decision does not infringe on the life, liberty or pursuit of happiness of another can he not decide for himself? If you want to drink yourself into oblivion you are free to do so; if you want to eat four-hundred doughnuts a day until your gut explodes you are granted this right as a free human being. In either case, you’re an idiot, but by liberty we are allowed to be idiots so as long as we do so by our own hand and harm no one else. How is it anabolic steroids are any different?