Health Team

Steroid Use Not Just Issue Facing Pro Athletes

Posted December 28, 2007 2:13 p.m. EST
Updated December 28, 2007 7:28 p.m. EST

Teens are turning to steroid use more than ever, and health officials say the consequences can be deadly.

Don Hooton remembers his 17-year-old son as a great kid with a smile on his face, but he believes Taylor's desire to be the best in baseball eventually cost him his life.

"We knew something was wrong with Taylor," Hooton said.

Problems began when his junior varsity coach told him he needed to bulk up. He found the quickest way to make it happen.

"Over half the boys on the team were doing steroids so he just needed to look to his left or his right to see how the other boys had achieved the coach's objectives," Hooton said.

Taylor added 30 pounds of muscle in 90 days. He also displayed mood swings and deep depression that led to a tragic end.

"He went upstairs and he took two belts and hung himself on the bedroom door," Hooton said.

"Clearly, the role modeling they see in terms of elite athletes, the people they cherish as super stars having an association with the use of these drugs is an endorsement," said internist Dr. Gary Wadler.

Health experts claim the problem may be bigger than most people may think.

"Three percent of all high school seniors have tried steroids at least once and that equates to about 90,000 seniors," Wadler said.

Special agent John Gilbride was part of one of the largest steroid drug busts in U.S. history.

"These steroids are produced in some of the most unsanitary conditions you can possibly imagine," Gilbride said.

"You can just rest assured that steroids are readily available and these kids can get their hands on them," Hooton said.