A new, national survey shows teen experimentation with human growth hormones has more than doubled in the past year.
A Columbia high school athletic trainer said parents of teenagers need to watch for signs of the use of performance enhancing drugs.
In a confidential 2013 survey of more than 3,700 high school students released Wednesday by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, 11% reported using synthetic human growth hormone at least once. Thatâ??s up from about 5% in the 4 previous annual surveys. Hickman High School students Alexis Berry and Jonathan Richmond said they never touch the stuff. They rely on hard work to stay in shape.
Berry said, â??You actually did it yourself. You wonâ??t get in trouble for that. Itâ??s just honest.â??
Richmond said, â??If you know how to use it and do it, then youâ??ll only have it for a certain amount of time. You have to keep using it to keep being able to do it. If you work hard, then you just have it. You know how to do it.â??
Many teenagers get away with using performance enhancing drugs because not all schools test for it.
Human growth hormones are very expensive. Itâ??s possible that some of the students who reported using it may have taken a cheap substitute.
Columbia high school athletic trainer David Ford said protein supplements are more common than performance enhancing drugs with his students. Ford said teenagers usually canâ??t afford the real stuff.
Ford said, â??If your student athletes are asking you for money to buy things and it seems to be quite a decent amount of money that could be a sign that they are spending it on these forms of things. They are not cheap and you have to take them all of the time.â??
Some of the side effects of performance enhancing drug use include increased acne, mood swings and liver problems.
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids estimates that more than 1.5 million American teenagers have tried steroids.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.