Performance Enhancing Drugs: Doping Among High School Athletes

Performance Enhancing Drugs: Doping Among High School Athletes

A lot of people assume that professional athletes are the only ones who are affected by doping. I am sorry to break your hearts, but high school athletes also use performance-enhancing drugs. High school athletes are often under immense pressure to perform. This can sprout due to pressure from coaches, parents, and teammates to succeed.  Social media can also play a major role in doping among young athletes. About 20% of high schools in the U.S. have student drug testing policies, but students aren’t typically tested for performance-enhancing drugs. A customary drug panel tests for marijuana, opioids, cocaine, PCP, and amphetamines.

The pressure around the teenagers grows stronger when they are serious about their athletic career past high school. Players nowadays are huge and massive compared to players back in the day. Players lifted weights back then but they never had as much muscles as players have today. The number of students who are currently doping or have doped has risen within the past few years. According to research, 11 % of teens in 2013 were using performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids to improve their athletic performance.

What Do Steroids Do?

For decades young athletes have seen their peers and professionals increase their speed and strength due to steroids. Steroids are hormones used for body-building purposes. Steroids build strength by entering a muscle cell and switching on the genes that produce muscle proteins. Exercise plus steroids can produce quick gains for the athlete. They improve endurance and speed which are both good qualities students who are looking for a college scholarship for sports.

How can Steroids Harm Your Body? 

Sometimes the side effects of steroids on your body can be long-lasting and irreversible. Stroke, blood clots, increased cholesterol, problems with the musculoskeletal system, urinary, and bowel problems are some of the side effects linked with steroid usage. Steroids are a hormone, which can cause a hyper-masculinity in young men. Shrinking of testicles and pattern baldness can also occur. Increased production of testosterone can cause feminizing effects on men, e.g. development of breasts.

Not only do steroids disrupt the body, but they can have effects on the mind. They can lead to aggression and irritability which can at times lead to criminal acts such as, fighting, burglary, etc. Steroids can also lead to high blood pressure, liver damage, a deeper voice in women, and mood swings.

Why Do High School Athletes Dope

There are a number of reasons why teen athletes use performance-enhancing drugs. These drugs are used to ease stress, increase muscle mass, reduce weight or dull pain. The use of these drugs is a growing concern among teen athletes, due to the influence of professional role models, the pressure to perform, and maybe the lack of knowledge about the dangers of these substances.

College Athletic Scholarship

Colleges offer admission and scholarship to talented and inventive high school athletes, but the competition is intense. The athletic performance of a student in high school can have a huge impact on getting into their dream school as well as the rest of their lives.

Francis is a high school track runner who has a lot of potential, and his coach has been telling him that if he keeps training and improving he could be Olympics material. Getting onto a renowned university track team is key for him to get to the Olympics. If Francis is to be accepted to the school of his choice, he must impress the recruiters. His current distance time is low for his desired school, but if he isn’t accepted, he could lose out on the chance to compete at the Olympics level.

These tense and desperate scenarios push Francis and other teens to seek out performance improvement through drugs. Being at the Olympics with thousands of cameras flashing from the stands is a dream come true for many athletes. However, the problem is that there are other hundreds of students across the country that want the same thing. Their performance now reflects where they will end up in future. The drive to outshine other students with similar ambitions forces them to take shortcuts.

Body Image and Influence of Professional Athletes

Use of hormone growth and steroids improves muscular appearance in users. Teenagers with body image issues are more prone to steroid usage. Social beliefs leave teenagers desiring to look well-knit for confidence, sports, and dates. Steroids are a shortcut to getting the husky appearance they want. Workout routine plus the use of steroids effectively boost the athlete’s body mass in an unhealthy way.

The amount of money the professional athletes earn and the status they gain may push students to use steroids. Steroids usage at a professional level is a big deal, and studies show that 8% of famous athletes may be using steroids. These famous athletes are their idols, heroes, and role models. If these pros they look up to are using performance-enhancing drugs to get ahead, why shouldn’t the teens do it too?

Consequences of Doping Among High School Athletes

There have been several cases of teenagers being stripped Olympic medals after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. You can lose playing privileges, causing you to miss out on crucial prime athletic years of your life that you can never regain. Regardless whether it’s Olympics or high school, the trauma of losing playing privileges can be crushing.

Getting kicked off a high school sports team due to drug-related offenses can impact negatively on your chances of getting a college athletic scholarship. A lot of friendships and brotherhoods are forged in huddles and locker rooms, so the loss of sports can lead to loss of identity. Sports keep teens engaged, and taking it away from them may lead to criminal activities, alcoholism, and drug abuse.


As a coach, parent, or guardian, if you suspect a teenager is using steroids, begin by talking to them. Your understanding and patience are important to their health, education, and future. You can seek the help of a guidance counselor if you can’t get through to the child. Do not stress yourself, there are a number of excellent options for treating teen steroid addiction and use. A drug rehab counselor will be able to help you choose a suitable treatment plan. No matter how hard the situation, remember there is always hope for a drug problem.

KHO Health was acquired by was acquire by 9INE POINT in the summer of 2019 and is now referred to as 9INE POINT Health.

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