Rumors and accusations of anabolicsteroid abuse amongOlympic and professional athletesseem to be a never-ending phenomenonin our world. The most recentmedia focus has been on professionalbaseball and some of its home run hitters,as grand juries investigate drugusage, perjury, and other conspiraciesrelated to performance-enhancing substances.
As all of you know, anabolic steroidshave legitimate use in humans, and veterinarianshave long used the drugs totreat horses. This has sometimes madehorse-racing tracks a viable source ofsteroids for illegal human consumption.One case several years ago involved aman in his sixties who traveled aroundthe Midwest horse tracks obtaining andselling anabolic steroids and other drugsto eager consumers.
A clerk at a local retail office storeassisted a young man in sending a facsimileto Greece and noticed it was anorder for anabolic steroids. Her informationseveral years ago helped us in shuttingdown a fairly large distribution ofanabolic steroids that involved the ownersof a gym and a law enforcement officer.Virtually all of the individuals whocame to pick up their drugs were armedwith handguns—not a good thing in anyevent for them to be carrying a gun,especially considering the uncontrollablerage steroid usage can produce.
Most people do not realize that thesedrugs have been a part of cattle showsand are used to provide muscle mass onsteers to enhance them in front of thejudges—thanks to the almighty dollar.Major beef shows in the UnitedStates can yield big paydays forthose with the winning steerentries, and this is why testing wasimplemented many years ago forcattle making it to the top spots inthe competition. Ohio passed a lawmaking it a felony to administerthese drugs to bovine.
As sports become even moreimportant to thousands of Americanfamilies, should it surprise usthat steroids and other enhancingdrugs would be used by our youth?I read an article, which cited themost recent Monitoring the Futuresurvey, which indicated that 1.3% ofeighth graders, 2.3% of 10thgraders, and 3.3% of 12th gradershad used steroids in the past year.
These are incredible numbers, in myopinion, and make me realize that moreeducation and more law enforcementattention need to be focused on thisproblem. News accounts will sometimesreveal that coaches and parents are theabetting culprits in locating and encouraginganabolic steroid usage. This usagenot only can ultimately seriously damagegrowing bodies, but can makeyouths more susceptible to future drugabuse problems, as their mentors cheerthem on to short-term victories on theplaying field.
I certainly do not condone the illegaluse of drugs for anyone, but adults makedecisions that they have to live or diewith—the use of anabolic steroids beingonly one of them. When adults encourageand even provide steroids toteenagers, however, in hopes that theirchildren will obtain athletic victories thatthey never experienced, or scholarshipsto dad's alma mater, or the false hope ofmaking millions as a professional athlete,it is one of the lowest of deeds.
Nipping it in the bud is essential, witheducation at the top of the list for coaches,children, parents, and certain alumni.At the same time, more focused lawenforcement, with stiff criminal penalties,should be brought against thosewho are ultimately caught in distributingthese steroids to our nation's children.
As long as sports stars are consideredheroes by a large segment of our population,and winning is everything, thesekinds of drugs will be a threat to our highschool and college athletes.
When there is suspicion or actualevidence, parents, coaches, or athletesneed to step up and report it to lawenforcement. Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth,and many other professional athletesmade their accomplishments steroid-free—let's send that important messageto our youth.
John Burke, commander ofthe Warren County, Ohio,drug task force and retiredcommander of the CincinnatiPolice PharmaceuticalDiversion Squad, isa 38-year veteran of lawenforcement. Cmdr Burkealso is the current presidentof the National Association of Drug DiversionInvestigators. For information, he can bereached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, viathe Web site www.rxdiversion.com, or byphone at 513-336-0070.