Campaign Designed to Educate Parents, Coaches and Students on Dangers of Anabolic Steroids and Performance Enhancing Supplements
TOWSON, Md. - On Monday at Towson High School, St. Joseph Medical Center President John K. Tolmie, State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick and Congressman Elijah E. Cummings announced the launch of Powered By ME!, an awareness campaign about anabolic steroids and performance enhancing supplements. The campaign goal is to educate Maryland middle and high school students, parents, coaches and teachers about the side effects, dangers and alternatives to anabolic steroids and supplements.
Orthopaedic Associates, Towson Sports Medicine, Sheppard Pratt Health System, The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt, and St. Agnes HealthCare have joined the effort. Also, a blue ribbon panel of volunteer experts who represent coaches, teachers, parents, athletes and medical professionals has been established to support the public service campaign. Although the blue ribbon panelists are confident in identifying the problem, the solutions for improvement are not easy or clear. The campaign and panel plan to initiate surveys, conduct research, and encourage dialogue among parents, coaches, medical professionals and educators as they explore this public health program together.
The Powered By ME! campaign will educate Maryland's communities with -
* An educational Web site www.PoweredByMeMD.com
* A telephone referral line for questions (410) 337-1337
* Production and placement of television public service announcements
* Placement of advertising
* Brochures and other collateral material
* Speakers bureaus and conference presentations
* Initiate surveys, conduct research, and encourage dialogue among stakeholders
According to Drs. Carla Laos and Jordan D. Metzel, who authored "Performance-Enhancing Drug Use in Young Athletes," an increasing number of adolescents in high school and middle school are taking anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing supplements. A 2003 study by the Centers for Disease Control concluded that nearly one million high school students have at least tried steroids, triple the rate from 1993. A 2004 study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimated that nearly one half million eighth and tenth graders were using anabolic steroids. The Office of National Drug Control Policy conducted a survey in 2005 and reported that thirty percent of students in eighth through twelfth grades say that steroids were "fairly easy" or "very easy" to obtain.
Twenty-five percent of steroid users started taking them during their teenage years. Currently the supplement industry is estimated to generate $18 billion a year. In the 1990s the industry only brought in about $1.2 to $3 billion.
"It's clear from the number of middle and high school students taking anabolic steroids that this is a growing problem," said president of St. Joseph Medical Center, John K. Tolmie. "Our hope is that this campaign will shed light on the facts about anabolic steroid use. Parents need to know how children get them, why they take them, the dangerous side effects, and learn about realistic alternatives. Students need to understand that they are putting themselves at risk if they choose to take anabolic steroids."
"Some professional athletes have set a very bad example for our country's youth. It is so important that we educate our children and make sure they understand that anabolic steroid use for the sole purpose of winning the game is cheating, is dangerous and is wrong," said Congressman Elijah E. Cummings. "Powered By ME! will provide valuable information and an avenue for help and support."
"Powered by ME! will offer vital information to our students, parents, coaches and teachers across the state so that they can make better decisions regarding anabolic steroid and supplement use and abuse," said Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools.
"Across the country, students today experience high demands to perform in academics, sports, and in all aspects of their lives," said Dr. Joe A. Hairston, Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools. "I am pleased to be a part of the blue ribbon panel that examines the ways we can educate and inform our children and parents, so we may encourage students to perform to their highest potential and to avoid the danger of enhancing drugs and supplements."
St. Joseph Medical Center is a 374-bed nonprofit, regional medical center in Towson, Md., and a member of Catholic Health Initiatives. Founded in 1864 by the Sisters of St. Francis, today St. Joseph Medical Center's specialty centers include its Heart Institute, Orthopaedic Institute, Cancer Institute, Department of Surgery, and Obstetrics Unit. For more information about St. Joseph Medical Center, visit www.sjmcmd.org.