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Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
Steroids a click away
    #3910848 - 03/13/05 11:45 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Steroids a click away
March 12, 2005

More than 4,000 transactions take place on Internet daily

They are as easy to buy as point and click and as lethal to the body as aim and fire. They are steroids, the illegal drug of choice for more than 1million teens in America and growing.

Every day, more than 4,000 steroid transactions take place on the Internet, the leader in black-market supplies.

Sales of Deca-Durabolin, Durabolin and other anabolic drugs on the Web amounted to $400 million last year, with nearly 3 percent of that consumer force made up of high school and junior high school girls and boys.

"It's extremely easy to buy the drugs on the Internet,' said Dr. Linn Goldberg, a leading researcher of steroid use among adolescents. "What you don't know is what you will get when you buy them. A lot of those sites are a scam.'

Goldberg, who created the Athletes Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids program in 1987 at the Oregon Health Sciences University, seemed chagrined at what appears to be a hypocritical attitude toward these drugs among Madison Avenue types.

"We wonder why it's a problem among kids?' he asked. "All you have to do is look at the advertising out there and see how the word steroid is used. The 'Saab vs. steroids' poster is one example.'

In that poster, a muscular statue looms above the Swedish sedan, with the type below reading: "Anabolic steroids build muscle mass. More mass increases strength. In car terms, this means a bigger engine. More horsepower.'

"Kids see this stuff,' Goldberg said. "You don't see anyone using cocaine or LSD in advertising to sell a product.'

In the latest study (1999) conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2.8percent of eighth- and 12th-graders reported taking anabolic steroids, an increase of nearly 1percent from 1991, when 1.9 percent of eighth- and 12th-graders reported taking those drugs.

The rise in juvenile abusers may finally have forced Congress to act.

The House Committee on Government Reform subpoenaed 11 members of Major League Baseball on Wednesday to explain steroid abuse in the sport.

The group, which includes Jose Canseco, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Frank Thomas, is scheduled to testify Thursday, along with the parents of 17-year-old Taylor Hooton and 24-year-old Rob Garibaldi.

Both committed suicide induced by steroid depression. Taylor's life came at the end of a rope, Garibaldi's at the barrel of a gun.

"We are concerned about the message being sent to kids,' said Drew Crockett, a spokesman for the committee. "The amount of kids who have tried steroids is triple that of a decade ago.'

A large reason has to do with online access.

A trip into the Blue Nowhere a hackers' term for the Internet is a revealing adventure into the illicit business of steroid sales.

There are chat rooms on msn.com, where users such as topspeed, anabolicslover, roadrash1975 and others discuss the merits of using and share information on pricing.

Topspeed also is a distributor. His wares vary from $35 for 10 milliliters of prop 100 (a testosterone derivative) to $550 for a package of HGH (human growth hormone). Topspeed guarantees instant delivery and anonymity.

A couple of clicks down the search engine, there is littleguygotbig.com, which posts an active list of bogus Web sites, known in the parlance as scammers, with a warning to readers not to buy steroids from the more than 200 sites listed on it.

Flip a page and welcome to the magic kingdom of suppliers Advanced Health Consultants, which offers "prescription service for bodybuilders and athletes.'

It then teaches you how to get a prescription online so you can use the drugs legally.

"A person easily can get a prescription without a doctor's approval,' Crockett said, noting this is one area the committee will be investigating when it convenes. "It's one reason we need to educate the American public and start moving kids away from steroids.'

The best method is a proactive approach, Goldberg said.

His programs educate adolescent boys and girls on the problems of steroid use before they can start.

They cost $4 per child. The boys' program is 10 weeks long and the girls' is eight weeks.

"There is a difference between boys and girls as to why they take steroids,' Goldberg said. "For boys, it's about risk-taking, impulse behavior and a desire to get bigger. For girls, it's about losing weight, since steroids lead to eating disorders and depression.'

The programs stress proper training, exercise and dieting, and Goldberg says they have helped reduce new steroid use among adolescents by 50 percent.

"We could probably do more if we had the funding,' Goldberg said. "Two years ago, we were promised a $95 million grant from Congress. You know how much we have seen so far? Zero.'

Meanwhile, the Internet business of buying and selling illegal steroids continues at the rapid rate of a mouse click.

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