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Dangers of Steroids


Drug testing of athletes is a multi-million dollar business. Testing is performed by taking a urine sample from the athlete and can be extremely accurate if performed by a qualified lab. However, labs do not test for every steroid taken - a new steroid may come out before labs begin testing for it.

Some athletes try to beat the tests by taking diuretics (water pills) or a drug called probenicid, which decreases urine output. Both of these drugs can be detected and are banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the NCAA.

Some athletes have access to labs. They take steroids and then test themselves to see how quickly the drugs leave their bodies. In this way they can determine when to stop taking a drug in order to test negative.

How long steroids remain in a person's system is quite variable. It depends on the method of use, the length of time taken, the size of the dose and the individual's clearing ability. Generally, injectable steroids may remain detectable for 3 to 4 months while the oral types may remain for only 1 to 4 weeks.

Ignoring the risks

Most users simply believe, naively, that they will not suffer any adverse side effects. In a survey of nearly 200 world class athletes, a slight majority said they would take a magic drug that would guarantee victory in any competition, even if they knew it would kill them in five years. Nearly all said they would be willing to take a banned substance if they were guaranteed to win and not get caught.

Others take steroids to improve their self-esteem. Males may use steroids because, like anorexic women who think of themselves as fat even when they are thin, they see themselves as little and weak even if they are very muscular.

Alternatives to steroids

The alternatives to steroid use are proper nutrition, weight and aerobic training and sports injury care. Athletes need to know that they can achieve tremendous results with these methods. Most athletes have.

If you suspect your child is using, or considering using steroids, you need to explain to him that, not only is steroid use illegal, but it is very, very dangerous. Hopefully, he will conclude that it simply isn't worth it.