TN Valley not immune to trend in performance-enhancing drugs

Published: Jul. 30, 2014 at 10:23 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 27, 2014 at 10:25 PM CDT
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Use of human growth hormones in teens has doubled in the last year. (Source: WAFF)
Use of human growth hormones in teens has doubled in the last year. (Source: WAFF)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Studies show a dangerous new trend is on the rise. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) use in teens more than doubled in just a year. That's according to a Survey of nearly 4,000 high-schoolers from around the country. The Tennessee Valley is certainly not immune to this dangerous trend.

Some call the drug a quick fix or an easy way out.

"It's a cheat," said one high school student.

And with a simple Google search or by simply asking a classmate, HGH and steroids can be in your child's hands.

"Teens have the attitude, I can do it, it's safe," said Executive Director of the Huntsville Partnership for a Drug-Free Community. "There is no stigma attached to it. And they really think it can't hurt them. They just have no idea what these drugs can do to their body"

What they do know, is that it might make you bigger, stronger, faster and even taller.

"You get some results, but it's no different than stealing money or cheating on a test or whatever," said Bob Jones High School Football Coach Kevin Rose. "You're not doing it the right way."

Rose said teens using the drugs pay not only a physical and legal price, but a character price.

"You want to constantly reinforce being a student athlete," said Rose. "Having a great character, having great work ethic, doing it the right way and that this is not the end all be all"

Rose says he's not shocked by the recent study showing a rise in teen use. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids says 11 percent of high school students reported using HGH at least once. That's up from 5 percent the previous year.

"If you try to take additional hormones and push the system beyond what it is supposed to, you can get into some side effects," said Dr. Lawrence Robey with the Madison County Health Department.

Robey said those side effects can include things like reproductive problems, disfigurement and alterations in bone. Not to mention, he said in many cases, you don't get what you pay for.

"And for the most part, you will not become the super-person you think you are going to be," said Robey.

And although men are the more frequent users of HGH and other performance enhancing drugs, nine percent of teen girls surveyed reported trying it.

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