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Performance-Enhancement Drugs Popular Among Teens

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(credit: CBS) Angela Davis
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Major League Baseball has suspended Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez through the 2014 season. The expected announcement came after he was linked to a biomedical company suspected of providing performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to players.

Use of PEDs is not just a problem with professional athletes. According to Dr. Anne Moore of Tria Orthopaedic Center in Bloomington, more and more teenagers are now experimenting with them because of easy access.

“If you want to find it you can find it, is how things operate,” Dr. Moore said.

Dr. Moore, who specializes in sports medicine, says there is a trickle-down effect of professional athletes using performance-enhancing drugs.

“There was a study a few years ago that looked at…the general population. It found 15 percent of adults admitted using some kind of performance-enhancing medication. But even kids in adolescent stage – mostly adolescents – 11 percent of the boys and 3 percent of the girls admit to using something,” she said.

PEDs are popular because they can make you bigger, stronger and faster.

“If we’re talking mostly just from a steroids standpoint, it does increase muscle mass and it can help with strength, increase strength. It’s more like short bursts of energy, so running the bases – it can help with that,” she said.

Just as there are benefits, there are risks. Many are not approved by the FDA, and are purchased on the black market.

“You never know what’s really inside, in terms of components. Are they tainted? There certainly have been reports of people that have been using steroids and other kinds of injectable medications and things like that that have been tainted with other chemicals,” Dr. Moore said.

PEDs can come in the form of pills, injections, patches, creams or even sprays.

And there is no excuse for professional athletes to not know which substances they are prohibited from using – it’s spelled out for them on the World Anti-Doping Agency website in five different languages.

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