PHOENIX — A new study released by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids showed a major rise in American teenagers using human growth hormones, also referred to as performance-enhancing drugs.
The survey shows that 11 percent of teens in grades 9-12 reported having used synthetic human growth hormone without a prescription, up from just five percent in 2012. There were no state-specific numbers released, but Leslie Bloom with DrugFreeAZKids.org said the study uncovered a disturbing trend.
“Teens are really interested in performance-enhancing substances, so it’s a wake-up call for parents in Arizona to really be vigilant about any type of drugs that their children could be using.”
Bloom said just 1.7 percent of Arizona teens grades 8-12 use steroids.
She added the message of the dangers of using steroids is getting to teens, but they appear to be ignoring that same message when it comes to using other illegal substances.
“Just for drugs in general, the average age of first time drug use in Arizona is 13 years old. And today we know that 90 percent of drug addictions start in the teen years.”
If you’re unsure if your teen is using PEDs, Bloom gave a few warning signs.
“I think the obvious sign is physique, a change in how your child looks. HGH mimics the muscle-building effects of steroids, so if you notice a change, consult a physician right away.”
Negative effects of using HGH include muscle and joint pains, swelling, high cholesterol, increased risk of diabetes and growth of tumors.