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Anabolic steroids are male sex hormones, or androgens, that promote muscle growth. Your body produces them naturally, but they can also be produced synthetically in a laboratory. Both men and women produce these steroids. Men produce more steroids than women which tends to make men's muscles larger and stronger. Synthetic steroids are very similar to natural ones. Physicians can use anabolic steroids as a treatment for a variety of conditions. In very small and controlled doses, steroids can, among other things, encourage people with muscle-wasting conditions to gain weight, control certain breast cancers, treat blood disorders, heal severe burns and relieve bone pain for people who have osteoporosis. Not all steroids are made from hormones, nor are all hormones made of steroids. Physicians use another steroid called corticosteroid, also known as cortisone. This catabolic steroid helps reduce swellings in the body. Some people use anabolic steroids to build their muscles and increase their endurance and speed. Since the 1950s, some athletes have used anabolic steroids to enhance their performance in competitions. But using steroids like this can cause side effects that are very serious. Steroids can cause liver disorders, stunted growth in children and teenagers, personality changes, ulcerous acne and high cholesterol levels. Because steroids are made from synthetically-produced testosterone, which imitates human sex hormones, they can also cause wasting of the testicles, impotence and negative changes in sexuality. Sometimes, when steroids are used illegally, they are injected with needles. Sharing these needles can also pass on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV, that causes the deadly disease AIDS.


certain activities, they collect scientific data, evidence and opinions. Here's your chance to state your opinion and compare it to other opinions at school, in the community, or at home. Materials
  • Paper
  • Pencil
1. Use the statements below to collect the opinions of five friends or family members. 2. Read each statement aloud. Do you agree or disagree? Record your answers and your friends' answers next to the statements.
Sports Opinion Poll
1. All high schools should have drug information programs for their athletes. 2. Major league sports teams must take a firmer stand against anabolic steroid use by athletes. 3. Competitive sports in elementary school create performance pressure for young students that may later lead them to use anabolic steroids. 4. All junior and senior high school athletes should be tested regularly for anabolic steroid use. 5. Governments should encourage athletes to use anabolic steroids in Olympic competition so they have a better chance of winning medals. 6. A portion of the money made from sporting events should be used to treat athletes who have become dependent on anabolic steroids or other drugs. 7. Physicians and athletic trainers who provide anabolic steroids to athletes should lose their licenses to practice and have to pay large fines.


  • Brancazsio, Peter J. Sports Science: Physical Laws and Optimum Performance. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986.
  • Goldman, Bob, Death in the Locker Room: Steroids, Cocaine and Sports. Tuscon: The Body Press, 1987.
  • Meer, Jeff. Drugs & Sports. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.