Doping among adolescent athletes

Baillieres Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Mar;14(1):25-35. doi: 10.1053/beem.2000.0051.


The use of drugs to enhance physical performance and appearance has been observed for thousands of years. Today individuals, including adolescents, continue to employ a wide variety of drugs in the hope of improving their athletic performance and looking better. Unfortunately, beyond the assessment of anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) use, very little is known regarding the use, safety and efficacy of other performance-enhancing drugs and nutritional supplements among adolescents. Most studies report that 3-12% of adolescent males admit to using an AAS at some time during their life. Among adolescent females, studies find that 1-2% report having used steroids. The current strategy for dealing with performance-enhancing drug use by adolescents is multi-faceted and primarily involves education and prevention strategies, interdiction and drug testing programmes. However, the demand for performance-enhancing drugs has been created by our societal fixation on winning and physical appearance. In order to alter the current use of performance-enhancing drugs by adolescents, we as a society must come to grips with our addiction to sport and the importance we place on winning and appearance. We must change our values.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anabolic Agents
  • Doping in Sports* / prevention & control
  • Ethics
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance
  • Sports*
  • Substance Abuse Detection


  • Anabolic Agents