Study Addresses Increasing Use Of HGH By Student Athletes

As the pressure grows for student athletes to be stronger and faster, so does the pressure to experiment with performance enhancing drugs.

A new study released Wednesday shows more young people are looking to drugs to boost their athletic performance.

The confidential study by the "Partnership for Drug-Free Kids," surveyed over 3,700 high school students and found the number of students who reported using the synthetic drug HGH, or human growth hormones, doubled from the year before, and stands at 11-percent.

We talked with young adults and coaches in Eastern Carolina for their take on the issue.

At the Next Level Training Center in Greenville, young athletes are making the gains the old fashioned way, through hard work.

Julia Allsbrook is a recent high school graduate and says, "To get to the next level and take the next step we can do it on our own and we're not going to need a drug, or enhancer."

Trent Britt, owner of Next Level Training Center, says, "There's increasing pressure, not just in youth athletics, but in the public in general that if you can get an edge in any way without having to work hard they're going to try to jump on it. There's no substitute for sweat and there's no substitution for hard work and anything you may take to try to circumvent that is simply not going to work."

The coaches we talked with say they're more worried about their student athletes not getting enough water or protein, than experimenting with performance enhancing drugs.

Britt says, "We're trying to teach people to get enough greens in their diet, drink enough water. When they're done training, they need to get lean protein in themselves. It's just not something we've seen on the high school level here in Greenville.

The side effects for HGH in young athletes include stunted growth, increased acne, liver problems, shrunken testicles, and excess facial hair for girls.

The study has surveyed students in grades nine through 12, nationwide for 25 years.