facts. After the Associated Press reported in August 1998 that Mark McGwire was using androstenedione, a steroid precursor that was legal at the time, sales of that supplement increased by over 1,000%.49 McGwire may not have wanted to be a role model, but he was. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, by 2001, 8% of male high school seniors had used andro within the prior year.50
Some estimates appear to show a recent decline in steroid use by high school students; they range from 3 to 6 percent.51 But even the lower figure means that hundreds of thousands of high school-aged young people are still illegally using steroids. It's important to devote attention to the Major League Baseball players who illegally used performance enhancing substances. It's at least as important, perhaps even more so, to be concerned about the reality that hundreds of thousands of our children are using them. Every American, not just baseball fans, ought to be shocked into action by that disturbing truth. The recent decline is welcome, but we cannot be complacent.
Don Hooton, whose son committed suicide after abusing anabolic steroids,
created the Taylor Hooton Foundation for Fighting Steroid Abuse. In 2005 congressional
testimony, Mr. Hooton said:
I believe the poor example being set by professional athletes is a major catalyst fueling the high usage of steroids amongst our kids. Our kids look up to these guys. They want to do the things the pros do to be successful.
49 Anita Manning, Kids: Steroids Don't Mix, USA Today, July 9, 2002, at C1.
50 National Institute on Drug Abuse, Monitoring the Future: Nat'l Survey Results on Drug Use, 1975-2006, Vol. 1, at 23 (2006).
51 Id., at 44 (2006); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Youth Risk Behavior Survey: 1991-2003: Trends in the Prevalence of Marijuana, Cocaine and Other Ill Drug Use (2004).