The United States was up in arms against anabolic steroid use, when the studies of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control revealed shocking facts about anabolic steroid abuse.
According to the NIDA-funded 2002 survey, 2.5% of 8th graders, 3.5% of 10th graders, and 4% of 12th graders admitted engaged in anabolic steroid use. The Centers for Disease Control’s 2003 survey revealed that 6.1% of students were using anabolic steroid pills or jabs without a prescription, and the anabolic steroid substances are easily available for the teen students at gyms, sports-training centers, and on the Internet.
The survey and studies divulged that the kids as young as 9 years old were using anabolic steroid pills, creams, or shots. Young people were also using anabolic steroid drugs meant for veterinary purposes, as these anabolic steroids are usually cheaper and easier to obtain than anabolic steroid substances designed for people. Young anabolic steroid abusers were opening themselves out to the dangerous side effects, serious consequences, and deadly diseases, such as cancer and AIDS. The studies disclosed that 20 % of anabolic steroid users share needles.
All this led the U.S. authorities to come into action against anabolic steroid abuse. The Anabolic Steroid Control Act was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by the President in 2004. The Act stated that grants to public and nonprofit private organizations will be available to combat anabolic steroid use in the United States. According to the Bill, $15 million per year from 2005 to 2010 will be spent on anabolic steroid prevention with preference given to applicants to carry out programs based on ATLAS and ATHENA. ATLAS and ATHENA were the anabolic steroid prevention programs by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health.
The ATLAS – Athletes Training & Learning to Avoid Steroids – program was designed to prevent the anabolic steroid abuse among high school athletes, and to educate young male athletes about strength training, nutrition, and risk factors of anabolic steroid use. The ATLAS was designed at the Oregon Health & Science University by a team of researchers led by Dr. Linn Goldberg. Comprised of coaching and interactive classes on anabolic steroid abuse, ATLAS was very successful in reducing athletic supplement use, alcohol and illicit drug use, athlete anabolic steroid use, and improving the nutrition habits of young male athletes.
The ATHENA – Athletes Targeting Healthy Exercise & Nutrition Alternatives – was the anabolic steroid prevention program designed for adolescent females. The ATHENA aimed educated middle and high school adolescent girls against anabolic steroid use, body shaping drug use and disordered eating practices. According to the results published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, November, 2004, ATHENA helped girl student athletes to reduced use of diet pills and other substances, such as amphetamines, anabolic steroids, and muscle-building supplements.