Empirical investigation of steroid use in young individuals is sparse and most of the research that exists deals with steroid use in athletes. However, some research indicates that steroid use in the general population may be greater than expected. In a comprehensive review of the literature involving the use of androgenic-anabolic steroids in young men, Wroblewska indicated that 4% to 11% of males in the United States have tried anabolic steroids with the majority experimenting for the first time while in college (Wroblewska, 229). Other studies such as the JAMA study found that 6% of high school students have reported using steroids (Buckley et al., 3442). Similarly a study in 1992 conducted by Komoroski & Richert surveyed 672 male high school juniors and found that 7.6% admitted steroid use (Yesalis, 71). Yet another study conducted by Neumark-Sztainer et al. surveyed seventh, ninth, and eleventh-grade high school students and found that 2.3% of boys used steroids (Neumark-Sztainer et al., 44). These percentages may seem small, yet they are significant given the effects of steroid use on the human body. Even more disturbing than the number of admitted users was the overall attitude of students surveyed in these studies. Steroid use was generally not perceived as being problematic and most students were poorly informed about adverse physical, psychological, and behavioral consequences of steroid use.
Most medical research has documented negative health risks associated with anabolic steroid use. The negative side effects of anabolic steroid use are not always easily seen though some effects can be terminal. Whereas the medical community emphasizes the negative aspects, athlete and non-athlete anabolic steroid users do not readily see the negative effects in the way they are led to believe. Numerous studies demonstrated a number of negative effects that can occur from steroids use among which are psychosocial alterations, sleep disturbance, and acne. As Koziris points out women utilizing steroids have shown masculinization, clitoromegaly, and hirsutism whereas adolescents have shown premature physical growth and precocious puberty (Koziris, 67). In addition, some extreme cases of prolonged anabolic steroid use in women was documented by Franke and Berendonk. Top secret documents indicating that the Ministry for State Security of the German Democratic Republic had issued anabolic-androgenic steroids to women athletes aged 14 years and younger for years (Franke and Berendonk, 1265). The androgenic effects of the drugs caused such physiological problems physically, cosmetically and emotionally, some women actually assumed the roles of men. Many athletes had to undergo cosmetic surgery to regain their feminine qualities. Other effects associated with anabolic-androgenic steroid use include high cholesterol imbalance, blood filled liver cysts, liver tumors, hepatitis, myocardiac hypertrophy, cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, thrombosis and embolisms and sudden death (Parssinen & Seppala, 87).
It is important to understand that not everyone will necessarily experience the same negative effects from steroid use based on reasons such as gender, overall health, genetic makeup and lifestyle such as diet, exercise regime,