Young Men and Steroids

The National School Survey on Drugs and Sport (1993) estimates that as many as 83,000 young Canadians between the ages of 11 and 18 have used steroids. The survey also shows that users are more likely to…

  • Be male, 14 years or older;
  • Be involved in regular physical activity, a fitness club or weight training program;
  • Believe that steroids will help them look better;
  • Believe it’s okay to try steroids at least once;
  • Know someone who is using anabolic steroids;
  • Have had someone suggest they try using steroids.

Steroid User Comments:

On the body:

  • "I want to look good under a shirt."
  • "I want to turn heads on the beach."

On the influences:

  • "Videos used to focus on the half-naked women dancing in the background. Now they focus on the half-naked rappers and their bodies."

On the risks:

  • "Do it now and die young."
  • "I figure I’ve got a 50/50 chance of something bad happening. That’s not bad compared to guaranteed results."
  • "It won’t happen to me."

Why are so many young men turning to steroids to change their bodies?

Male body image – the way a young man feels about his body and the way he thinks others see it – can have a powerful influence on young men. We know that the value our society places on a thin female body has contributed to anorexia and other dangerous eating disorders in young women. Now, a growing number of young men are facing enormous social pressures to achieve "the body beautiful".

Why do young men use steroids?

Some young men use steroids to increase their performance in sport. Others use steroids to change their appearance. In either case, it is a growing problem.

It isn’t just a case of a few "bad kids". There are tens of thousands of young men who feel pressured to have a well-built, muscular body, the "cut look" they see in music videos, ads, movies, and TV shows. For many young men, the pressures to build a well-developed body are powerful, personal motivations. They associate this type of body with fame, respect, and sex appeal. These young men see steroids as the solution. For them, the perceived benefits of "the look" far out-weigh any risks of using steroids.

It’s important to remember that…

  • Weight training, working out, and wanting to build a healthy, strong body are good things
  • Steroid users put themselves at risk in pursuit of their goal
  • For the most part, young men want this look because they want to feel better about themselves. They think bigger muscles will mean more respect from their peers and more admiration from others.

As responsible people – we play an important role in helping young men make healthy decisions.