Performance enhancing substances are not limited to just anabolic androgenic steroids. Other performance enhancing substances include, but are not limited to, Stimulants such as Amphetamines and Ephedrine, Human Growth Hormone (“HGH”) and testosterone among others. So what’s the risk with taking performance enhancing substances? There are many. First and foremost, there are dangerous short and long-term side effects. Whether a performance enhancing substance is purchased over-the-counter or illegally is irrelevant; their toll on the body could be deadly. Other consequences of using performance enhancing substances include sanctions from sports governing bodies, loss of past awards and titles, being banned from participating in your sport, and facing public shame and humiliation from being labeled a cheater.

Performance enhancing substances are especially dangerous for teens because their bodies are still developing. Teens who choose to use performance enhancing substances might see changes in their physical appearance, but they may also experience severe physical side effects like stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, muscle cramps, and mood swings. Use of many performance enhancing substances can also lead to serious kidney, liver, and heart problems.

When considering whether or not to use a performance enhancing substance, it is important to remember the value in healthy competition. Winning isn’t everything, especially when you are risking your health and reputation to get ahead. Even if you’re using a legal performance enhancing substance, you are still putting your health and body at risk. Parents should know the facts about performance enhancing substances so that they can have an educated conversation with their teen about the dangers and consequences of using these substances.

If you would like to learn about other drugs of abuse please visit the Drug Guide at the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids website.