The group found that 11% of the 3,705 teenagers in grades 9-12 reported “ever having used” synthetic hGH without a prescription — a dramatic increase from 5% reported in 2012.
The study also found a correlation between increased use of hGH and steroids. The teens’ reported lifetime use of steroids grew from 5% in 2009 to 7% in 2013.
African-American and Hispanic boys were most likely to report using hGH and steroids. Teens were also more aware of online marketing of steroids and hGH, but less likely to think there was a high or moderate risk.
Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, said that the data points to a trend in which young people seek out dietary supplements purporting to contain hGH or steroids, hoping to improve athletic ability or physical appearance.
He called for tighter regulation and more accurate labeling on “fitness-enhancing” over-the-counter supplements. He also warned:
“While it’s doubtful that all of the teens who reported having used synthetic hGH actually obtained prescribed synthetic human growth hormone, the proliferation of commercially available products that are marketed saying they contain synthetic hGH, or promote the natural production of hGH within the body, is staggering.”
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