WESLACO – NEWSCHANNEL 5 investigates the use of steroids among Valley high school students, and how easy it is to obtain the illegal drugs.
WESLACO – A NEWSCHANNEL 5 investigation found steroid use in high schools in wide-spread. In the Valley, the drug is also easy to come by.
Pharmacists in Neuvo Progreso, Mex., admitted having American clients, often young, who visit monthly for steroid injections.
A pharmacist said Americans already know which drug they want. The anabolic steroid Deca Durabolin is illegal without a prescription, but its offered without one in Mexico for $31.
American pharmacists say the drug in dangerous, causing heart attacks and even cancer. They say it should only be used in rare medical cases.
Another pharmacist in Mexico said young athletes even come looking animal steroids, available no-questions-asked at a veterinary clinic. If used by humans, doctors say they can cause infections and blood poisoning.
A former steroid user said he took the performance-enhancing drugs for one reason:
“They do work…Actually they work too well. They’re fast, within an 8 week cycle I managed to put on 22…23 pounds of muscle,” said “Charlie,” who asked not to be identified.
Charlie said he started using steroids after high school, but knows plenty of kids still in school who are “juicing up.”
“I see it everyday,” Charlie said, “I see kids doing it…talking about it. Doing way more than they should ending one bottle and starting another.”
Charlie went on to describe how much the drug changed him.
“Short temper. I would lose my temper at anything…traffic was the worst. Acne…all over the shoulders and the back of the arm,” Charlie said.
A number of administrators did not think steroid use was a problem at their school.
“At this time we don’t consider it a major problem,” said Brownsville ISD’s athletic director Joe Rodriguez.
“We do not consider it to be a major problem. That voice is echoed throughout all of the A-D’s. They don’t consider it a major problem down here,” Rodriguez said.
But just three hours away, in Laredo, administrators are already testing athletes for steroid use.
“In a perfect world you would hope that kids would shy away from it,” said athletic director Frank Carter. “The ones that are dedicated to being involved in athletics and extra curricular activities. The reality is there are probably going to be kids that test positive.”
Less than 10 percent of school districts in Texas test students for steroids. Some lawmakers want to change that. A current movement in Austin hopes to pass legislation to require every athlete at every school.
But steroid testing is expensive. One test for one athlete costs about $200.
“The risks far out weigh any benefits of the use of steroids,” said sports medicine doctor Kip Owens.
“The side effects from steroids are troublesome for males,” Owens continued, “that can be atrophy of their testicles, baldness, or even growth of breasts.”
Steroid abuse can also cause depression, high blood pressure, stunted growth, and cancer of the liver, prostate and kidneys, Owens said.
How can you tell if you child is using steroids?
-Swelling of the feet or ankles