Report: Doping Not Limited to Pro Athletes

Staff Writer
WHO calls doping a "public health issue" at recent conference

Think doping is just for Lance Armstrong dirty Tour de France riders, Olympians and baseball players? Think again.

According to reports from a recent international anti-doping conference, World Health Organization (WHO) officials now believe that as much as three percent of high school boys in the U.S. are taking a steroid or growth hormone. And according to Dr. Timothy Armstrong of WHO, with those numbers, doping goes beyond sports problem—“that’s a public health issue.”

"Elite sport plays an obvious role. They are the role models of youngsters and if they are drug takers, that is not the right role model for the coming society,” added Arne Ljungqvist, the Sweedish anti-doping official who is also chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) medical commission and figurehead of the Arne Ljungqvist foundation, which organized the conference.

But doping isn’t just popping up in high schools—weekend warriors may be using drugs to try to gain an edge, as well.

"What we have learned in the last 10 years is that there is a trickle-down effect into recreational sports and into the high schools," Ljungqvist said.

This trickle-down effect has not gone unnoticed by media. Runner’s World notes that it’s heard a growing number of anecdotes about non-pros doping up, and according to Outside, a growing number of cycling races are testing amateurs. Maybe rightfully so, as the New York Times reported earlier this summer that at least eight non-pro cyclists had tested positive for EPO since 2011, including writer and rider Andrew Tilin who acted as his own lab rat, using performance enhancing drugs to write about his experiences.