steroids-schoolHigh school athletes’ rampant use of steroids – part 1

The statistics surprised many. It looks like high school athletes in Louisiana are not only scoring points on the board, but scoring on steroids as well.

This is the unexpected finding of the recent undercover operations conducted by the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Department. The seven-month sting operation targeted gyms in Opelousas, Eunice and Krotz Springs and yielded arrest of four suspected steroid distributors and identification of more than 100 users. Among the users were a couple of high school athletes around the area of St. Landry Parish.

“It really surprised me that we had that much of a problem in St. Landry Parish with illegal steroid use,” said parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz. “I’m really surprised that it’s that big. Now that we’re fully into the investigation, we’re certainly gathering some good intelligence and identifying more users.”

“We don’t know that number,” Guidroz said. “We are still in the identification process. (Steroid abuse among high school athletes) concerns me as a sheriff. If we do have a problem with high school athletes, we’re certainly going to bring it to a head.”

Because the investigation is still ongoing, Guidroz refused to give details on the number of number of high school athletes involved, or what schools were represented.

Unlike the law enforcement department, however, Darren Strother was not taken aback with the results of the steroid bust.

Statistics don’t lie

In the spring of 1999, Strother did a thesis on the use of steroids in high school athletics and gathered an alarming data. In his poll of football players at eight high schools in Acadiana area, 28 percent admitted to either using steroids or having tried performance-enhancing drugs at some point.

“I think it was a problem when I did my thesis, and it’s obviously still a problem now,” said Strother, who is now a doctor and currently works as a clinical neuropsychologist in Lafayette. “When I did my thesis, I never set out to prove there were a lot of people doing it. I was more interested in the mindset of an athlete who does steroids.

“I knew I was going to get numbers, but I didn’t think I would get as many people to admit to it. I was surprised, because it was far more than I thought, but each time something like this has come up, it’s pretty consistent. I think, for a while, people have underestimated how widespread this is.”

Harold “Butch” Woolfolk is not one of those people who underestimate steroid use amongst young athletes.