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Saturday 15, Nov 2008

  Baseball’s steroid era was also a Human Growth Hormone era

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mitchell_steroid_reportThe above caption is taken from a San Francisco Chronicle article which said this fact has become apparent after 2003, the year when America’s favorite game began testing for anabolic steroids. Because synthetic steroids were on spotlight, players turned to hGH.

The following is the “dishonorable list” of players implicated in the use of hGH enumerated by the San Francisco Chronicle as gleaned from court records, published accounts, and the explosive Mitchell Report.

BALCO players: The Burlingame laboratory distributed undetectable steroids. But doping calendars seized at BALCO in a 2003 federal raid also reflected HGH use by home run king Barry Bonds; slugger Gary Sheffield; and former Giants Benito Santiago, Bobby Estalella and Armando Rios. Before a federal grand jury, Yankees star Jason Giambi, another BALCO customer, demonstrated how he injected himself with HGH, records show.

Jose Canseco’s teammates. “Juiced,” the former slugger’s steroid memoir, also described his use of HGH. Besides himself, Canseco identified A’s bash brother Mark McGwire and Ivan Rodrigues, Juan Gonzales and Rafael Palmeiro, his Texas teammates, as HGH users.

Kirk Radomski’s clients. The former Mets batboy and clubbie, an admitted steroid dealer, also told former Sen. Mitchell that he had sold Human Growth Hormone to 29 players. They included pitchers Kevin Brown, Denny Neagle, Jason Grimsley and Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne, outfielders GlenAllen Hill and David Justice, and Mo Vaughn, MVP with the Red Sox in 1995.

Brian McNamee’s clients. The former Yankee trainer told Mitchell he provided HGH to Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch.

Adam Piatt’s teammate. The former A’s outfielder told Mitchell he got HGH for Miguel Tejada.
On-line clinics. Customer lists from web clinics that were targeted by the district attorney in Albany, N.Y show 13 present and former players received growth hormone. They included St. Louis pitcher-turned outfielder Rick Ankiel, Angels outfielder Gary Matthews Jr; pitchers Paul Byrd and John Rocker; and former Giant Matt Williams, who ordered HGH while working in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ front office.

In 2003, MLB started unannounced steroid testing of players in 2003.

In the spring of 2004, the league implemented mandatory program testing. According to MLB’s press release on November 2003, it was the first time in the sport’s history that “players could be subject to fines and suspension for failing and repeating to fail random drug testing that reveals use of one of 28 federally banned anabolic androgenic steroids. The union and MLB labor negotiators adopted mandatory testing for steroid use in the Basic Agreement, which was signed in 2002.”

Wednesday 13, Aug 2008

  High school athletes’ rampant use of steroids – p2

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steroids-schoolHigh school athletes’ rampant use of steroids – part 2

You can’t lie to kids

Woolfolk knows what he’s talking about since he had personally seen the widespread use of steroids in sports, particularly in the NFL. Woolfolk, who originally hailed from Milwaukee, played collegiately at Michigan and in the NFL from 1982-88, most notably with the Houston Oilers.

Woolfolk now works as a consultant for the forward Edge, drug-testing firm based out of Houston. He says that if people don’t think steroids are a problem in high school, they need immediate reality check.

“When I spoke in front of the (Texas) Senate Committee hearings, I knew what was going on, because I have a good feel for what’s going on in high school,” Woolfolk said. “I knew at least 15-20 guys that were using. I threw out statistics that astonished (Senate members).
“When they voted (to implement mandatory steroid testing in Texas high schools last school year), it was almost unanimous.”

He says he always knew it was an “epidemic in football”. He related how he would see firsthand football players taking steroids in the locker rooms with trainers administering the banned compounds.

“It was done out in the open, but you’ve gotta remember, it was different back then. There was no steroid testing back then,” Woolfolk said.

Woolfolk’s area has also witnessed a sting operation similar to that of the St. Landry Parish.

Almost a year ago, Texas authorities busted an underground a home-based steroid lab in Pearland. The operation was part of the nationwide investigation dubbed as “Operation Raw Deal” which has resulted to 124 arrests and the seizure of 56 steroid labs across the United States. In total, 11.4 million steroid dosage units were seized, as well as 242 kilograms of raw steroid powder of Chinese origin. As part of Operation Raw Deal, $6.5 million was also seized, as well as 25 vehicles, 3 boats, 27 pill presses, and 71 weapons.

In the Pearland raid, authorities found eight kilograms of raw steroid powders, more than 100,000 steroid tablets and 200 10-milligram vials of injectable anabolic steroids.

Woolfolk attributes the lure of steroids to their effectiveness.

“Biggest problem with steroids is they work,” Woolfolk said. “You want to get bigger, stronger, faster, you take steroids. You can’t lie to kids and say it won’t help you. They see the results.”

Strother also acknowledges the need for kids to know about the truth about these substances. He is concerned that more and more kids are using steroids and the demographics are getting younger too. Steroid use is the trend nowadays, he says.

“I think the place you start is education at a young age,” Strother said. “You provide them education about all the problems. The testing sounds good on paper, but we’re still seeing an increase in use. They’re very well aware of all the ins and outs of testing. They’re not all that random. It’s not enough to say we test.”

Mandatory testing for steroids – money for nothing?

In June 2007, local state Rep. Don Trahan passed a resolution mandating the Louisiana High School Athletic Association to do two things – to submit a report reviewing its policy on drug testing and to conduct a survey to determine the potential needs to test for anabolic steroids.

The survey, which many considered as unscientific, provided that steroid abuse is a minimal problem around the state. Now, with the recent steroid bust in St. Landry Parish, that problem could be addressed sooner than later.

Louisiana State Rep. Rickey Hardy feels that it is time to implement a system of steroid testing in his Louisiana.

Currently, the three states that invoke mandatory steroid testing in high schools are New Jersey, Texas and Illinois. Florida is may follow suit but currently suspending its testing program due to budget cuts.

The University Interscholastic League in Texas has tested more than 10,000 students this past spring. The testing resulted to only two positive tests, eliciting criticisms from some sector.

The program, many say, is just a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Tuesday 12, Aug 2008

  High school athletes’ rampant use of steroids – p1

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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.