Washington, DC -In an era where illegal steroid use generates public shame but also rewards with six-figure sports contracts, a new survey found that pro athletes use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) is putting pressure on some young athletes to resort to using the illegal or dangerous drugs as well.
As Major League Baseball announces the suspension of former Most Valuable Player Ryan Braun, a survey by the Digital Citizens Alliance (a consumer-oriented group focused on making the Internet a safer place) found that nearly half of males aged 18-25 thought that taking PEDs was critical to making it in professional sports or enhancing one¹s athletic performance.
More than three-quarters of both young males and parents in our survey said that pro athletes using PEDs has put pressure on young athletes to use drugs as well. And 58 percent of these young males thought that at least one-third of the major leaguers on the rosters in last week¹s All-Star Game had used PEDs.
“For every Ryan Braun, there may be thousands of young athletes taking steroids and risking their health in hopes of excelling on their high school team, their college team, or making it in pro sports,” said Digital Citizens Alliance Executive Director Tom Galvin. “They look at their heroes, too many of whom have turned to PEDs to enhance their performance, and conclude that taking these dangerous drugs is the only way to fame and fortune."
Digital Citizens Alliance commissioned the surveys as part of its research on teens and steroid use. They will be released in full with a larger report later this summer.
"Our research is telling us just how easy it is to find these drugs," Galvin said. "If we can find them in just a few clicks, you know these Internet-savvy teens can also find them all too easily."
Zogby Analytics conducted the online surveys on July 19-22, 2013, just after the MLB All-Star Game, but before the Ryan Braun suspension was announced. Zogby completed an online survey of 350 males in between the ages of 18-25 in the US. That survey has a margin of error of +/- 5.3 percentage points. The second survey, also online, included 352 adults with male children age 14-25 in the US with a margin of error of +/- 5.3 percentage points.