Performance-enhancing drugs in high school sports

Last week’s Throwback Thursday post talked about students misusing “study drugs” as a way to focus and balance school work with extra-curricular activities. This week we’re continuing the teen drug abuse conversation by shifting the focus from academics to athletics and highlighting the misuse of performance-enhancing drugs among student athletes.

Last week in Sacramento, a high school football player suffered a head injury during a game and is currently under the suspicion of using stimulant medications commonly prescribed for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as an athletic performance enhancer. While these drugs have also been misused by students attempting to enhance academic performance, athletes have been known to misuse them as well, especially in professional sports leagues such as the NFL.

Back in 2008, we did an NPCH Report about parents’ concerns with performance-enhancing drugs in high school athletics. Nine percent of parents of high school athletes said they know someone under the age of 18 who has tried performance-enhancing drugs. Strong support was shown for school policies on testing for these drugs, as well as schools taking action against students who use them:

  • 89% of parents supported counseling and treatment for athletes who tested positively for PE drugs
  • 53% supported banning the student for the remainder of the season
  • 46% supported forfeiting individual wins or awards
  • 32% were in favor of banning the student from all sports teams for a year
  • And 19% were in favor of forfeiting a team win or award

Read the full report: Parents of high school athletes speak out on performance-enhancing drugs

For more information on teen drug use, visit

What do you think?
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