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Study: More teens using human growth hormone

A recent study finds the use of human growth hormone among teens is spiking.

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his undated image provided by the Drug Enforcement Agency shows containers holding vials of steroids. (DEA via Getty Images)

According to Steve Pasierb, the president of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, the survey shows that during 2013 “we’ve got teenagers basically going from 5 percent reporting they’ve used it up to 11 percent – that’s a very significant jump in any study.”

He said the use of HGH, by both boys and girls, is driven by body image.

“It’s not just student athletes,” he said. “It’s young girls who want to be lean and toned, it’s young boys who want to have good muscles and nice definition.”

Pasierb said you see these products advertized online and everywhere you look – both the pharmaceutical version of human growth hormone and over-the-counter versions as well, that are sold in vitamin and health food stores.”

So, what’s the problem with using it?

“The downside to using human growth hormone, particularly among a young, developing body, is it affects your nerve development, your muscles, it can lead to joint pain, it can drive your cholesterol level up, and also long term it can increase the risk of diabetes, and also contribute to the growth of tumors,” Pasierb said.

According to Pasierb, when you buy what you’re told is HGH “you literally don’t know what are in these containers, it’s one of the reasons why Olympic athletes and professional athletes are told to just stay away from them completely. From batch to batch, product to product, you actually have no idea what’s in there.”

The study also found prescription drug abuse leveled off last year, with 23 percent of teens reporting they had used some type of drug from a medicine cabinet to get high, while 44 percent of teens indicated they had tried marijuana. That statistic has held steady for the past five years.

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