NEW YORK — Experimentation with human growth hormones by America's teens more than doubled in the past year, as more young people looked to drugs to boost their athletic performance and improve their looks, according to a new, large-scale national survey.
In a confidential 2013 survey of 3,705 high school students that is being released today by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, 11 percent reported using synthetic HGH at least once — up from about 5 percent in the four preceding annual surveys. Teen use of steroids increased from 5 percent to 7 percent over the same period, the survey found.
Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, depicted the numbers as alarming but not surprising, given the extensive online marketing of performance-enhancing substances and near-total lack of any drug testing for high school athletes.
Nine percent of teen girls reported trying synthetic HGH, and 12 percent of boys did.
Steve Pasierb, president of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, said the motives were different from the rebellious or escapist attitudes that traditionally accompanied teen drinking and pot smoking. "They're doing this thing to get ahead. … Girls want to be thin and toned. For a lot of boys, it's about their six-pack."