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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 03:38:22 +0000
(NEW YORK) -- More teens are looking to drugs to improve athletic performance and their appearance, according to a new national survey from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids released Tuesday.
The organization reported a significant increase in the lifetime use of synthetic growth hormones, or hGH, among teens.
Eleven percent of respondents in ninth through twelvth grades said they used hGH without a prescription, more than double the amount from 2012.
Researchers say the findings reinforce the need for tighter regulation and more accurate labeling of "fitness-enhancing" over-the-counter products.
While synthetic human growth hormones have been available since 1985, Congress gave the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to approve its medical uses, and also banned any off-label uses.
hGH is approved for adult short bowel syndrome and long-term treatment of short stature in children and adolescents, among other conditions. Still, it is illegally used for muscle building and other athletic performance enhancements.
The study also found that African-American and Hispanic teens are more likely to report use of synthetic hGH, with 15 percent of African-Americans saying they used it at least once in their lifetime and 13 percent of Hispanic teens reporting, compared to 9 percent of Caucasians.
In addition to hormones, the report discovered other trends in teen use, including marijuana (44 percent) and prescription medication (23 percent).
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