More teenagers using human growth hormones, study says

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Athletes will be working hard to get faster and stronger as the fall sports season kicks off. A new study shows now more teens are doing that by using injections.

The organization Partnership For Drug-Free Kids released a study this week that shows 11 percent of high schoolers have used human growth hormones at least once. Two years ago, that statistic was much lower when only five percent of students had used those drugs. 

We talked to a local gym owner,  he asked us not to reveal his name, but told us this is a problem in area schools and there is not adequate testing.

A Kingsport pediatrician, Dr. Joe Ley, explains human growth hormones are used for medical reasons on children who have stunted growth.

This study shows students in grades 9-12 are getting ahold of them without a prescription.

It says both boys and girls are equally as likely to try them and that one in five teenagers have a friend who uses steroids.

Dr. Ley told us this can cause major problems in the future.

"A lot of them are likely to have problems with their blood sugar and can develop diabetes so other problems like that," he said. "There are some risks that have been looking into whether it can actually lead to some cancers."

Improper use can also lead to gigantism and deformation because your cartilage will keep growing once your bone stops, said Dr. Ley. He told us that can cause joint problems.

Dr. Ley said signs your child is using these hormones include behavioral changes, IV or shot marks, and a sudden increase in muscle mass. He told us these symptoms will be visible in a matter of months after use.

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