Nationally projectable survey results from the 2013 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) released by The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and MetLife Foundation confirmed a significant increase in the reported lifetime use of synthetic human growth hormone (hGH) among teens, underscoring teens’ growing interest in performance enhancing substances, as well as the need for tighter regulation and more accurate labeling of “fitness-enhancing” over-the-counter products purported to contain synthetic hGH.
The study reported concerning findings about teen use of synthetic hGH, with a rise in teen awareness of the marketing of performance-enhancing drugs, a softening of anti-drug attitudes and a disconnect in parent communication with their children about synthetic hGH and steroids. Additional key findings include the following:
- Steroid use among teens has increased from 5 percent in 2009 to 7 percent in 2013.
- African-American and Hispanic teens are more likely to report use of synthetic hGH, with 15 percent of African-American teens, 13 percent of Hispanic teens, and 9 percent of Caucasian teens saying they used synthetic hGH at least once within their lifetime.
- More than half of parents (58 percent) report having discussed the use of steroids or other performance-enhancing substances (PES) with their teens, and only 3 percent of parents believe their teen has ever used steroids or other performance-enhancing substances.
- Only 12 percent of teens indicate that the last conversation they had with their parents about the risks of substance use included talking about synthetic hGH.