Activity in high schools and state legislatures across the nation “suggests that the outrage over steroid abuse has now made it to Main Street America,” says the Christian Science Monitor. Illegal steroid use had been seen almost exclusively as the scourge of high-stakes sports. The March congressional hearing that not only an evasive Mark McGwire but also the parents of a high-schooler whose suicide was linked to steroids has provided momentum to schools and lawmakers seeking to root out teen use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Last Friday, California became the first state to establish steroid rules specifically for high-schoolers, including a requirement that all athletes and their parents sign an antisteroid contract. Seven states are considering bills that range from tougher penalties for steroid dealers to broad testing of teen athletes. Most plans focus on education more than enforcement. The cost of steroid testing is prohibitive and the legal questions are troublesome. Between 1991 and 2003, the number of high schoolers who said they took steroids at least once more than doubled to 6 percent, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.