Many Weightlifters Abuse Performance Enhancers and Illicit Drugs

By Staff Writer

A high percentage of male weightlifters use human growth hormone, or HGH, to improve their strength, according to a new study from Harvard researchers. Not only does abuse of this substance cause a range of health complications, the investigation also found that users are more likely take illegal drugs, putting them at risk for addiction and the need for substance abuse help.

The researchers said that HGH was formerly an expensive designer drug that was only available to high-level athletes. However, in recent years, the substance has become more available and less expensive, which is helping to fuel the increase in the number of users, particularly in the weightlifting community.

For the study, investigators surveyed 231 male weightlifters between the ages of 18 and 40. Participants were asked about their use of performance enhancers as well as illicit drugs. A total of 27 percent reported using HGH. Furthermore, 56 percent of these individuals said that they either formerly or currently abuse opiates, cocaine or ecstasy.

The researchers said that this combination of performance enhancing drugs and other illicit substances can cause serious damage to an individual’s heart health. Those who currently use both may benefit from seeking substance abuse help.