The abuse of anabolic steroids by teenagers--that is, their use without a prescription--is a health concern. Anabolic steroids are synthetic forms of the hormone testosterone that can be taken orally, injected, or rubbed on the skin. Although a 2006 survey funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that less than 3 percent of 12th graders had abused anabolic steroids, it also found that about 40 percent of 12th graders described anabolic steroids as "fairly easy" or "very easy" to get. The abuse of anabolic steroids can cause serious health effects and behavioral changes in teenagers. GAO was asked to examine federally funded efforts to address the abuse of anabolic steroids among teenagers and to review available research on this issue. This report describes (1) federally funded efforts that address teenage abuse of anabolic steroids, (2) available research on teenage abuse of anabolic steroids, and (3) gaps or areas in need of improvement that federal officials and other experts identify in research that addresses teenage anabolic steroid abuse. To do this work, GAO reviewed federal agency materials and published studies identified through a literature review and interviewed federal officials and other experts.
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