Substance abuse in our communities and especially in sports is a major problem.
Grantmakers, nonprofits, small businesses and individual researchers can do much to eliminate substance abuse in our communities.
The class of drugs known as anabolic steroids are legally available only by prescription and are prescribed to treat a variety of conditions that cause a loss of lean muscle mass.
Anabolic steroids (anabolic-androgenic steroids) are synthetic versions of the male hormone testosterone that help the body metabolize ingested proteins and facilitate the synthesis of skeletal muscle. They also delay fatigue and may create a feeling of euphoria. These substances can be natural or artificially produced.
From high school level to Olympic and professional athletes, steroid use was prohibited due to the unfair advantage it gives to athletes due to the performance enhancing effects of these drugs, but in addition, they've become an even more serious problem due to the dangerous side effects and health risks involved with taking them.
In January 2005, the Anabolic Steroid Control Act was amended with the Controlled Substance Act making possession of anabolic steroids and prohormones (a precursor to a hormone) a federal crime.
Despite criminalization of non-medical use of anabolic steroids and evidence that using them can cause many serious health problems, some athletes continue to use them to build muscle mass, increase their speed and be able to withstand grueling workout schedules and continue playing despite pain and injuries.
Even with a prescription, use of anabolic steroids is banned by all major sports associations including the Olympics, the NBA, the NHL, and the NFL. In addition, steroids are highly addictive and coming off them must be done gradually, with caution, to avoid severe, possibly life threatening consequences.
Steroids are taken in either pill form or injections. The most common dosing is done in cycles of weeks or months, with a short break between. This is called "cycling," other methods include "stacking" which refers to the use of several different types of steroids at the same time and "pyramiding," which involves slowly increasing the number, the amount, or the frequency of steroids to reach a peak and then gradually tapering the amount and frequency of the drug.
Doses taken by steroid abusers are often 10 to 100 times higher than the what would be medically prescribed for legitimate use. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) maintains an extensive list of all banned performance-enhancing substances.
Some organizations and agencies are seeking to find a solution to the use of drugs by athletes by offering research grants to eligible academics and researchers.
Projects which enhance knowledge surrounding (suspected or known) performance enhancing substances, provide reference materials, collect and test samples from critical populations, or justify/impact anti-doping policies are excellent candidates for the grant listed below.
Grants of up to $75,000 to USA, Canada, and International researchers to complete a short-term (less than 6 months) research project that works towards solving an acute anti-doping problem or prepares for a larger-scale project. Projects could include expanding knowledge on performance enhancing substances, providing reference materials, or collecting and testing samples from critical populations.
Projects eligible for micro-grant funding will satisfy the following guidelines:
– The applicant seeks to solve an acute anti-doping problem or gather preliminary data for a larger scale grant.
– The research does not require IRB approval, or IRB approval has been obtained ahead of applying for a micro-grant.
– The application is not designed to supplement existing funds from a primary funder. If this organization is not the sole funder of the project, the rationale behind seeking multiple funding sources must be provided within the application.
– The project’s investigators represent a single institution. If investigators from multiple institutions wish to collaborate on a Micro-Grant, a letter of support or cooperation from the secondary institution must accompany the application.
Grants to Rhode Island nonprofit organizations for projects in the areas of outreach, education, science, and research that investigate medical uses or the health repercussions of using human growth hormone, steroids, or other performance-enhancing drugs or substances. In 2015, the Fund provided a grant of $115,000. Although multi-year grants are not awarded, applicants are eligible to apply each year.
There are many health risks from the use and abuse of anabolic steroids, some are gender specific, while others effect both sexes. Troubling gender specific effects have been found. These include: For men: infertility, breast development, shrinking of the testicles, male-pattern baldness and severe acne and cysts, while women develop deeper voices, excessive growth of body hair, male-pattern baldness, severe acne and cysts.
Other Effects include delayed growth in adolescents, tendon rupture, increased heart and blood pressure problems, (cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attacks, enlarged left ventricle), cancer, jaundice, fluid retention, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and emotional and psychological effects such as rage and aggression (commonly referred to as “roid rage”), mania and delusions. Withdrawal symptoms can also be acute. They include mood swings, depression, fatigue and irritability, loss of appetite, insomnia, and aggression. Depression can even lead to suicide attempts, if untreated.
About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantWatch.