Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Kerry Barrett Reporting The use of steroids in Utah is more common than you might think. Fitness experts and doctors call the trend "alarming" because of the devastating effects.
One fitness expert says it's so popular two to three high school-aged kids come to his gym to ask about it every week. KSL spoke with two men -- one a current user, one an ex-user. We've protected their identity to find out why they started, how one of them quit and why the other continues to use, despite the health concerns.
The man currently using has been using steroids for about eight months. He says, "It's an alpha-dominant thing. You know, being the biggest, fastest, strongest." He says health concerns got him off the steroids for a while, but it wasn't long before he was back on the "juice."
Tim is 30. He used for about two and a half years. He started the same way. "The problem was, I thought taking a little bit and getting the results I did, I thought I should take a lot more and get a lot better results. So that's how you get involved, and it's progressive and it's bad," he says.
And, it wasn't easy to walk away. Although steroids aren't technically addicting, he believes there is a psychological component.
The high levels of testosterone make users feel on top of the world. One local fitness expert, Trevor Robinson, says he can always tell who uses. "They all look like they've got this Super Man complex. You know they think they're invincible," he says.
All say steroids are becoming mainstream.
"Once you're in the circle, we'll it's almost like any other drug. They go to someone who looks the way they want to look and they say 'what do I need to do?' and they hand them a bunch of stuff and they go at it."
That's exactly how Tim started. We wanted to see how easy it really was to get our hands on what they call "gym candy." We went undercover to five area gyms in five different towns to see what we could find. It didn't take long to figure out how to get hooked up.
"You can get it easy. I can go ask any big guy in the gym where to get it, and if he's so inclined, he'll tell me.
Where do they get it? People have different means of getting it. They import it, they smuggle it. They bring it in. People get it from Mexico.
As easy as the drugs are to get, and as much pressure as there is for teens to excel, it can be hard to turn away. Tim struggled for a long time. "It was so hard. Lots of depression. Really, really bad. It was a two-year process," he told KSL.
The current user isn't trying to quit. He says he's not worried about health problems, even though he's already experiencing some. His body aches, his blood pressure is high, and he's constantly overheated. Even though he can't quit, this user told us he recognizes steroids can mess up your body.
Schools are considering testing for steroid use on a state level, but because of bureaucracy, there's nothing imminent There are a few schools that already do their own testing.