Poisoning our Youth Calls for Consequences 

Our youth’s future is being jeopardized by “influencers” in the fitness industry that push out egotistic and manipulative messages. These people do not care about our children’s well-being, rather, they just blindly spread misinformation or intentionally promote useless or harmful substances to make profit. 

Using steroids just once can completely derail you from what was once a happy and normal life. What starts off as a “this is a one time thing,” can quickly change to years of steroid abuse and addiction. Steven Dowshen, in Are Steroids Worth the Risk?, states that they are addictive because when one stops taking steroids, the person faces severe withdrawal symptoms, some of which include insomnia, mood swings, and depression. 

If someone is interested in fitness, and due to how highly specific social media is, the posts we interact with are essentially ads promoting supplements followed by hyperlinks to purchase them. Because steroids are so accessible with just a click of a button, it is no surprise that we are seeing many males and females experience severe health problems when they grow up. In an article on Digital Citizens Alliance, more than a third of those who participated in a study containing more than 2,000 participants, claimed to have purchased the drugs online. There are clearly markets that are flourishing with the help of deceiving posts and false advertisement, yet those websites and products still manage to fly under the radars of the people that enforce steroid laws and regulations. 

Evidently, there are many loopholes that allow our youth to obtain possession of these harmful drugs. In the article, Teens and steroids: A dangerous combo, published by the Federal Drug Administration, states “4.9% of males and 2.4% of females in highschool have used steroids at least once in their lives.” Even if someone uses steroids just once though, it still could cause prevalent issues later down the road as discussed earlier. 

With the increase of users on social media, which is essentially opening the gates for more influencers to try and carve out their path to fame, it is inevitable that more newcomers in the fitness world will come into contact with these influencers that are only looking to serve themselves. This misguidance is a prime example of why people are even looking to buy and use steroids in the first place. Steroids are dangerous and we already know that, but so do the influencers that are subliminally encouraging their audiences, who most of the time are young adolescents, to try steroids. A report on steroid use and social media, posted on the Digital Citizens Alliance, states, “celebrities use social media sites such as Instagram or YouTube to create the image of modern glamor that increasingly leads men and women to buy APEDs online.” When an influencer has a multimillion number fanbase, that influencer isn’t thinking about being a mentor to those who need guidance, but instead, looks to take advantage of them to make money or grow their name. 

Additionally, more changes to the way people share and receive information/news is negatively affecting the way people view their own bodies. Comparing our results to the results exaggerated by these influencers is doing way more harm than good. An article posted on the National Institute of Drug Abuse, mentions a study that in the time frame from 2011 to 2015, the number of students in the 12th grade who admitted to using steroids rose slightly every year. It isn’t 100% guaranteed that social media is to blame, but considering apps like Instagram began to flourish around the same time it would not be surprising if that is why. When teens see someone posing with their muscles flexed, and see that the attention they are receiving is undoubtedly more than the “average” person would receive, they imagine themselves living that life, and that’s where the problems mentally start off.

Already prevalent, the contribution of manipulative influencers combined with social media can be deadly to one’s mental health, but it can also corrupt their interpretation of what it means to be healthy in the physical sense. Many think that physical health problems only stem from steroid use, but what they fail to realize is that dissatisfaction with your body can lead to eating disorders as well. People may tend to diet to extreme levels or consume extreme amounts of food in hope of gaining muscle mass. 

The associations of social media use with both muscularity dissatisfaction and eating disorder symptoms were strong with apps such as Instagram.

These “bad” influencers need to face the consequences for the negative and toxic environment that they have been creating for years. Actions have consequences, and by making a point out of the people that deliberately mess with our youth, could be the thing that creates positive change for the future of the fitness industry. Because their means of sharing these false and negative posts comes solely through their social media accounts, only influencers who are verified by the app should be able to continue posting fitness content. Everyone else who lies about their success and posts their body solely for attention and not motivation, needs to be pushed out of the fitness community. Although they have the power over what they post, we, the viewers, have the power to not buy into their scams and dishonesty. 

Alternatively, considering that selling steroids without prescription is illegal, one can also make the argument that influencers promoting the use of steroids, to an audience that clearly can’t purchase them legally due to their age, should face the legal ramifications. Although they aren’t as frowned upon as real “drugs,” steroids still come with their fair share of problems, and it should be top priority that we don’t allow them to slip into our youth’s hands. By possibly putting people in agreement that influencers who promote and lucratively sell steroids or similar products are breaking the law, we could see less and less of dishonesty and danger throughout the industry. 


Anabolic steroids. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2022, from

Commissioner, O. of the. (n.d.). Teens and steroids: A dangerous combo. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved November 3, 2022, from

Digital platforms on steroids – digital citizens alliance. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2022, from

Dowshen, S. (Ed.). (2017, February). Are steroids worth the risk? (for teens) – nemours kidshealth. KidsHealth. Retrieved November 3, 2022, from

Griffiths, S., Murray, S., Krug, I., & McLean, S. (n.d.). The contribution of social media to body dissatisfaction, eating disorder symptoms, and anabolic steroid use among sexual minority men. Cyberpsychology, behavior and social networking. Retrieved October 16, 2022, from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021, April 12). Who uses anabolic steroids? National Institutes of Health. Retrieved November 3, 2022, from

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