How many people use steroids?

Categories: Miscellaneous

Without any ado, I give you the percentages of male steroid users per population in the United States. Steroids here is used informally (and incorrectly) as a catch-all term for androgenic anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs, such as growth hormone, insulin and thyroid hormone.

  • 2.7% of all middle school students (ages 9 to 13)
  • 4.7% of all 7th to 12th graders (ages 12 to 17)
  • 6.6% of all 12th graders (age 17)
  • 54% of competitive bodybuilders
  • Over 90% of professional bodybuilders

It’s safe to say these are underestimations.

  • Most of these estimates were based on self-reporting. If I was a user, I know there’s no way I’d engrave the proof of that in a survey, even if it’s supposedly anonymous.
  • The users in several of these studies thought the actual incidence of drug use was higher than reported in the study.
  • Steroid use was on the rise in these studies and all of this research is over 14 years old.



Estimated prevalence of anabolic steroid use among male high school seniors.W. E. Buckley, C. E. Yesalis, 3rd, K. E. Friedl, W. A. Anderson, A. L. Streit, J. E. Wright. JAMA. 1988 December 16; 260(23): 3441-3445.Anabolic steroid use by male and female middle school students. A D Faigenbaum, L D Zaichkowsky, D E Gardner, L J Micheli. Pediatrics. 1998 May; 101(5): E6.

The incidence of anabolic steroid use among competitive bodybuilders.Tricker R, O’Neill MR, Cook D. J Drug Educ. 1989;19(4):313-25.

Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Use Among California Community College Student-Athletes. Robert D. Kersey. J Athl Train. 1996 Jul-Sep; 31(3): 237-241.

Catlin D, Wright J, Pope H, Liggett M (1993). Assessing the threat of anabolic steroids. Phys Sportsmed 21:36-41.

Mini Course on muscle building graphic Want more content like this?

Then get our free mini-course on muscle building, fat loss and strength.

By filling in your details you consent with our privacy policy and the way we handle your personal data.

About the author

Menno Henselmans

Formerly a business consultant, I've traded my company car to follow my passion in strength training. I'm now an online physique coach, scientist and international public speaker with the mission to help serious trainees master their physique.

» Join in and discuss this article on Instagram
Share via
Send this to a friend