(Ottawa, Ontario – October 1, 2012) – Thanks to a $150,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) is pleased to announce its collaboration with the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and the Waterloo Regional Police Service to introduce a school-based appearance- and performance-enhancing drug prevention pilot program. The project is aimed at creating and disseminating effective education and information tools for children and youth, parents, educators and coaches in the Region of Waterloo with the goal of reducing the use of appearance- and performance-enhancing drugs by children and youth.
“The use of appearance- and performance-enhancing drugs in sport continues to be one of the greatest threats to true sport in our communities,” said Paul Melia, president and CEO of the CCES. “With societal pressures to look a certain way and the availability of these drugs over the internet and in local gyms, it is not an issue limited to athletes alone, nor is it a concern restricted to a specific gender.”
While appearance- and performance-enhancing drugs have traditionally been linked to males for their muscle building properties, they are not the only ones gambling with these harmful substances in hopes of achieving the perfect physique. Young girls are among the fastest growing group of anabolic steroid users. An alarming number of teen girls are ignoring serious health risks from steroid use in an ill-advised effort to reduce body fat.
This prevention program aims to intervene with children and youth before the use of appearance- and performance-enhancing drugs becomes an issue by dispelling myths and misunderstandings through a peer-mentor strategy. Student-athletes from the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University will be trained to deliver the prevention program in schools for students from Grade 7 to 12. While many parents may discuss street drugs with their children, it is not the norm to talk about steroids and other appearance- and performance-enhancing drugs. The program will also target parents, educators and coaches to provide them with accurate information and support in having this conversation with children and youth.
“This is a great example of our community showing leadership and collaborating on an important public health issue that deserves more attention,” said Bob Copeland, University of Waterloo Athletic Director. “We hope that through this pilot project, other communities will benefit from what is learned in Waterloo.”
“We are pleased to bring awareness to this important issue by harnessing the strong partnerships we have with our local schools,” added Chief Matt Torigian of the Waterloo Regional Police Service. “Through the assistance of the CCES, the OTF and our community partners, we expect to deliver prevention strategies that will improve the health and quality of life of youth throughout Waterloo Region.”
The CCES works hard to discourage athletes and the general public from succumbing to the pressure to take appearance- and performance-enhancing drugs. While a limited budget for testing university sport has forced some cut-backs in doping control initiatives, education for athletes and prevention programs delivered to youth and children are designed to deter the attraction to these harmful substances.
“There is no stronger deterrent to doping than a solid foundation developed at a young age,” said Melia. “We hope the values that children and youth learn from this program will provide them with the knowledge and confidence to make healthy decisions throughout their lives.”
The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport is an independent, national, not-for-profit organization. We recognize that true sport can make a great difference for individuals, communities and our country. We are committed to working collaboratively to activate a values-based and principle-driven sport system; protecting the integrity of sport from the negative forces of doping and other unethical threats; and advocating for sport that is fair, safe and open to everyone.
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