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“They’re getting all the news about the pro guys and what’s going on and how they got to where they are,” he said. “Who got scholarships and who didn’t get scholarships? Who looks good for the girls in high school? Who’s getting all the dates? The big guys. The muscle boys.”

The study was developed by the Center for Social Development and Education and the Center for Survey Research at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and it had an error margin of 4.3 percent.

Hooton and Romano estimated 1 million to 1.5 million adolescents in the U.S. have used steroids, citing various studies.

“We’ve got enough kids using steroids to fill almost every major league ballpark or about 20 NFL stadiums,” Hooton said. “Coaches and teachers are always comfortable thinking this problem is going on in somebody else’s school, never going on with my kids.”

Gary Siperstein, director of the UMass program, wants the issue of steroid use addressed at early ages.

“When does the public think it begins?” he said. “The pathways begin at the high school level. The motivations are there at the high-school level and maybe the middle-school level. And the public doesn’t connect.”