Los Angeles (Vocus) June 25, 2010
Addressing a high school football team in south-central Los Angeles last Friday, NFL Alumni, educator and Church of Scientology Community Relations Specialist, Bob Adams asked the youth who among them knew someone who had been in serious trouble because of drugs, and found most of them had.
A former tight-end for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Adams related to the team, his own experience of nearly going blind from short term use of steroids while in college. During his senior year at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Adams was the captain of offense and knew he was being looked at by several NFL teams. On a tip from a scout who mentioned he could increase his chances of making it to the NFL by adding 20 pounds to his 6 foot 2 inch 210-pound frame, Adams remembered a teammate who had gained 40 pounds taking steroids the year before. He spoke to a trainer and within a few days, Adams had a prescription for steroids he hoped would cinch his chances of making it to the national league.
Within days Adams was experiencing more than weight-gain. “I started having migraine headaches and I didn’t attribute it to the steroids at first. Then I started having random periods of 10 to 15 minutes where I could hardly see,” said Adams. “I was terrified that I was going blind and my dreams of playing professional football were gone.”
Adams put his savvy in college biology to work and looked into the steroids he had been taking. He eventually discovered that he had hypertension from the medication, which was affecting his ocular nerve and causing the bouts of “blindness.” Within two weeks of starting, Adams was done with steroids forever. And he made it to the NFL and a successful career with the Steelers.
“It’s a real experience that is meaningful to young athletes,” Adams says of the ordeal that nearly finished his football career before it got started. “Many others haven’t been as lucky, so I always try to bring home that drugs don’t mix with success in sports or any other zone. They kill people, ruin relationships and destroy lives and the evidence is all around us.”
A recent study of emergency room visits involving non-medical use of prescription drugs revealed an increase of 111 percent between 2004-2008. The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Thomas Frieden stated that non-medical use of prescription drugs is now as common as illicit drugs.
Adams recommends a free education resource to students, parents, coaches and educators called the Foundation for a Drug-Free World for its youth-friendly materials based on authoritative studies and surveys. The Foundation’s Truth About Drugs education series includes 13 booklets and 16 public service messages on the most commonly abused drugs, including prescription drugs. There is also a new 13-chapter, 90-minute documentary based on interviews with more than 200 former addicts, giving their personal stories.
“Today the way drugs are portrayed in advertising can be very misleading, so no one can afford to be in the dark about drugs. The information that the Foundation provides should be in every home, locker room, school, club and company,” said Adams. “It would prevent a lot of heartache and save a lot of lives.”