Steroid scandal gains steam upon entering hip-hop arena

Professional athletes aren't the only celebrities receiving scrutiny over their use of illegal steroids, a new investigation revealed.

In the news
Professional athletes aren't the only celebrities receiving scrutiny over their use of illegal steroids, a new investigation revealed. Hip-hop and R&B entertainers such as 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige (pictured below), Wyclef Jean, and Timbaland have reportedly been ordering the drugs not only to enhance muscles, but also to ward off aging, according to an Albany Times Union story.

The investigation, conducted by Albany County district attorney P. David Soars, has focused on questioning the doctors who have been distributing the drugs.

The stars have reportedly been obtaining steroids from Manhattan's Clay Fitness Club and Spa, directed by chiropractor Dr. Michael Diamond. The prescriptions, allegedly sent to the stars under pseudonyms, were signed by Dr. Gary Brandwein, a Florida osteopath with past felony drug violation charges.

Why does it matter?
Anti-drug advocacy programs, such as the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and organizations combating negative body image stereotypes, have an opportunity to reach out to young audiences.

As many cases verify that the emphasis on body image is a growing problem in the entertainment industry - especially in this youth-oriented culture - the pressure of being young, slim, and beautiful is driving business.

For celebrities, "their body becomes their brand," notes Danyel Smith, editor-in-chief of Vibe. Celebrities are under pressure to project youthfulness, beauty, and strength.

Some worry that adolescents, influenced by what they see the stars doing, will engage in similar behaviors.

"Young people need to educate themselves and should look to their parents, not just celebrities, for guidance on these issues," Smith says. Education can be provided to youths by anti-drug programs and outreach from positive body-image experts.

Five facts:
1. Mary J. Blige, one of the many celebrities accused of using anti-aging steroids, is on the cover of the current issue of Vibe.

2. Gary Wadler, a committee member for the World Anti-Doping Agency, notes that along with anti-aging hormones, stars are often seen using Botox, Restylane, liposuction, and tanning salons, to maintain a young appearance.

3. Dr. Drew, host of Celebrity Rehab, is encouraging parents to respond to publicity regarding celebrity drug abuse by talking to their kids about the negative affects of drugs.

4. Sylvester Stallone was busted for bringing bulking drugs into the US last February. He was ordered to pay $2,451 in fines and $8,200 in court costs, reports.

5. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America has teamed with Major League Baseball to educate young sports fans about the dangers of illegal steroids.

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