HHS and MLB initiate anti-steroid campaigns

NEW YORK: The Department of Health and Human Services is looking for an agency to educate young athletes, as well as their coaches and mentors, about the dangers of steroids.

NEW YORK: The Department of Health and Human Services is looking for an agency to educate young athletes, as well as their coaches and mentors, about the dangers of steroids.

HHS plans to host educational programs at about 10 US high schools, and hopes to coordinate with Major League Baseball and the National Football League to have the anti-steroid message delivered by a nationally recognized athlete.

HHS expects to award the 12-month contract on April 14.

Separately, MLB is also moving ahead with the second phase of its own anti-steroid campaign even as one of its own battles a very public scandal.

As San Francisco Giants left fielder Barry Bonds gears up for his assault on Hank Aaron's all-time home run record, two books detailing his alleged steroid use are set to hit the shelves.

Susan Goodenow, MLB's VP of business PR, denied that the MLB's steroid campaign is an attempt to deflect attention from Bonds.

"This effort was in the pipeline way before the issue with Bonds and the books came up," she said. "We've been conducting some very in-depth research on the issue of youth steroid use, how they make their choices to use it, and how we can combat those myths they have in their mind about steroid use."

MLB is teaming with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, its partner for the past four years. In addition to ads, MLB is also coordinating a pilot program to reach out to high school coaches starting in New Jersey.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig has yet to comment on the steroids scandal, but news outlets speculated last week that he was preparing to launch an investigation.

Goodenow noted that Selig is still deciding how to respond.

"There are a lot of elements to it," she noted, "so he still has it under consideration."

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