One million American young people between the ages 12 to 17 have taken potentially harmful performance-enhancing supplements and drugs, even though the majority were aware of the potential for health damage. These are the findings of a recent survey carried out by the US Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association's ( BCBSA) Healthy Competition Foundation released this week. "The survey results indicate that young people are taking sports supplements in alarming numbers, even though they are clearly aware that the supplements can be dangerous," said Allan Korn BCBSA Chief Medical Officer. The survey also revealed that 10- to-14-year-olds are taking performance-enhancing supplements and drugs. Based on projections from the results, 2 per cent of 10-14-year-olds have taken performance-enhancing substances. "The apparent knowledge gap about performance-enhancing supplements and drugs is frightening," Dr. Korn added. "Kids are taking these substances at an increasingly young age, and alarmingly, they are learning about them from friends and advertising instead of their parents." The survey threw up questions over the need for stronger legislation of sports supplements, of particular concern to parents. "Children have unlimited access to unregulated sports supplements at over-the-counter stores,"said Korn. "The Healthy Competition Foundation agrees with the 93 per cent of adults who said that marketing supplements to our children should be prohibited, and we urge Congress to listen to the 77 per cent who said they support making performance-enhancing substances for sale as prescription only."