LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -Step One in the NFL's new anti-steroid program: Separate the boys from the girls.
In an attempt to stem the use of steroids among high school athletes, the league launched a $1.2 million education program Tuesday. Working through eight NFL teams, the program is expected to reach 20,000 students in 40 high schools during this school year.
``Everybody wants to gain their edge and be the best and do whatever it takes to win,'' said Washington Redskins safety Pierson Prioleau, who answered questions from students during the official launch at the team's stadium. ``This program is going to show them that there are positive ways to win.''
The effort is actually two programs: ATLAS for boys and ATHENA for girls. In addition to steroids, ATLAS focuses on alcohol, supplements and illegal drugs, while ATHENA has an emphasis on eating disorders and body-shaping drug use.
Science University. ``A young woman's use is often related to diet, losing weight. Also it's related to depression. Boys don't have that. Theirs are more risk-taking, sensation-seeking.
``Some of the reasons some of the programs haven't worked is that they commingle the boys and the girls. They really need to be separate. When you put them together, you're going to bore half of them half the time.''
The issue of steroids remains a serious concern among major sports leagues, even as they strengthen their anti-doping policies. The NFL mandates a four-game suspension for a first steroids offense and a year for a second, and this year the number of random tests will increase from roughly 10,000 to 12,000.
``It's a serious concern,'' said Michael Haynes, the NFL's vice president of player and employee development. ``It seems like more kids are taking chances with their lives.''
Participating teams in the education program are the Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers.

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