"This is not just limited to the starting linemen on your high school football team," insists Hooton. "It's a widespread social behavior among our kids."
That Gallup poll on attitudes toward teen steroid use was released this past May. It was commissioned by the Taylor Hooton Foundation and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The survey of more than 1,000 American adults found that steroid abuse was considered less of a problem for teens than marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, sexually transmitted diseases, obesity, eating disorders and bullying.
Those are also the sorts of problems identified by state health and education officials, according to Bruno. "We're not seeing [steroid abuse issues] in vast numbers like underage drinking, binge drinking, prescription drug abuse and marijuana use," she says.
Hooton says he gives talks to lots of high school coaches and officials, most of whom believe they don't really have much of a steroid abuse problem. He always asks them to come up and explain "how this epidemic has missed your school [because] it's going on everywhere."
Brian Cunningham, who graduated from Southington High this year, doesn't want to talk about where he got his steroids or about friends who were also using.
Yes, the steroids helped him build up his body as he'd hoped. Yes, he remembers mood swings and periods of anger. "I knew it was that," Cunningham says. "It was a little scary."
No, he didn't use steroids to help him with his high school sports career. "It wasn't for football at all," Cunningham insists. "It was after football… It was just to try it out."
Cunningham's brush with the law is not likely to have any lasting consequences. He says he was granted "accelerated rehabilitation," a program that will allow his arrest and the charges to be wiped from his record if he completes his court-ordered probation. (The court records have already been sealed.) "I have to do a couple of community service hours and that's about it," he shrugs.
"It was a simple mistake," Cunningham adds, saying his advice to other teens would be simply, "Don't do it."
The trouble is, solving the broader problem of teenage steroid abuse doesn't seem simple at all.