Drug Prevention Programs for Teen Athletes Earn International Acclaim

08/21/09  Portland, OR

PORTLAND, Ore. - Two Oregon Health & Science University programs that teach teen athletes healthy alternatives to steroids, sports supplements, alcohol and other drugs have received the Mentor International “Achievement Award.” Linn Goldberg, M.D., and Diane Elliot, M.D., co-developers of the programs, ATLAS and ATHENA, received the award in the presence of Queen Silvia of Sweden at a royal gala in Washington, D.C., Thursday, Oct. 14.

The Mentor International Prevention Awards recognize and celebrate the achievements of exceptional drug abuse prevention programs from around the world. The International Mentor Achievement Award honors an outstanding project for the prevention of drug misuse by children and young people. Three awards, Achievement, Innovation and Youth, together with the Mentor USA National Partner award, were given a total prize sum of Euro100,000 for further project support and one year's mentoring and technical support from the Mentor Foundation.

“Mentor’s global focus is to identify and share effective and promising practice in prevention and to share this with the international drug prevention community. The awards offer the chance to celebrate and share success in prevention and to collaborate in making the achievements known to others,” said Jeff Lee, Executive Director of the Mentor Foundation.

“We are very honored to receive this award, which will enable us to work with the Mentor International Scientific Advisory Network to pilot ATLAS and ATHENA with young athletes in other countries,” said Goldberg, a professor of medicine (health promotion and sports medicine) in the OHSU School of Medicine.

ATLAS (Adolescents Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids) was initiated in 1993 with a five-year National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) grant. It is the world’s first and only program proven to reduce the desire for and use of anabolic steroids, sports supplements, alcohol and other illicit drugs among male adolescent athletes. ATHENA (Athletes Targeting Healthy Exercise and Nutrition Alternatives), began in 1999 with an additional grant from NIDA. It is the first and only program in the world proven to reduce disordered eating, body-shaping drug use and other health-harming behaviors among female high school athletes.

“Many countries have a significant problem with the rise of performance-enhancing drugs and supplements among their young athletes. It is our hope that we can help reverse this trend with our science-based programs,” said Elliot, a professor of medicine (health promotion and sports medicine) in the OHSU School of Medicine.

About the Mentor Foundation
The Mentor Foundation’s mission is to prevent drug abuse by promoting health and well being in children and youth. As the leading international non-government voice of drug prevention, The Mentor Foundation works with our partners to share and implement effective drug prevention policy and practice. Through our national organizations and networks, we develop and deliver effective drug prevention programs. MENTOR USA, now established in Washington, D.C., supports drug abuse prevention programs domestically and in Latin America. Mentor USA’s programs focus on youth mentoring and training of teachers and caregivers in their role as agents of drug prevention.

ATLAS and ATHENA are nationally recognized programs that have undergone randomized controlled evaluations involving more than 4,000 student-athletes in more than 50 high schools, and have been disseminated for use in more than 120 schools in 35 states. The results of the programs are published in leading medical journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. ATLAS and ATHENA are the only programs recommended as model curricula by the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004 and have received numerous awards for effectiveness. In a 2009 review, prepared for the World Anti-Doping Agency stated ATLAS and ATHENA provide the only “high-quality evidence available to educate adolescents about doping” and are the “only programs to have been systematically monitored after an extended follow-up period.”

About Oregon Health & Science University
Oregon Health & Science University is the state's only health and research university and Oregon's only academic health center. OHSU is Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government). OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves patients from every corner of the state, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to every county in the state.