McKinney, Texas • The father of a high school baseball player who died after using steroids has written to every member of Congress, criticizing the government's lack of funding for drug education programs.
Donald Hooton testified at the 2005 congressional hearings that featured Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and other major leaguers.
Taylor Hooton was 17 when he committed suicide in 2003. His parents think the suicide stemmed from depression that followed Taylor's decision to stop using steroids. Donald Hooton established The Taylor Hooton Foundation to promote awareness of the steroids problem among youth.
"After all the grandstanding before the TV cameras that day, our federal government has not instituted any form of education program for our children, and it hasn't invested any time or effort in raising awareness about scope of the problem," Hooton wrote in his July 18 letter, which was made available to The Associated Press. "As a result, the steroid usage problem by our children has not gotten any better."
Hooton asked the government to survey youngsters to determine the scope of the problem. He also wants such federal agencies such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse and The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to become "bully pulpits" that will promote education in schools about performance-enhancing drugs.