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Promising Program Seal

Athletes Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids (ATLAS)

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

A drug prevention and health promotion program that deters substance use among high school adolescents in school sponsored athletics by educating youth on the harms of anabolic steroids, alcohol, and other drug use and by promoting sports nutrition and exercise.

Program Outcomes

  • Alcohol
  • Illicit Drug Use
  • Physical Health and Well-Being

Program Type

  • After School
  • Skills Training

Program Setting

  • School

Continuum of Intervention

  • Universal Prevention (Entire Population)


  • Late Adolescence (15-18) - High School


  • Male only


  • White


  • Blueprints: Promising
  • Crime Solutions: Promising
  • OJJDP Model Programs: Promising
  • SAMHSA: 2.9-3.0

Program Information Contact

Center for Health Promotion Research
Oregon Health & Science University
3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road, CR110
Portland, OR 97201-3098
Phone: (503) 494-8051

Program Developer/Owner

  • Linn Goldberg, M.D., F.A.C.S.M.
  • Oregon Health Sciences University

Brief Description of the Program

Athletes Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids (ATLAS) is a drug prevention and health promotion program for adolescent high school athletes that emphasizes the negative impact of anabolic steroids, alcohol, and other drugs on immediate sports performance. The program is integrated into team practice sessions and consists of a seven-session classroom curriculum and seven weight room skill training sessions. Coaching staff or surrogates administer the classroom curriculum which includes subjects such as risk factors of steroid use, strength training and sports nutrition, as well as skills to refuse steroids and other substances. In addition, nutritional recommendations and false claims of over the counter supplements are discussed. Parents attend a single evening meeting centered on program goals.

See: Full Description


Drug Use Intentions and Behaviors

  • Decreased likelihood of lifetime steroid use at posttest and one-year follow-up, but differences not significant.
  • Decreased likelihood of alcohol and other drug use at the one-year follow-up.
  • Decreased likelihood of new occurrences of drinking and driving at one-year follow-up.

Health Promotion Behaviors found at posttest and one-year follow-up:

  • Heightened perception of coach intolerance to drug use.
  • Improved nutrition knowledge and behaviors.
  • Enhanced strength training self-efficacy.
  • Less likely to believe advertisements for sports supplements and positive steroid use images.
  • Reduction in sport supplement use at one-year follow-up.

Significant Program Effects on Risk and Protective Factors:

  • Greater self-reported ability to refuse drug offers from peers.
  • Greater knowledge of the effects of steroids and alcohol.
  • Stronger beliefs about the harmful effects of anabolic steroid use and perceived greater susceptibility to their effects.

Race/Ethnicity/Gender Details

ATLAS was implemented with a largely white, middle-class population. No data is currently available regarding the program's effectiveness with other more racially and socioeconomically diverse groups.

Risk and Protective Factors

Risk Factors
  • Individual: Favorable attitudes towards drug use*, Substance use*
  • Peer: Peer substance use
Protective Factors
  • Individual: Perceived risk of drug use*, Refusal skills*

*Risk/Protective Factor was significantly impacted by the program.

Training and Technical Assistance

Training is recommended prior to implementing ATLAS and is provided by the Center for Health Promotion Research. Contact CHPR for more information or to set up a training:

During training, participants learn the current trends in adolescent athlete substance abuse, underpinnings of effective drug prevention and health promotion, alternatives to drug use (sports nutrition and physical training), and the background and outcomes of ATLAS. Coaches and other prospective instructors will have practical experience learning to use the programs and integrating them into their usual team activities.

There must be a minimum of 20 participants and a maximum of 100 participants. Two trainers are required for up to 50 participants, three trainers for 50-75 participants, and four trainers for more than 75 participants.

Training is accomplished in approximately 5 hours, depending on the number of participants. Ongoing customer support is available for all participants.

Registration fee: $195/participant; Program materials: $310/participant (includes shipping & handling)

Materials Used
Program materials are the Coach/Instructor Package.

Trainer's Costs
Trainers' travel and per diem expenses are invoiced after the training. Hosting organization provides the training location, food and beverages for participants.

Brief Evaluation Methodology

ATLAS was evaluated in a randomized controlled trial involving 31 high school football teams in the Portland, OR area. Thirty-four schools were matched in pairs based on demographic parameters (school size, family socioeconomic status, school attendance, student participation in free lunch program, number of students attending college, and the football team's win-loss record from the prior season). Following randomization, three schools dropped out resulting in 15 experimental schools and 16 control schools. Self-report data was collected at pretest, posttest, and a 9 or 12-month follow-up. The evaluation focused on whether the program was able to influence knowledge and attitudes concerning anabolic androgenic steroid (AAS) use, sports nutrition and exercise knowledge and behaviors, and intentions to use AAS.


Goldberg, L., Elliot, D., Clarke, G. N., MacKinnon, D. P., Moe, E., Zoref, L., ... Lapin, A. (1996). Effects of a multidimensional anabolic steroid prevention intervention: The Adolescents Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids (ATLAS) Program. JAMA, 276(19), 1555-1562.

Goldberg, L., MacKinnon, D. P., Elliot, D. L., Moe, E. L., Clarke, G., & Cheong, J. (2000). The Adolescents Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids Program: Preventing drug use and promoting health behaviors. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 154(4), 332-338.

Goldberg, L., Elliot, D. L., Clarke, G. N., MacKinnon, D. P., Zoref, L., Moe, E., ... Wolf, S. (1996). The Adolescents Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids (ATLAS) Prevention Program. Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, 150, 713-721.