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December 01 , 2008

The Doper Next Door

My Strange and Scandalous Year on Performance-Enhancing Drugs


What happens to a regular guy who dopes? Surprised to learn that pro athletes aren’t the only ones taking performance-enhancing substances, journalist Andrew Tilin goes in search of the average juicing Joe, hoping to find a few things out: Why would normal people take these substances? Where do folks get them? Does the stuff really work?
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The Household Spirit

There’s something wrong next door. At least, that’s what neighbors Howie Jeffries and Emily Phane both think. Since his daughter and wife moved out, Howie has been alone, an accidental recluse content with his fishing and his dreams of someday sailing away from himself on a boat. Emily couldn’t be more different: she’s irreverent, outgoing…

But these controversial drugs often silence their users, and so his queries might have gone unanswered had Tilin not looked in the mirror and succumbed to curiosity. Soon wielding syringes, this forty-something husband and father of two children becomes the doper next door.

During his yearlong odyssey, Tilin is transformed. He becomes stronger, hornier, and aggressive. He wades into a subculture of doping physicians, real estate agents, and aging women who believe that Tilin’s type of legal “hormone replacement therapy” is the key to staying young-and he often agrees. He also lives with the price paid for renewed vitality, worrying about his health, marriage, and cheating ways as an amateur bike racer. And all along the way, he tells us what doping is really like-empowering and scary.

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