DR Paul Auden, a leading sports medicine expert, alleges that schoolboy athletes may be consuming a costly testosterone-producing substance during their background training.
The medical doctor said his claims are based on information he received from a pharmaceutical representative, who got feedback from a pharmacy he or she supplies in St Andrew.
Dr Auden said he was alarmed when he heard that frequent purchasers of over-the-counter hormone supplements are high school footballers.
"The drug rep said that 'the best customers are schoolboys in Kingston, especially the Manning Cup footballers'," he related.
"These young guys are training in the background to lift weights and get muscle mass."
The substance, dihydroepiandrosterone — simply known as DHEA — is believed to help improve sex drive and to assist in building muscle, among other things. DHEA is a hormone produced by the body's adrenal glands.
"DHEA is in almost every supplement for men who want to sexually perform. It is supposed to make you produce more testosterone. (If drug tested) you are going to test positive and it's over-the-counter, by the way. The company that brings it in doesn't have to meet any of the standards that the government has for prescribed drugs," the sports medicine specialist explained during this week's Monday Exchange forum of journalists at the Jamaica Observer.
However, even if it could be proven that those entrusted with training the nation's youngsters are advising on and funding their intake of such supplements, there is no administrative body to hold the culprits accountable.
Reputable athletics coach David Riley, while responding to a question on whether school boys and girls should be drug-tested, opened a can of worms regarding a glaring shortcoming within the current infrastructure.
"There are so many missing pieces in this whole puzzle. You have a situation where there is no professional organisation or accountability entity for coaches in Jamaica. Coaches are not held to any standards, they're not brought in front of any ethics committee or anything.
"There is no specification, so you have people who are involved in the sport who have no guidelines. They make claims of themselves and they have all kinds of issues. They're a lot of things that need to be fixed," the performance coach at Technique Lab Limited told the Monday Exchange forum.
Over recent days, this newspaper tried to contact Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) president Dr Walton Small, but calls to his cellular phone went unanswered. An attempt via text message also proved futile.
The Observer, however, spoke with St George's College football coach Neville 'Bertis' Bell and the veteran tactician, who has led the 'Light Blues' to four Manning Cup titles in the last five years, insisted that his staff has a strict drug-free stance.
"I can speak for the coaching staff at St George's College. We don't give them anything they're not supposed to get. We certainly don't give them any steroids, (and) we certainly don't give them anything we think is banned.
"We give them like vitamin C (and) we give them iron tablets, but we don't give them anything more.
"I don't know of anyone [on the St George's College football team] taking any drugs and I'd be surprised if they were," he said on Wednesday.
Bell, a popular television personality, admitted it is impossible to have 100 per cent monitoring of his young charges.
"I'm not certain we could control every single thing they do.
"I'm very careful about that, but having said that, these are youngsters living all over the place and some may live around people who think they know everything. People will give them things to take and tell them it will make them run faster and be stronger and stuff like that," the football coach said.
Bell added that a recent team discussion revealed that some members were consuming energy drinks. He said, however, that his warning of the possibility of cardio vascular complications linked with energy drink consumption after strenuous workouts put an end to the practice, as far as he knew.
He said his advice to players has always been to have the school's medical team inspect any substance that is given to them.
There is already heated debate on the issue of drug testing at the high school level and questions have surfaced about how young athletes may be acquiring high level, expensive drugs.
The major concern is that some schoolchildren are at risk of being misled, exploited and ultimately hurt — both physically and otherwise — by success-hungry adults.
Dr Auden's pronouncement should shock many observers and amplify calls for sanctions for those abusing Jamaica's young aspirants.