What is Succeed Clean?

Note: The CCES uses appearance and performance “enhancing” drugs because it is a common industry term, however we believe appearance “altering” and performance enhancing drugs is a more appropriate description.

Succeed Clean is a program focused on educating students and stakeholders about appearance- and performance-enhancing drugs (APEDs). It was developed based on the assumption that with knowledge, students will make more informed choices about their health and well-being.

The key components of the program include:

  1. High school and elementary school presentations by university and community athletes trained to deliver the Succeed Clean message.
  2. Community conversations involving facilitated discussions with adult influencers and stakeholders (e.g.; coaches, parents, teachers) about issues related to steroids and other appearance and performance enhancers.
  3. Research conducted by the Social Innovation Research Group (SIRG) and the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Why Succeed Clean?

Succeed Clean was developed following a high profile steroid issue with the football program at the University of Waterloo. In 2010, the football program was suspended following a team-wide test that revealed eight adverse results for steroid use by team members. Through subsequent investigation, national and provincial task forces, expert consultation and comprehensive research, it was determined that there was a need for targeted educational strategies for students that focused on APEDs.

Furthermore, it was evident that there was a lack of research in Canada concerning attitudes, awareness and use associated with APEDs, and Succeed Clean created an opportunity to find out more about how young people think about them.

In addition to educational programming and research, it was determined that additional capacity should be developed to address this issue. An asset-based community development approach was used in community conversations with adult influencers to help ensure consistent, reliable, sustainable messaging about APEDs education that was disseminated community-wide.

This short video depicts some examples of narratives discussed in the Succeed Clean program:

School Presentations

Succeed Clean peer mentors are university, junior, provincial, national and/or community athletes trained to speak to other young people about APEDs and the Succeed Clean message. They visit elementary and high schools in their communities to talk about their personal experiences and provide reliable information about APEDs in a dynamic, fun and interactive environment. Peer mentors also provide alternative strategies for healthy living. This preventative approach aims to intervene with children and youth before APEDs become an issue by dispelling myths and misunderstandings through a peer-mentor strategy. 

Community Conversations

In addition to school presentations, Succeed Clean hosts “community conversations” for a variety of people including parents, sport volunteers, educators, community group members and local business leaders. These moderated sessions aim to better understand the knowledge and attitudes among adult influencers about APEDs. These sessions inspired the development of community-based resources designed to help educate both youth and adults about these substances.


Students who attend presentations can opt in to the research component of the program which involves completing pre- and post-surveys to assess their experiences and attitudes related to APEDs, what they learned from the presentations, and how they rated the experience. There is growing research in the U.S. about attitudes and patterns of use regarding APEDs among youth, however, Canadian data is currently lacking. The research completed by Wilfrid Laurier University is helping to fill that gap.

Who's Involved?

The initial pilot program was a collaboration involving the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, the Waterloo Regional Police Service and the Kitchener Rangers hockey team. The Phase 2 pilot saw the Succeed Clean program expand into 10 additional communities across Ontario, including: Hamilton, London, Niagara Region, Ottawa, Peterborough, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Windsor and York, as well as one provincial sport organization, Rugby Ontario. Both pilots were funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Pilot Results

During the first Succeed Clean pilot, a total of 21 presentations were delivered to 2,850 students in elementary and high schools in the Kitchener-Waterloo region. Six facilitated community discussions took place with a total of 310 adult influencers and stakeholders. The program successfully engaged students through the presenters, the presentation materials and the stories that were shared. The pre- and post-presentation comparisons found that participants:

  • Increased their understanding of the potential risks of supplements;
  • Increased their knowledge about the side effects of steroids;
  • Were less willing to take an APED; and
  • Increased knowledge about healthy ways to improve their health and performance

Following the successes of the Kitchener-Waterloo pilot, in the phase two during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years, Succeed Clean peer mentors delivered 254 presentations reaching 12,985 students and athletes. 



How to get involved?

The CCES is currently exploring options to further expand the Succeed Clean program. Please contact if you would like to get involved or have questions.



See Also...

Summit on APEDs and Youth

On April 22, 2015, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) and its partners hosted a free, half-day Summit on Appearance- and Performance-Enhancing Drugs (APEDs) and Youth.

Succeed Clean – performance enhancing drug outreach program – making an impact in schools

(Ottawa, Ontario – October 29, 2013) – The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), in partnership with the Waterloo Regional Police Service, the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University...

Succeed Clean Outreach Program Launches in Waterloo

(Ottawa, Ontario – February 27, 2013) – The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), in partnership with the Waterloo Regional Police Service, the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier...

CCES to launch appearance- and performance-enhancing drug prevention program in Kitchener-Waterloo schools thanks to $150,000 OTF Grant

(Ottawa, Ontario – October 1, 2012) – Thanks to a $150,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) is pleased to announce its collaboration...