Aims. The purpose was to assess the importance of risk factors such as socio-demographics, sports activities, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, use of certain psychotropic substances and violence in the use of doping agents in adolescents. Design. Cross-sectional survey using anonymous closed response questionnaire. Setting. Eight senior high schools in Uppsala, Sweden. Participants. A total of 2742 senior high school students; 1592 were in their first year (aged 16-17 years) and 1150 in their third (aged 18-19 years). Findings. Multiple logistic regression analyses revealed that strength training, tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, truancy at least once a week and living alone were significantly independently associated in the use of doping agents. Further, the study showed that use of cannabis oil, LSD, amphetamine and opioids were related specifically to anabolic-androgenic steroid use. Conclusions. Use of doping agents probably involves more than a desire to enhance appearance or sports performance and appears to have much in common with use of alcohol, tobacco and psychotropic drugs.