Steroids: Law and order
Last modified: Saturday, 20. June 2009 - 3:42 pm
The vast majority of AASs are coming in from outside the United States, by mail through illegal Internet sites. Prosecution in the United States is hampered since these sites are located in foreign countries. Smuggling of anabolic steroids across borders is a second source, with the Mexican border the site of many seizures. Steps being taken to curb these illegal entries include a ban on AASs in any amounts that cross the border. To combat the illegal shipment of AASs, Customs in 2000 reportedly confiscated approximately 10,000 packages, a rate similar to 1999.
Another issue is the dietary supplements commonly referred to as prohormones, which are touted as muscle builders and available legally at health food stores. In 1998 during the homerun race between baseball stars Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa these supplements were propelled into the media spotlight. Mark McGuire announced he was quitting his use of the most popular prohormone, androstenedione (or “andro”) to help boost his performance. DHEA is another popular one. Now under scrutiny by the DEA, FDA, and Federal Trade Commission, these prohormones are intermediates in the synthesis of testosterone, and can be converted to testosterone and other hormones in the body.
Banned substances must meet several criteria for anabolic steroids set up in the 1991 Controlled Substances Act. These dietary supplements have met all the criteria but one: whether or not they build muscle. A variety of current studies are underway, particularly to determine if these supplements convert to sufficient testosterone to stimulate muscle growth. If research shows this to be true, the DEA is expected to add them to the list of banned substances, since substantial quantities would likely produce the same side effects as AASs.