“During deliberations, the American Medical Association (AMA), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) all opposed listing anabolic steroids as controlled substances, citing the fact that use of these hormones does not lead to the physical or psychological dependence required for such scheduling under the Controlled Substance Act. Nevertheless, anabolic steroids were added to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act in the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990.” (1)
“We’re told anabolic steroids cause serious health risk yet no scientific evidence exist to even begin to infer serious health risk exist. We are told anabolic steroids cause “Roid Rage” yet almost every study done shows the results to be too small to measure. We are told anabolic steroid use can lead to suicide yet no credible scientific or medical evidence exist to connect this claim.” (2)
There’s No Drug to Fix Ignorance
You go flip on the news and what do you see? Another top level athlete getting busted for Anabolic Steroids. Why would anyone use such dangerous drugs that have horrible side effects and turn you into a raging monster? The answer is simple; The drugs are just the opposite. The media has blown everything out of proportion and turned what could be our most promising breakthrough in medical technology into the most hated and misunderstood set of drugs in the pharmaceutical industry.
To say these drugs are safe is a contextual claim. Athlete A, a healthy male over 18 years of age, might take a dose of 500-1000mg of Testosterone, the most common injectable steroid. Over a few months he will begin to notice increased musculature, sex drive, and fat loss if he continues eating what he used to maintain his weight. Yes, his body will naturally stop producing Testosterone, but this is a completely and easily reversible process. All he has to do is come off the drug and the body will kick the production back in again. If there is any testicular shrinkage, it will be so mild that he will barely notice. This, is likely all that will happen to him. This is an example of how steroids themselves are safe when used correctly.
Athlete B, on the other hand is a different story. Athlete B is an alcoholic who eats a poor diet and is prone to all sorts of diseases. He is discouraged by his lack of physique progress due to his poor lifestyle choices. He decides to use steroids as a crutch for his bad habbits, and takes 10 times the dose of athlete A. He happens to be prone to acne and has a family history of male pattern baldness. The steroids accelarate this process and he finds that his hair is falling out and acne has erupted all over his back. His skin becomes oily and his testicles are shrinking quickly. Due to his liver already being stressed, he develops cihrrosis. Despite these problems, he decides to stay on the drugs for 10 years straight at that extreme dose. He then develops testicular cancer and has to get both testicles removed. By now his acne scarring is so bad he cannot even take his shirt off in public. He is completely bald and sterile. His heart is so stressed by his sudden surge of tissue growth to support combined with his poor diet that he suffers a minor heart attack. He was already an aggressive guy to begin with and never had much personal moral code growing up so he becomes fed up with life; waking up bald, sterile, and scarred every morning. He then takes out his frustration by physically abusing his wife. He then gets sent to jail and steroids are confiscated from his residence.
This is where things start getting really interesting. The media sees a bald, scarred, abnormaly muscular man in handcuffs with pictures of the confiscated drugs and starts jumping to conclusions. Was it really the drugs that ruined this man’s life? Was it really steroid induced rage “roid rage” that caused him to take out his aggression on his significant other? The answer is no.
The proof is in Athlete A. The drugs themselves are not inherently dangerous. It is the user who is to blame for the negative outcomes of the drugs. Just like anything else in life, enough of a good thing can be a bad thing. For a healthy adult male looking to gain athletic performance or a better physique, Anabolic Steroids are a relatively safe way to do so. There is one little problem, however.
It just so happens that the drugs have become a Schedule III controlled substance against the recommendations of the American Medical Association (AMA), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Purchasing or Distributing Anabolic Steroids may lead to prison time.
At the end of all this, it appears that anabolic steroids are bad because they are bad and that is why they are bad. The same illogical argument used by Congress to ban them years ago. So why aren’t they legal? The ethics of anabolic steroids usually take up 95% of the debate leaving 5% for some facts and more likely misinformation.
Some common concerns are an unlevel playing field, rewarding drugs, not talent, and giving kids the “wrong idea.” I am about to decimate these three arguments with a little dose of logic. First, the idea that there is currently a level playing field couldn’t be more laughable. One word dismantles that contention; genetics. Before athlete A and B ever used anabolic steroids they walked around with varying levels of anabolic hormones. Athlete A might have had 3 times the natural testosterone as Athlete B. According to Vermuelen, A. (1996), Male subjects between the ages of 25 and 29 had an average total Testosterone level of 669ng/dl. The 5th percentile had a level of 388ng/dl, whereas the 95th percentile had a level of 1005ng/dl! That’s a monstrous discrepancy! Let’s say Athlete A was in the 95th percentile, with a level of 1005ng/dl and Athlete B was in the 5th percentile at 388ng/dl. Let’s say athlete B takes enough synthetic Testosterone to get his total up to 1005ng/dl, to match athlete A. Athlete B would still be considered to have an unfair advantage by the media simply becuse he takes the drugs, even though he and athlete A had the same levels. Now this may be an unrealistic example, but this is only oney of man anabolic hormones that have a significant discrepancy. In this case, taking steroids actually would have created more of a level playing field.
I’ll destroy the second argument by giving myself as an example. Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be a basketball star. I was terrible at coordination and just couldn’t get good enough to excel. If I had juiced throughout high school, I would have still been an awful player, I just would have been a more muscular one.
The last argument about giving kids the “wrong idea” I find illogical. What the enhanced athletes are teaching kids is to use every edge available to them to achieve their dreams. This is how it’s done in the real world. Maybe congress and the media would change their view if they got a little truth injection themselves.
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