The War Against Designer Steroids
Stories of famous athletes caught using performance enhancing steroids have become so numerous as to practically elicit a yawn. But taking steroids to improve muscle size and responsiveness is as unhealthy as it is illegal. Professional athletes take these kinds of drugs intentionally, but others may be taking a form of anabolic steroid without even realizing it.
Identifying Falsely Marketed Steroids
Thousands of American men and women purchase dietary supplements which claim to boost muscle. The supplements claim to be safe and, legally speaking, contain no banned ingredients. However, plenty of these sports supplements contain what are referred to as “designer steroids.”
Designer steroids, like designer drugs, are man-made substances that mimic the effects of known drugs. These chemical compounds are not identical to a certain illegal substance, but they’re similar enough to yield many, if not all, of the same effects. The benefit to designer steroids? They are not technically illegal so they can be sold with impunity. And many consumers have no idea that what they’re taking is essentially the same as a drug the U.S. has banned.
Designer steroids fall just outside the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) list of illegal compounds. Each time the DEA adds a new steroid compound to the list designers simply tweak the recipe enough to remain beyond the reach of the law. But a new bill would include more substances and make fighting these drugs easier.
What Is The DEA Doing About It?
It’s called the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island co-sponsored the bill which aims to close the existing loophole. The Act broadens the power of the DEA by adding 27 new substances to the list of controlled anabolic steroids.
It would also empower the DEA to place newly identified designer steroids on the list on a temporary basis so that swift action could be taken. The substances could then be added permanently to the list of prosecutable substances in due course.
Improving the agility of the DEA is crucial if progress is to be made in turning this problem around. Quick action and certain prosecution are the only things that will deter profiteering from the false marketing of “safe” supplements which, in fact, contain anabolic steroids.
Who’s Helping To Fuel The War Against These Drugs?
Not surprisingly, organizations which deal with the problem of doping and steroid-loaded supplements on a regular basis are one hundred percent behind the new bill. The group which monitors Olympic athletes is just one example of many whose jobs would be made easier if designer steroids were more readily punished.
But even the supplement industry itself has spoken up in favor of the legislation. Representatives of the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the United Natural Products Alliance both publicly supported the move. The integrity of the entire supplement industry is on the line when products are being used to mask the sale of illegal steroids.
The bill will help the DEA keep pace with the makers of these substances. But even as the government strengthens the DEA’s reach in one area, problems in another area are popping up.
A crop of exercise and workout supplements are being laced with compounds quite similar to methamphetamine or amphetamines. People looking for a healthful jolt to rev up their gym time are getting the equivalent of a controlled stimulant drug. This Act does not address the designer stimulant problem. That may require another visit to Capitol Hill.
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