Without question, when it comes to anabolic androgenic steroids, steroid abuse is one of the most important topics; however, it’s often one of the most misconstrued. In some ways, this can be a difficult thing to define; after all, depending on who you ask you’re bound to receive numerous varying answers. For decades, the topic of anabolic steroids has been one draped in steep emotion, and often logic is disregarded and hysteria ensues. As this is the common occurrence, it can be difficult to find the truth, but as with most things in life if we look at the topic of steroid abuse with unbiased eyes, if we focus on the facts in front of our face we will find the truth is not only simple, it’s been staring us in the face all along.
Ask the average guy to define anabolic steroid abuse and more than likely he’ll state any use is in-fact steroid abuse; this isn’t surprising. Since the late 1980’s, anabolic steroids have been portrayed as substances derived from the bowels of hell itself; just turn on the nightly news and if there’s an opportunity anabolic steroids will be discussed in a way that would petrify any man. Take the death of Lyle Alzado in the early 1990’s; the once fierce NFL monster would appear weak and frail on national TV shortly before his demise, and he would blame anabolic steroids. Of course, his own doctors would state there was no evidence of steroids contributing to his death, but the media locked on, and so did the public. The same can be said of the late WWE star Chris Benoit and his murder suicide; absolutely, anabolic steroids were found in his system, but so were other recreational and prescription drugs, but steroids took the blame.
When it comes to the two examples above, and there are others, there was never any focus on how much anabolic steroids were used; instead, the mere fact they were used was enough to fan the fire. Further, despite there being no scientific or medical evidence to support anabolic steroids and a direct link to death, the assumption is largely that all steroid use will potentially lead to this ultimate end. If you doubt this, consider the truth; with almost a hundred years of steroidal supplementation behind us there has yet to be a single recorded death directly linked to anabolic steroids. Even so, side-effects such as heart attacks, strokes and even cancer are often purported; in-fact, hepatitis and aids have in some cases been thrown into the mix. Make no mistake, there have been deaths of an indirect nature; if you inject anabolic steroids with a dirty needle, sure, you could get a horrible infection that could lead to many things, but this is not the fault of anabolic steroids; it’s your fault for being an idiot.
In order to add fuel to the fire, in-order to give you a better understanding consider NSAID painkillers; we’re talking about every day over the counter medications such as Aspirin. In the United States alone, NSAID’s claim the lives of more than 16,500 people each and every year yet no one is claiming NSAID’s are unsafe; anabolic steroids, you bet, it’s a different story.
By law, in the United States any anabolic steroid use that is without a prescription is deemed steroid abuse; regardless of any harm being caused this is the definition of the law. In the U.S., anabolic steroids are prescribed for specific medical treatments, low testosterone being the most common; however, they are classified as Schedule III controlled substances by way of the Steroid Control Act of 1990, later reinforced in 2004. By this legislation, any use of anabolic steroids, even if it is to simply treat a low testosterone condition is steroid abuse without a prescription; even if the same steroids, the same brands and same doses are being used. As for performance enhancement, by law this is always steroid abuse.
Through this law, the argument is fairly simple; anabolic steroids must be controlled due to the dangerous side-effects that may befall the user as well as those that may adversely affect bystanders through aggressive actions. Further, and this is a big one, anabolic steroids must be controlled in-order to protect the purity of sports as well as the impressionable minds of young children. Of course, as we will shortly see, there are some major holes in this way of thinking.
During the steroid hearings leading to the original Steroid Control Act, congress would call upon some of its most respected health and law enforcement agencies for testimony to support the impending legislation. In-order to Schedule anabolic steroids, congress needed proof that they were mentally or physically addictive as well as could cause the physical and mental problems purported. During this testimony, none was more telling than that of the American Medical Association (AMA), and their testimony would in-fact be nothing short of a giant middle-finger to congress. The AMA stated there was no evidence to support the requirements needed to classify anabolic steroids as Schedule III controlled substances, and on this basis would state “We vehemently oppose the ban;” a statement supported by the FDA, NIDA and even the DEA the very agency now charged with arresting those charged with steroid abuse.
As for the rest of the arguments by congress, the fact that anabolic steroids have been a part of American sports for decades was ignored; of course, what was also ignored was the right for private sporting bodies to determine what was right for them. Further, the legislation would be a direct infringement on the liberty of the individual, and as for children, we’ll delve more into this later on when we look at the direct liberty infringement.
When it comes to steroid abuse, there is only one logical definition, and for many, it is a hard one to swallow. Steroid abuse can only be logically defined by any use that causes you harm; if it does not cause you harm nor does it harm another there is no logical way to call this steroid abuse. Of course, as this is a logical definition and most prefer resting on emotional hysteria, it’s often ignored.
This brings us to an important question; is it possible to supplement with anabolic androgenic steroids in a non-abusive manner? Further, is it possible for performance enhancement to ever be anything but steroid abuse? When it comes to anabolic steroid use and therapeutic treatment, side-effects are rarely an issue of concern. For example, in the treatment of low testosterone you are merely replacing what your body is now lacking; you’re not introducing anything your body is unfamiliar with; in-fact, you are introducing hormones you essentially need. Then there are conditions such as muscle wasting diseases, osteoporosis and anemia; ask yourself this question, when you examine the actual possible side-effects of steroids which you can do here, what’s worse; a few bothersome effects or severe and even life-threatening ailments? If we have to answer this question for you, you’re already too far gone.
Then we have performance enhancement, and this is the big one; when it comes to performance enhancement we are supplementing with supraphysiological doses; doses far above what the body is accustomed to. Even so, we are not administering foreign substances; we are not administering hormones the body is unaccustomed to. Even so, side-effects are possible, but it has been proven time and time again that performance based supplementation is more than possible for healthy adult men side-effect free. If this is the case, and we assure you it is, how can this be labeled steroid abuse?
When it comes to use and avoiding abuse, there are a few key points that must be addressed. First and foremost is recognizing we are all unique individuals; we all respond to different things differently. Recall our discussion revolving around NSAID’s above; most people can take Aspirin, but others become very sick. Consider foods; most of us can eat eggs, most of us can drink milk and most of us can eat peanuts; however, there are those who cannot touch any of these things without becoming sick. Does this mean such items should be labeled as controlled substances; of course not, and no sane person would imply it, but when it comes to anabolic steroids once again hysteria reigns supreme.
At any rate, if steroid abuse is to be avoided, there are a few high notes, points of reference that must always be acknowledged before any supplementation plan begins, and if you can meet this list then and only then should supplementation be considered:
If you’re a healthy adult and you can do these things, and there’s no reason you can’t then there’s no reason for you to cross over the line of steroid abuse. Of course, you may have noticed we have yet to mention things like roid rage and that was not a mistake; we did not mention it because it does not exist. Roid rage has been scientifically proven time and time again to be a myth; yes, some steroids can increase aggression, but they cannot alter your mind, take away your free will or take away your ability to distinguish right from wrong. Further, it’s important to remember aggression in of itself is not a bad thing; what we do with aggression is what makes it right or wrong. For this reason, if you’re already a jackass without anabolic steroids, you bet, you’ll probably be a bigger jackass with them. Conversely, if you’re a sane and even headed individual you’ll be the same sane even headed individual; in this case, you’ll have more aggression to place in places where it belongs; such as the gym.
It’s often been stated, especially in the United States that the steroid laws are in place for our own protection; of course, it’s been argued by many that this is improper as it is an infringement on liberty. For example, if steroids can be classified as such, alcohol and tobacco should be the same. Further, if we’re protecting from steroid abuse in the name of public health, if this is the case, all fast food, deserts and junk foods of all types should be classified as Schedule III controlled substances. Of course, no one ever takes into consideration that the effects of anabolic steroids are far less dangerous than any of the items we just mentioned; in-fact, if you have the intelligence of a cardboard box and supplement with anabolic steroids you can actually greatly improve your quality of life.
Then we have the children, and when evidence supports the steroid hysteria being nothing but hysteria this is the weapon of choice for the anti-steroid crowd; we must protect the children. First and foremost, the protection of the children is in the hands of their families, not the government, and once again, if the impressionable minds of children are to be protected you’d need to Schedule all the items mentioned above; in-fact, you might want to Schedule video games and reality TV; talk about things that actually warp an impressionable mind. Make no mistake, we are in no way insinuating anything positive about adolescent steroid use; the evidence against such use is overwhelming as the developing androgen system of a child can easily be irreversibly damaged by steroid use; in-fact, this is what we’d call steroid abuse.
In the end, steroid abuse can only be defined by any use that causes you harm, and if it does not it cannot be labeled as such. Further, any definition that goes outside of this only sane thought, especially any law and especially in the United States is a direct infringement on liberty; after all, the United States is supposed to be the ultimate protector of liberty. Of course, this does not change the law, the law still states steroid abuse as depicted early on; however, recall the words of St. Augustine later echoed by Dr. Martin Luther King JR. more than a thousand years later; “An unjust law is no law.”