Get Your Free Platinum Site! | Platinum Sites Help | Manage Your Site

ANABOLIC STEROIDS, BODYBUILDING AND THE LAW




    [The interview below is an edited version of one that appeared recently as a three part series in a popular online bodybuilding magazine. It is intended for informational purposes only, not as legal advice.]

    INTERVIEW WITH RICK COLLINS, J.D.
    FIFTY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS WITH THE AUTHOR OF STEROIDLAW.COM

    Copyright 1999 by Rick Collins. All rights reserved.

    1) You've been practicing law for fifteen years. Tell us a little about your legal career.

    I was lucky enough to receive a full academic scholarship to law school. That really helped, as I wasn't a rich kid and law school is ridiculously expensive. After graduation, I served as a criminal prosecutor for five years - but I never prosecuted anybody for anabolic steroids as it was before steroids were classified as controlled substances in New York. Since then, I've been defending people accused of crimes in New York state and federal courts through my law firm, Collins, McDonald & Gann. My partners, Marc Gann and Bob McDonald, are terrific guys and great lawyers. We are each officers, chairpersons or active members in numerous criminal bar associations. We also teach trial practice skills at a law school and frequently lecture on criminal defense to groups of other attorneys. We're admitted to practice in numerous courts, including the New York and Maryland state courts, the Federal Courts of the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, and the United States Supreme Court. For more information about my firm, including samples of the many interesting cases we've defended, check out our web site at www.cmgesq.com.


    2) Are you a bodybuilder?

    I remember seeing a Muscle Builder and Power magazine when I was in high school and thinking, "that's the way I want to look." I joined a hard-core gym in Queens, New York, and never looked back. By the time I was nineteen, I was competing in bodybuilding contests and working my way through college as a nightclub bouncer and health club instructor. It was terrific. Of course, that was long ago -- before the law practice, lovely wife Kathy, and two beautiful kids, Lauren and Caitlin. But I've trained very consistently throughout these last twenty years. I've stayed connected to the world of bodybuilding, and still read the magazines and follow the latest trends and events in the sport. A few years ago I became a certified trainer and co-founded a personal training company, Innovation Fitness, Inc., which I managed in addition to my law practice. For an overworked old geezer, I still train as heavy as I can. The Gold's Gym where I work out is one of the most serious and best-equipped on the East Coast. I currently have dedicated and hard-core training partners, "T.C." Tod and Heavy J., and we push each other to the limits. For example, they somehow got these old bones of mine to grind out five reps at 405 pounds in the bench-press at a body weight under 225. They must be trying to kill me.


    3) Why and how did you become interested in cases involving anabolic steroids?

    I was a bodybuilder long before I was a lawyer. Many of my gym peers and some of my close friends used anabolic steroids. I did a lot of research on steroids even before they were controlled substances, back when the medical establishment and people like Bob Goldman were saying they didn't work. Later, as a defense lawyer, it troubled me to see some prosecutors and judges viewing steroid users in the same manner as crack cocaine and heroin users. I started analyzing the state and federal laws and the underlying body of medical literature in even greater detail, and ultimately put www.steroidlaw.com on the web to help educate a misinformed public on this topic.


    4) Can you tell us about your web site?

    The Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990 became federal law shortly after I became a criminal defense attorney. New York State enacted similar legislation. As I handled a few cases brought under these statutes, two things became obvious to me. One was that the government was viewing steroids as if they were among the very deadliest of drugs mostly because of sensationalistic media scare stories. The other thing was that most individuals using steroids illegally had no idea about the serious legal consequences that they would face if they got caught. I authored the web site to educate and inform in an honest, unbiased way. It covers the health risks as well as the legal risks associated with steroid use. I don't consider myself to be "pro-steroid." Like all prescription medications, steroids can have side effects, including serious ones. I am opposed to their use by adolescents or by dishonest athletes in drug-tested sporting events. While I personally believe that informed and responsible adults should be allowed access to the medically supervised administration of anabolic steroids for cosmetic enhancement, our present laws are quite to the contrary. Accordingly, I must strongly advise against using steroids in violation of our current laws.


    5) How many steroid related cases have you been involved in at any level?

    I've represented or consulted with dozens of clients regarding anabolic steroid legal issues. The more you work in a particular area, the more clients with problems in that area seek you out. In addition to helping individuals with anabolic steroid legal difficulties, I've assisted various companies and institutions. For example, I've been retained by various business entities involved in the distribution of performance enhancement and anti-aging supplements. I was consulted by the internal affairs division of a major metropolitan police department concerned about the legal ramifications of improper actions by officers using steroids -- the psychological "roid rage" effects - and considering implementing a procedure of steroid testing. I truly enjoy helping fellow bodybuilders and educating the general public - and other lawyers -- on the topic of steroids. Most lawyers, even most criminal defense lawyers, never handle an anabolic steroid case in their entire careers. Of course, as a busy criminal lawyer, the overwhelming majority of my own practice is still devoted to the more common criminal defense cases - (non-steroid) drug sales and possessions, drunk driving charges, white collar crime, etc.


    6) Do you handle steroid cases throughout the country?

    While I am admitted to practice in various federal courts, I am unable to personally represent all those athletes who request my services. If requested, I will offer my help as a consultant on steroid cases, assisting local counsel (including appointed counsel) in identifying the factual and legal issues, reviewing lab reports, engaging expert services where necessary, etc. I charge on an hourly basis for my investment of time, and in instances of extremely special hardship, I have accepted significantly reduced rates. Most lawyers know absolutely nothing about steroids. They think "primo" is how a surfer might describe good pizza! If you're charged with possessing or selling a substance and you have to explain to your own lawyer what it is, that's a problem. No matter what a client says, some lawyers will still think steroids are just like cocaine and heroin. Part of my involvement in many cases is to educate the lawyer. It's much more effective coming colleague to colleague than client to lawyer.


    7) How and when did steroids become controlled substances in the United States?

    Back in the 1970's and 1980's, federal regulation of anabolic steroids came under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Anabolic steroids were required to be prescribed and dispensed by licensed physicians but were not scheduled as controlled substances. It is often overlooked, however, that black market drug trafficking of anabolic steroids was already illegal before anabolics became classified as controlled substances. Under 1988 legislation amending the Food and Drug Act, criminal penalties were specifically set forth for traffickers in anabolic steroids for non-medical reasons. This Anti-Drug Abuse Act would have enabled effective enforcement against those illegally dispensing steroids and black market dealers, including application of federal forfeiture laws, without classifying steroids as controlled substances. But in the mid-1980's, media reports of the increasing use of anabolic steroids in sports, including a "silent epidemic" of high school steroid use, came to the attention of the U.S. government. Congress grew particularly concerned with steroid use among high school students and among top amateur athletes. Certain members representing only a small minority of the medical community began suggesting controlled substance status for anabolic steroids. Between 1988 and 1990, Congressional hearings were held to determine whether the Controlled Substances Act should be amended to include anabolic steroids along with more serious drugs like cocaine and heroin. The majority of witnesses who testified, including medical professionals and representatives of regulatory agencies (including the FDA, the DEA and the National Institute on Drug Abuse) recommended against the proposed amendment to the law. Even the American Medical Association repeatedly and vehemently opposed it, maintaining that steroid abuse does not lead to the physical or psychological dependence required for scheduling under the Controlled Substances Act!


    8) If most of the experts were against scheduling steroids as controlled substances, why did Congress do it?

    A review of the transcripts of the hearings suggests that health risk concerns were secondary considerations to Congress. The most influential witnesses who testified were representatives from either amateur or professional athletics. Their testimony, and apparently Congress' main concern, focused on legislating a solution to athletes who "cheated" with steroids in sports competitions. Congress devised a solution - amending the Controlled Substances Act - and planned to proceed with or without the blessing of the DEA or the medical community. As a result, steroids stand out as an anomaly among the codeine derivatives, central nervous system depressants, and stimulants that form the rest of the Schedule III substances. The Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990 was signed into law by President Bush as part of the Omnibus Crime Control Bill. The law applies in every federal court across the country. It places steroids in the same legal class - Schedule III -- as amphetamines, methamphetamines, opium and morphine.


    9) What sorts of punishments are called for under the Control Act?

    Simple possession of any Schedule III substance is a federal offense punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a minimum fine of $1,000. Simple possession by a person with a previous conviction for certain offenses, including any drug or narcotic crimes, must get imprisonment of at least 15 days and up to two years, and a minimum fine of $2,500. Individuals with two or more such previous convictions face imprisonment of not less than 90 days but not more than three years, and a minimum fine of $5,000, just for simply possessing. Selling steroids, or possessing them with intent to sell, is a federal felony. An individual who sells steroids, or possesses with intent to sell, is punishable by up to five years in prison (with at least two additional years of supervised release) and/or a $250,000 fine. An individual who commits such a violation after a prior conviction for a drug offense faces up to ten years imprisonment (with at least four additional years of special parole) and/or increased fines. Those convicted of steroid trafficking are subject to punishment under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which link the seriousness of the offense to the quantity of steroids involved. The application of these Guidelines to anabolic steroid cases, including real world examples, will be explored in a future article.


    10) What about state laws involving anabolic steroids?

    During 1989 and 1990, many states reclassified anabolic steroids to become controlled substances under state law. A 1991 survey of anabolic steroid state legislation found that approximately twenty-two states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas) had tightened control over steroids in the preceding two years. State laws differ as to the classification level for anabolic steroids, providing for a wide range of penalties. The states also differ in their approach to controlling anabolics. Some, such as Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas and Michigan, require the posting of notices designed for public education as to the dangers of illegal use. Delaware, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas have promulgated rules as to the prescription of anabolic steroids, warning practitioners against dispensation for non-medical use. In New York State, anabolic steroids are classified as Schedule II (higher than the federal standard) controlled substances, and human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) is a controlled substance (it is not scheduled federally). Simple possession of a controlled substance can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor criminal offense under New York law, punishable by up to one year in jail. Of course, few if any first-time possession offenders are sentenced to jail time. Sale of anabolic steroids is a felony in New York, regardless of the quantity sold. In New York, "sell" is defined to include simply giving away as well as the act of offering or agreeing to sell. Sale of steroids is punishable by up to seven years in prison. Even gainfully employed, first-time offenders who sell steroids can in many parts of New York State serve some jail time, be placed on five years of supervision by the local probation department, lose their license to drive a car or own a gun, and suffer the lifelong stigma of a felony drug sale conviction.


    11) How is one most likely to get arrested for steroids?

    Probably for selling them to someone who has his own legal problems and is secretly cooperating with law enforcement. You might get a call from an old gym acquaintance asking if you can get him a few vials of steroids. A meeting will be arranged, your old pal will bring along an undercover cop, and you'll be arrested on the spot or after a few further deals. Under federal law and the laws of many states, selling steroids, or possessing them with intent to sell, is a felony. Of course, whether an individual serves time in jail depends upon numerous factors including but not limited to the person's past criminal history, the strength of the prosecution's case, the person's role in the offense, and how effectively the case is either negotiated or litigated by defense counsel.


    12) Do many individuals who get arrested cooperate with the police?

    People who get arrested for controlled substances are often pressured to work with the agents who arrested them or with other law enforcement authorities to assist in the identification, investigation, arrest and prosecution of others involved in criminal activity. Known to law enforcement as "confidential informants" (but to their former friends and associates as "rats" and "snitches"), they cooperate in return for more lenient plea or sentence bargains. It is not uncommon for the police or federal agents to squeeze the many "small fish" they arrest into giving up their sources, leading to the arrests of bigger fish who, in turn, are squeezed to give up their sources. Whether the police seek to recruit a person as an informant depends upon a combination of many factors. Deciding whether it is something an arrested person should consider doing requires a risk-to-benefit analysis and extensive consultation with an experienced criminal lawyer.


    13) What is police "entrapment"?

    Simply put, entrapment refers to a legal defense where a person commits a crime solely because he was actively pressured by the police to do it. Each state has its own statutes and case law dealing with this issue. Under the New York state law, for example, entrapment is an affirmative defense when a person is pressured by the police or their agents to commit a crime just for the purpose of arresting him, and when the methods used by the police are such as to create a substantial risk that the offense would be committed by a person not otherwise disposed to commit it. This defense protects people who are not predisposed to committing a crime, but who give in only because of the nature and persistence of police pressure. It is an affirmative defense because the accused has the burden of proving it by a preponderance of the evidence. Just giving a person the opportunity to commit a crime (such as merely asking a person to sell a controlled substance) is not entrapment. Moreover, undercover police are lawfully entitled to lie while acting undercover. So asking, "Are you a cop?" before making a sale of anabolic steroids will not get the case thrown out of court. An example of a viable entrapment defense would be where a confidential informant makes repeated and persistent requests over a course of months to a person who has never sold steroids before, urging him to sell a quantity of steroids that had been abandoned in his room by a former roommate.


    14) Aside from "being involved" with steroids, what is the biggest mistake people make when they are caught by law enforcement?

    The biggest mistake is talking to the police! While most people are well aware that if they are a criminal suspect it is not in their best interest to talk to law enforcement without a lawyer present, the overwhelming majority of folks do it anyway. Often police contact comes unexpectedly, catching the person off guard. In the swirling tornado of fear and confusion that accompanies police interrogation, people somehow think "fessing up" will help them. Sadly, I've seen many situations where the police had a marginal case at best at the time they began questioning, but by the time they're finished the suspect has buried himself. Law enforcement agents are quite skilled at eliciting incriminating statements. My advice for any person who finds him or herself surrounded by law enforcement is never, ever to speak until you've contacted a lawyer. Once you request a lawyer and refuse to talk to the police without one, the police are legally prohibited from questioning you further. Don't allow yourself to be bullied or threatened. Don't believe the "good cop" who suggests "cooperating" without a lawyer's advice in return for leniency. Just refuse to speak to them at all, refuse to consent to them entering or searching without a warrant, and immediately talk to a good criminal defense lawyer in your area. Deciding whether to cooperate or not should be with an attorney's advice.


    15) What sort of defenses can be raised to defend steroid cases?

    There are many ways to handle these cases, and each case is different. The government's evidence must be carefully assessed for sufficiency. Any weaknesses must be thoroughly exploited. For example, in a charge of receiving steroids by mail order, the nature and extent of the proof indicating that the accused ordered the package, knew its contents or intended to receive it must be examined in painstaking detail. It is also most important to scrutinize the legality of the actions by law enforcement to seek bases upon which to suppress evidence. Illegal search and seizure can be a key issue, for example, or violation of rights under the Fifth Amendment (right to remain silent) or Sixth Amendment (right to counsel). Further, defects or improprieties in the grand jury presentment can be raised as a basis for dismissing the indictment. Issues such as entrapment and agency should also be evaluated if the circumstances warrant.


    16) Any "secret weapons" that can be used as defenses?

    A recent case in the Ninth Circuit demonstrates how imaginative defense counsel can sometimes get an otherwise airtight case tossed out by finding a previously undiscovered loophole. The facts of the case involved a whole lot of steroids that were found by Customs in a car at a border crossing. At trial, the government presented their customary evidence in a possession of steroids case, including the typical testimony of a chemist describing the specific drugs as "anabolic steroids." But an unusual and unprecedented defense was raised that challenged the way the government has been proving these cases for nearly ten years. On appeal, this ridiculously obvious but previously overlooked defense was accepted and the conviction was overturned. I can't go into too much more detail on this, because the application of this defense in future cases will be based on the surprise factor. As news of this ruling gradually spreads, it is likely that future prosecutions will include additional evidence to address the insufficiency and that Congress and state legislatures may act to modify the statutes. That's all I can say, except that the relevant federal statute is Title 21 of the United States Code section 802(41)(A).


    17) What are the chances of being arrested just for personal use possession?

    While most steroid investigations by law enforcement target sellers, arrests for personal possession do occur. Often, these arrests arise out of car stops for traffic violations and the steroids are found during a search of the car. For example, I recently defended a case where a police officer stopped my client for speeding, discovered he had a suspended driver's license, and found a few syringes during a search of the car. In New York, the possession of hypodermic instruments is a misdemeanor, and my client was arrested on the spot. Fortunately for the client, the police overlooked a hefty stash of anabolics that was more carefully concealed. While the vast majority of users probably don't get caught, you could be one of the unlucky few. Those who do get caught can suffer serious consequences, and not limited to just the possibility of jail.


    18) What sort of other consequences?

    The consequences of an arrest include being handcuffed, fingerprinted, and hauled before a judge, while the effects of a criminal conviction may include preventing or interfering with future employment opportunities in many fields such as law enforcement. As an Ohio prosecutor points out, "the sanctions for the use of anabolic steroids can stretch beyond those which are commonly presumed by lay persons: jail, fines, court costs, and attorney fees. It is often those additional sanctions which can affect a user's future endeavors, and such sanctions must be given adequate consideration in determining whether or not to use [steroids]." In both Ohio and New York, anyone convicted of a controlled substance misdemeanor or felony, including the simple possession of anabolic steroids, faces mandatory driver's license suspension (a personal nightmare for those who live in rural and suburban areas). Members of certain professions involving licensing (physicians, lawyers, dentists, pharmacists, teachers, nurses, cosmetologists, public accountants, architects, auctioneers, barbers, and licensed counselors, just to name a few) can expect a conviction to be reported to their state licensing authority, placing current employment in jeopardy. A drug conviction can also be a bar to the ability to own a firearm.


    19) How about the possibility of getting arrested for buying steroids by mail order?

    Yes, this is an increasingly common way people get busted and I've been getting more questions about this situation than any other. As we all know, federal law enforcement authorities monitor the international and domestic mails. The Customs Mail Division inspects packages from outside the States and the Postal Inspector inspects domestic parcels. Suspicious packages can be opened and examined. Packages from "hot" areas like Thailand, Eastern Europe and Mexico are reportedly often targeted. Among domestic parcels, those from California and the Southwest to sites on the East Coast can reportedly attract attention. The government keeps records of addresses known to be connected with steroids based upon prior shipments and tries to intercept parcels bearing these origin or destination addresses. Obviously, the sheer volume of mail makes it difficult to inspect every package, and many get through. But there is most certainly a risk. Beware!


    20) Let's talk more about mail order steroids. What happens if Customs identifies the contents of an international package as being steroids?

    Importing controlled substances is a federal crime. Customs will hold or "seize" the package and exercise one of two options. The first option is to send a "seizure letter" on "Department of the Treasury, U.S. Customs Service" letterhead to the designated recipient offering the chance to challenge the seizure. If the designated recipient doesn't respond, there will generally be no follow-up (although the addresses of origin and destination and designated recipient's name will be entered into the Customs computerized data system for future reference). A designated recipient who attempts to challenge the seizure could walk himself into an arrest.


    21) The second option would be a controlled delivery of the parcel?

    Exactly. Customs will enlist the involvement of the DEA and arrange for a federal agent posing as a courier or letter carrier to attempt delivery of the package, supported by a hidden back-up team of agents. Once the package is accepted, the agents move in to arrest the recipient, question him and search his home. In situations where a mail drop or post office box is the destination, agents will invent some ruse to force the intended recipient to come out and personally claim the package, or, if necessary, will stake out the scene to see who comes to pick it up. Which of the two options is selected in any given case depends upon numerous factors. The larger the size of the shipment (distribution amounts versus personal use quantities) the more likely that the government will invest its resources toward an investigation and arrest. A record of prior shipments to the destination address will also encourage the more aggressive approach. Also, the location of the recipient has significance. Due to the heavy narcotics traffic in New York, the Customs offices in the metropolitan area are less likely to arrest for small packages of anabolics (although it does sometimes happen) than agents in other states such as Alabama and Mississippi, for example, who have a lot more time on their hands. After the arrest, the recipient can be charged in state or federal court.


    22) Can a person be prosecuted even if he doesn't sign for the package?

    Signing for or otherwise accepting the package provides a stronger case for the government by demonstrating the person's intent to receive it. I have seen situations where the package was not signed for, but the feds made an arrest anyway, especially when there was other evidence linking the accused to the package. For example, a recent and still pending case involves a package of steroids bearing a phony name which was delivered to an office with numerous employees. Federal agents arrived with the package, seeking someone to claim it. The only bodybuilder in the company was summoned and questioned, making a few regrettable oral statements about past steroid use with a valid prescription. While he emphatically denied knowing anything about the package, he was arrested anyway. If a person categorically refuses the package and states that he didn't order it, and the government lacks other evidence linking him to it, the feds can be prevented from making a case. Some importers have developed practices in an effort to weaken any potential prosecutions, such as always printing "refused," "return to sender," or "addressee unknown" on the package and leaving it unopened on the front porch. Obviously, if one is contacted by law enforcement authorities, it is crucial to refuse any comment and immediately consult a criminal lawyer. Again, don't speak with the police without a lawyer!


    23) What is the legality of mail order importing non-controlled substances like clomid, tamoxifen and clenbuterol?

    Many of the ancillary medications used by bodybuilders to stimulate natural testosterone production, treat acne or control gynecomastia are prescription drugs. As such, they fall under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which oversees extensive regulations dealing with all aspects of prescription medications. As stated in its web site, the FDA's mission "is to enforce the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and other laws which are designed to protect consumers' health, safety, and pocketbook. These laws apply equally to domestic and imported products." Prescription drugs must be FDA-approved for use in the U.S. Any drugs, including foreign-made versions of U.S. approved drugs that have not received FDA approval to demonstrate compliance with federal requirements for safety and effectiveness are called unapproved new drugs.


    24) What if the drugs are shipped with a foreign prescription?

    The FDA focuses on the product itself; therefore, issues regarding the presence, validity or absence of a prescription are irrelevant. Non-approved medications are subject to being detained or refused entry into the U.S. as a violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. As a practical matter, non-approved medications include most pharmaceuticals that can be imported into the country. For example, foreign versions of approved U.S. drugs are by definition non-approved. So foreign-made tamoxifen would be refused. If no approved American version of a drug exists, the foreign product is generally non-approved for a whole list of reasons from questionable safety and effectiveness to mislabeling (if the label is not in English, the medication is non-approved). So clenbuterol would be refused. Sometimes the FDA issues special "import alerts" to authorize automatic detention (now called, Detention Without Physical Examination) of certain substances (examples are canthaxanthin oral tanning tablets and, yes, clenbuterol).


    25) How does the FDA actually go about seizing a package of non-controlled pharmaceuticals coming from overseas by mail?

    While many if not most clandestine shipments escape detection, many others are flagged and set aside by Customs inspectors. Customs will notify the FDA of the entry, and the FDA will generally examine the shipment to determine if its contents violate the law. In the metropolitan New York area, for example, the detected shipments are set aside by Customs officials for an FDA field representative who comes by once or twice a week.
    If the FDA detains the shipment, it will send a letter to the addressee on FDA letterhead stating, in part:
    A mail shipment addressed to you of a drug from a foreign country is being detained at the U.S. Post Office. All products of this kind must meet requirements of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act which is designed to protect you from products that have not been shown to be safe and effective and that are not labeled in a truthful, accurate and non-misleading manner.
    The letter informs that the FDA will consider releasing the product to the addressee if a statement is submitted with documentation that the product meets the requirements of the FDA's discretionary guidance on personal use importation of unapproved new drugs. Alternatively, the addressee may disregard the notice and give up any claim to the shipment. Of course, this is what most bodybuilders do.


    26) What are the requirements of this "personal use" exception for unapproved new drugs?

    It's a discretionary guidance, not a legal exception as is commonly believed. FDA officials have broad power to detain and refuse unapproved new drugs. But they can exercise enforcement discretion on a case-by-case basis particularly in personal use (three-month supply) situations involving less controversial medicines that are not controlled substances. The FDA, in its Regulation Procedures Manual, has developed a guidance setting forth its enforcement priorities with respect to personal use importation of unapproved new drugs. The guidance identifies circumstances in which the FDA may consider exercising enforcement discretion and refrain from taking legal action against illegally imported drugs. These circumstances are as follows: 1) the intended use of the drug is unapproved and for a serious condition for which effective treatment may not be available domestically either through commercial or clinical means; 2) there is no known commercialization or promotion to persons residing in the U.S. by those involved in the distribution of the product at issue; 3) the product is considered not to represent an unreasonable risk; and 4) the individual seeking to import the product affirms in writing that it is for the patient's own use (generally not more than a 3 month supply) and provides the name and address of the doctor licensed in the U.S. responsible for his or her treatment with the product, or provides evidence that the product is for the continuation of treatment begun in a foreign country. The guidance is not, however, a free license to import unapproved (and therefore illegal) drugs even in small personal use amounts. Even if all of the circumstances noted in the guidance are present, the drugs remain illegal and the FDA may decide that such drugs should be refused entry or seized. The intent of the personal use importation guidance is to save FDA resources and to generally permit, through the exercise of enforcement discretion, medical treatments sought by individuals that are not otherwise available in the U.S. Thus, foreign-made chemical versions of drugs available in the U.S. are not intended to be covered by the policy. For example, a person might decide that his FDA-approved tamoxifen is cheaper in Mexico, and attempt to import the unapproved version of the drug. As the FDA cannot assure proper manufacturing, safety and effectiveness, and as the product is available in the U.S., the guidance would not apply.


    27) What about the proliferation of "on-line" pharmacies that are increasingly popular sources of bodybuilding pharmaceuticals?

    This is an area of intense governmental interest. The DEA has at least thirty people on a variety of committees working to come up with comprehensive policies and protocols regarding on-line pharmacies. As you know, the DEA generally concerns itself only with drugs that are scheduled as controlled substances. A DEA Diversion spokeswoman I consulted with recently stated that the DEA views on-line pharmaceutical suppliers to fall into three general categories. The first category is the legitimate mail order pharmacy, filling valid prescriptions in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations. The DEA has no interest in these entities. The second category is the "invisible doctor" scenario, where an unseen physician with no direct patient contact "legitimizes" the delivery of the drugs to conform to "the letter of the law." Recent television broadcasts have reported cases where these on-line pharmacies issued prescriptions and shipped Viagara to children and pets. The DEA's position is that the invisible doctor scenario does not constitute a legitimate doctor-patient relationship, and thus that any prescriptions issued pursuant to this scenario are invalid. The DEA concedes that the ordinary consumer may somewhat reasonably believe that prescriptions obtained through the web sites in this category are legal, and that a large-scale public information campaign would necessarily precede any actions taken against the consumer. The third and final category is the illegal "pharmacy," often an individual operating from outside the U.S., that ships controlled substances and other pharmaceuticals without any prescriptions or doctor consultations. It is likely that the DEA will concentrate its attention most heavily in addressing this situation.


    28) How effectively can the DEA go after these overseas "pharmacies"?

    The DEA admits that effective actions against these illegal suppliers are hampered by a variety of factors, one of which is that these suppliers, who often operate through discussion boards, anonymous email addresses and "evaporating" web sites, are very hard to locate and identify. Further, the practical and jurisdictional problems in trying to go after faraway, overseas entities can be hard to overcome. Consequently, the feds may well try to find other, more creative ways of combating the situation. One way is to go after the consumers (discouraging demand) rather than the suppliers themselves. For example, my firm recently represented a woman who ordered Valium (a controlled substance) from what appeared to be one of these web sites. She in fact did have a legitimate medical need for the medication, and a doctor had previously prescribed it for her. When she accepted the delivery of the package, she was arrested and charged in state court with possession of a controlled substance. The web site was actually a sting operation orchestrated by the U.S. Postal Inspector's office, which arranged the controlled delivery of the parcel. While it is highly questionable whether limited government resources are wisely expended in operations like this, it is likely that we have not seen the last of these.


    29) What other efforts at government regulation can we expect to see regarding Internet pharmacies?

    Our legislators and law enforcement authorities were unprepared and overwhelmed by the proliferation and variety of on-line pharmaceutical suppliers. They are currently attempting to play "catch up" and to clarify their positions with respect to the many issues that exist. In the near future we can expect some laws, regulations and hopefully clear-cut enforcement policies to emerge. In the meantime, there will be some degree of misunderstanding and batches of scattered "test cases" exploring the boundaries of the governmental limitations which can be imposed. For example, the Attorneys General of Kansas and Missouri have filed suits against several on-line pharmacies and physicians, obtaining temporary restraining orders to prevent them from selling pharmaceuticals over the Internet. This was after state investigators were allegedly able to obtain prescription-only medications without a prescription or a physician consultation. These pending lawsuits allege that the defendants are engaging in the unauthorized practice of medicine and pharmacy and are violating state merchandising laws by selling prescription drugs to consumers without proper state licensure or registration. Congress is also getting involved. On August 5, Representative Ron Klink of Pennsylvania introduced the Internet Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 2763) to amend the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act by requiring Internet pharmacies to post the name of the principal practitioner, the address and telephone number of the principal business location and the states in which the pharmacy and its consulting physicians are licensed to practice. The new law would assist individual states in identifying on-line pharmacies in order to commence litigation against them similar to the Kansas and Missouri law suits referenced above. Failure to comply with the requirements of the new law would empower authorities to shut down the enterprise and impose sanctions.


    30) Let's change topics. What is the truth about steroid side effects?

    Despite over forty years of use by athletes, many of whom are now well into middle-age, we have yet to hear reports of an epidemic of steroid-related deaths. A review of the medical literature does not support the depiction of a serious health crisis related to anabolic steroids. Of course, it would be untrue to say that anabolic steroids, especially black market products, are safe for unsupervised, unmonitored self-administration. Simply put, steroids are hormones and pharmaceutical drugs. While steroids are safer than many drugs, steroids can be abused. The controversial issue is whether their potential for abuse justifies our nation's criminalization approach to their non-medical use by responsible adults. We can compare steroids to alcohol, which is also a drug. The number of people who abuse alcohol is many, many times that of those who abuse steroids. Therefore, in raw numbers, the societal cost of alcohol abuse - in motor vehicle and workplace accidents, missed work days and lowered productivity, medical care, violent crimes -- is many hundreds if not many thousands of times that of steroid abuse. Further, I submit that even if steroids were just as widely used as alcohol, the dangers of alcohol abuse to society would still grossly exceed the dangers of steroid abuse. The same societal cost comparison can be made to tobacco, which contains the dangerously addictive drug nicotine. Yet alcohol and tobacco are legal to buy. All things considered, it is untrue to say that anabolics are such "deadly drugs" as to deserve the imposition of harsh criminal penalties simply for personal use by informed adults for cosmetic enhancement. My web site goes into detail analyzing the specific health risks associated with anabolic steroids, so I won't go into that now. I'll be adding some great new information to the site within the next few months.


    31) What about the effects upon teen-aged users?

    Restricting steroids, alcohol and all other drugs from children and adolescents is essential, but it hardly justifies restricting them from informed adults. Clearly, even in countries where steroids can be legally obtained without a prescription, I believe that the choice to use them for cosmetic enhancement should only be made by mature, informed adults with a pre-established dedication to serious weight-training. Anabolic steroids should never be used casually or irresponsibly. They should never be used by beginning lifters, those with dubious commitments to weight-training, or those simply seeking a substitute for hard work. I am also against the use of steroids by athletes in violation of fair sports rules because it forces "natural" athletes to use steroids to be competitive. Obviously, bodybuilders who are juicing shouldn't enter "natural" shows.


    32) Do you feel that the medical establishment in general is knowledgeable about anabolic steroid health risks?

    Not at all. It has been long recognized - even by members of the medical community -- that the real experts in anabolic steroid effects are the guys in the gyms across the nation who use them. Part of the problem is that our harsh laws clearly discourage doctors from getting involved in any way with athletes using steroids. Even the recognized medical experts are unreliable. For example, I recently had the opportunity to discuss our national anabolic steroid policy with a physician who is a widely acknowledged steroid "expert" and often quoted in the media. I was disappointed to find that his knowledge and objectivity didn't go much beyond Bob Goldman's dubious "Death in the Locker Room" works. He quickly dismissed the landmark study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine on the administration of testosterone enanthate to athletes, choosing instead to ply me with fear-mongering anti-steroid rhetoric. When I began to challenge the doctor on the scientific support for his assertions about certain dangers of steroid use, he retreated to speculation about how the effects of steroids may not be seen for many, many years. When I then asked for any reliable studies establishing proof for his statements, he cited the lack of research in the area. When I followed up by asking how a national policy criminalizing mere possession of steroids could be justified in the absence of such research, he became flustered and much less interested in talking to me further. Some "experts" have made a very good living out of scaring the masses about steroids. Some talk very differently "off the record" than in press interviews. There are very few physicians who both really know their stuff and are willing to speak truthfully in public. In fact, only Dr. Mauro DiPasquale and one or two others come to mind.


    33) What are your thoughts on "roid rage"?

    A highly exaggerated media sound bite. A few researchers have suggested that serious psychiatric symptoms are a very common side effect of anabolic steroid use, but other experts have regarded these suggestions with skepticism. Contrary to public belief, "roid rage" is an extremely rare phenomenon. The authors of a study published in 1990 concluded that the facts that steroids have been used by tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of athletes over two decades and that behavioral effects are only recently being discovered in small numbers tend to support that feelings of aggression may not be observed in the majority of steroid users. The researchers do not rule out, however, the possibility that in a small minority of predisposed individuals, "steroid use may be sufficient to push them over the edge and contribute to irrational or violent behavior." Many experienced steroid users have found that steroids enhance certain preexisting personality problems, so that antisocial users can become more antisocial. Not surprisingly, when psychiatric problems do occur in study subjects, there seems to be a direct correlation between dosage and prevalence of syndromes. Again, my web site covers this topic in much more detail.


    34) Has "roid rage" proved to be a successful defense in criminal cases?

    Just as voluntary alcohol intoxication can be used to negate the specific intent required for certain crimes, so has voluntary ingestion of anabolic steroids been offered in the defense of various violent crimes in an effort to prove that the accused was unable to distinguish right from wrong or to understand the consequences of his acts. However, a sampling of these cases reveals, generally, that such defenses were unsuccessfully raised. This may be due in part to the fact that in many cases the dosages administered were either not specified or were too low to be persuasive. A bigger factor may be the common reluctance of juries to acquit in murder cases based on insanity defenses, especially where the insanity was caused by a voluntarily consumed substance.


    35) Do you feel steroids are addicting?

    There is some evidence that anabolic steroid use can lead to psychological dependence in certain individuals. Although it affects a minority of users, this may be the most dangerous aspect of steroid use. Whether the dependence is due to chemical effects upon the brain in certain individuals is not known. It may well be that the dependence can be primarily attributed to the "mentality of excess" in these users. It is the goal of most hard-core bodybuilders, especially competitive bodybuilders, to achieve a state of maximal size, hardness and overall "freakiness." This mentality can lead to prolonged usage and excessive dosages. It can also lead to the use of dangerous ancillary medications like injectable diuretics to achieve higher levels of conditioning. Just two weeks ago I experienced the tragic loss of a friend. He was a frighteningly rock-hard 290 pounds off-season, and yet he was one of the sweetest, gentlest guys around. Everybody in the gym liked him. In an effort to step onstage in a nationals qualifier in bone-dry condition, he got carried away with intravenous diuretics. He was hospitalized the day before the contest and died the morning after the show, never having set foot onstage. He was 24 years old.


    36) Where do you place the heaviest helping of blame?

    Most of the blame must be attributed to his recklessness and win-at-any-cost mindset. But part of it must be chalked up to the ever-increasing standards of successful competitive bodybuilding, which at this point require a level of size and conditioning completely impossible without a tremendous array of mass-producing and cutting drugs. Of course, many people can successfully use steroids intermittently and with moderation to cosmetically improve their physiques. But it is a sobering thought that there are certain individuals who start out on low risk, short-term cycles and ultimately end up using massive dosages for years of uninterrupted use, and combining their use with considerably more dangerous drugs like intravenous diuretics and insulin. I believe that dependence upon and abuse of bodybuilding drugs have less to do with the nature of the substances than with the psychological profiles of certain users.


    37) Is that like the idea of "muscle dysmorphia" - that bodybuilders use excessive drugs because they are reverse anorexics who never see themselves as "big enough?"

    There are some guys who fit that profile. But hanging that profile on all bodybuilders is simply false. There are a few kooky psychiatrists who have spent altogether too much time trying to discredit bodybuilders. It doesn't take any more than my bachelor's degree in psychology to tell me that any researcher who devotes his whole life to proving the evils of bodybuilding is probably dealing with some heavy-duty residual issues from his adolescence. Maybe the muscular captain of the high school football team kicked sand in his face. Anyway, while I surely think we need to take these suspect theories with a grain of salt, I do believe that we all need multiple interests to have balance in our lives. I love my time in the gym. But I also enjoy what I do for a living and love spending time with my family and friends. I teach, write and lecture. I travel. I'm a soccer coach, a mentor at the local middle school and a vice-president of my community civic association. I'm not special -- a lot of bodybuilders have varied interests. But the guys whose lives consist only of the hours in the gym and empty hours in-between lack balance in their lives and probably could be happier and healthier than they are. That being said, this single-minded mentality in some guys doesn't justify arresting responsible people for personally using steroids for cosmetic enhancement.


    38) You've used the term "for cosmetic enhancement" several times.

    Yes, instead of overly used terms like "for athletic performance enhancement" or "to improve athletic abilities." Those terms have been used by the steroid prohibitionists for years to imply the use by competitive athletes who "cheat." The reality is that the overwhelming majority of folks using anabolic steroids illegally are not professional or Olympic athletes. Most will never even enter a competitive sporting event of any kind. Other than lifting weights and cardio, many engage in no sports or "athletic" activities at all. It is questionable whether we can properly call most users "athletes." Contrary to the way the medical community and the media have portrayed the situation, "athletic" improvement - including gaining strength -- is not the primary motivation of using steroids for most people but merely a secondary by-product. The primary reason the majority of people use steroids illegally is to look better, with fuller, bigger and better-defined muscles. Steroids are utilized as a tool for cosmetic improvement of the body. I think it's time to recognize this fact, and to distinguish those dishonest athletes who take steroids to "cheat" fair competition rules in organized sports from those informed adults who wish to take them responsibly to improve the way they that look.


    39) But shouldn't society protect people from doing things that risk their health for the mere sake of cosmetic improvement?

    Commentators from both the legal and medical communities have noted an interesting cultural irony in the comparison of anabolic steroid administration to cosmetic surgery procedures. In a society preoccupied with physical appearance, confidence and self-image are often intertwined with body shape and condition. Under the current views and laws of our society, it is criminal for a physician to administer anabolic steroids to a healthy adult for purposes of cosmetic physical enhancement. However, it is perfectly acceptable (and quite lucrative) to perform the much more radical and dangerous procedure of surgically implanting foreign prosthetics into virtually all parts of the human anatomy for the same purpose, subjecting patients to the potentially fatal risks associated with general anesthesia and post-surgical infection. If we're so concerned about protecting people from health risks, how do we possibly justify inserting increasingly huge silicone and saline-filled bags into women's breasts for no medical reason whatsoever? Many more people have died or been permanently injured from botched liposuctions and other cosmetic surgery procedures in the past few years than in over forty years of anabolic steroid use by athletes. If one of these alternatives must be illegal, it would seem that the current scheme should be reversed!


    40) Let's change gears. What do you think of the "steroid alternatives" marketed by many supplement companies?

    Obviously, the benefit of "legal alternatives" to anabolic steroids is that the feds won't come to your door. And that's a big benefit, believe me! Anything that can be used legally doesn't carry with it the awful consequences that accompany a violation of controlled substance laws. The next issue, however, is whether these supplements work. It makes no sense to spend your money on a supplement just because it's legal unless it is significantly effective. For example, for a prohormone to be worthwhile it would have to increase testosterone levels sufficiently over time to result in quantifiable improvements in body composition, with minimal aromatization and reduction. And its effectiveness would need to be proven in controlled studies. I was approached by a supplement marketer to endorse their products. Frankly, I make a comfortable living in the general practice of law, highly value my integrity, objectivity and credibility, and just don't need to promote products I have any doubts about. I'm a skeptic, and it takes a lot to convince me. I would never endorse a product unless I believed in it 100%. I refuse to endorse any particular supplements at the present time, although I do use creatine occasionally.


    41) Do you think it is possible that prohormones like androstenedione could ever be classified as controlled substances?

    Barry McCaffrey, President Clinton's anti-drug chief, has recently recommended the examination of androstenedione to see if it can be classified as an anabolic steroid under the Anabolic Steroids Control Act. I co-authored an article on that very issue, examining the arguments that could be made in support of such regulation, and the legal mechanisms by which prohormones could be banned. The article can be found at the Mesomorphosis site (www.thinkmuscle.com), along with many other excellent and intelligent articles by knowledgeable authors.


    42) I know you're critical of the Anabolic Steroid Control Act and similar legislation. How effective have these laws been?

    That's an issue subject to great debate, and one I've investigated quite a bit. Let's reasonably assume that the primary goal of enacting these laws was to solve an athletic cheating problem. I'll quote international steroid expert Mauro DiPasquale, M.D.: "Contrary to what most people believe (the media's irresponsible sensationalism has resulted in the widely held mistaken view that the use by athletes of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs is a problem on par with heroin and cocaine abuse), the use of drugs, such as anabolic steroids, by athletes is a problem, not because of the addictive and dangerous side-effects of these compounds, but because these drugs offer an unfair advantage to the athletes who use them." Sadly, the Control Act has been of extremely limited value in addressing this cheating problem. When was the last time you heard of an elite athlete prosecuted under the Control Act? The extremely remote possibility of criminal prosecution deters few if any Olympic and professional level athletes.


    43) The Government would argue that the Control Act deters steroid trafficking and distribution.

    Those who pushed for criminalization in the late '80s contended that the Control Act would assist law enforcement in the prosecution of serious steroid traffickers. I don't think it has, and government prosecutors have expressed doubts as well. Back in late 1994, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of Diversion Control, sponsored a conference on the impact of the Anabolic Steroid Control Act from both law enforcement and scientific standpoints. The members of law enforcement who spoke agreed that for a variety of reasons the Control Act was largely ineffective in deterring large-scale international trafficking. I could say a lot about this conference and its findings.


    44) Don't the strict controls imposed by controlled substance classification stop pharmaceutical companies from manufacturing more product than could be used for legitimate purposes?

    This is the so-called "diversion" problem. Allegations that drug companies were permitting steroids to be diverted for non-approved uses, and refusing to cooperate with investigations to determine the level of diversion, helped sway Congress to classify steroids as controlled substances. The Control Act addresses the diversion problem by the triplicate "paper trail" that is associated with controlled substances, requiring every person who manufactures, distributes, or dispenses a controlled substance to register annually with the Attorney General. But while the paper trail requirements have reduced the amount of legitimate steroids diverted to athletes and other illicit users, they have helped foster a booming counterfeit trade where underground labs make and label steroid products to mimic legitimate pharmaceuticals, completely bypassing the Control Act's paper trail. Substandard foreign products imported from Mexico or overseas are now more familiar than diverted American steroids. Last year, the steroid black market annual retail sales were estimated to be 100 million dollars higher than back in 1990.


    45) Congress was also concerned with protecting teenagers from the adverse health effects of steroid use. In your opinion, has the Control Act helped to do that?

    Not at all. A primary effect of the Control Act's restrictions upon legitimate product has been the increased manufacture and distribution of black market counterfeit products and substandardly made veterinary steroids never intended for human use. It's been estimated that up to 90% of black market anabolic steroids are contaminated or contain other foreign substances. Some contain God-knows-what. Even if less teens are using steroids now than before the Control Act (which I find hard to believe), the danger posed to young users is greatly heightened by this effect of the law. A second effect of the Control Act has been to discourage teens from reporting or admitting their steroid use to physicians. Since one of the greatest dangers in self-administered steroid use involves the failure to be monitored by a doctor, the Control Act has succeeded in greatly escalating this inherent risk. Because the self-administration of anabolics is a federal crime, what user is going to confess his steroid use to a doctor? And because federal enforcement efforts have targeted physicians, few doctors want anything to do with athletes taking steroids. Doctors caught distributing steroids to athletes have been criminally prosecuted. Walter F. Jekot, M.D., for example, was sentenced in 1993 to five years in federal prison for dispensing steroids to athletes. The end result is that the athletes using steroids rarely get regular blood pressure checks, cholesterol readings, prostate exams and liver enzyme tests, making steroid use far more hazardous than it would otherwise be. As one legal review noted back in 1992, "[I]t appears that Congress' attempt at preventing steroid prescription has at best been futile and at worst harmful."


    46) Are there any other problems you have with the Control Act?

    Actually, yes. I have a big problem with its fundamental effect of criminalizing athletes, particularly young people, for personal use. Anti-steroid experts try to minimize the horrible real life effects of criminalizing our young adults, noting that very few first-time possession offenders go to jail. Even for those fortunate enough to avoid jail, the effects of an arrest and prosecution can be devastating. A drug conviction can hamper the rest of a person's life. This is especially tragic since most adult steroid users lead otherwise responsible, law-abiding lives. Even in "sale" charges, the police investigative methods and the end results in court are open to criticism. For a personal example, I am currently representing a man who was "set up" by his former training partner and buddy to sell to him just one bottle of testosterone cypionate. The transaction was orchestrated by the narcotics squad of the county police department at the taxpayers' expense. Immediately after the exchange, a squad of law enforcement agents with drawn guns surrounded my client and handcuffed him. My client, a gainfully employed and respectful young man, now faces a felony conviction and jail time. Even if he avoids jail upon a conviction, his driver's license will be revoked, he will be fined, and he will be forced to report to the probation department for several years and be drug-tested. He will forever be a convicted felon. I strongly doubt that such police operations really reflect a sensible approach to the situation or a prudent use of our government's resources.


    47) What is the solution?

    Removal of criminal penalties for personal use and regulation as prescription drugs would help the "steroid problem" and solve some of the serious problems created by the Control Act itself. Reforming the law to again allow doctors to be involved in the dosage regulation and health monitoring of athletes using anabolics would vastly reduce the patterns of "excess." Physicians would then no longer fear being arrested for dispensing moderate amounts of anabolics. Steroid users would no longer be discouraged from continuous health monitoring. Athletes and people seeking cosmetic physical improvement would no longer be imprisoned or transformed into criminals. Those suffering from AIDS or age-related infirmities would have greater access to needed medications. Funding for anabolic steroid research would probably increase. There would be a major shifting of the steroid supply to favor legitimately produced, FDA-regulated products. Clearly, the two greatest dangers in the use of anabolic steroids today - the use of tainted black market substances and the failure to be medically monitored and supervised - would be averted by this approach. Of course, anabolic steroids would be restricted to adults. And non-physicians caught trafficking in steroids, especially selling steroids to minors, would be subjected to stiff criminal sanctions (just like they were before the Anabolic Steroids Control Act!). I am not alone in these propositions. I have been contacted by many educated members of both the legal and scientific communities, expressing that they had arrived at identical conclusions.


    48) Wouldn't "decriminalizing" possession of steroids for personal use increase drug usage in competitive sports?

    Abolishing the national and state criminalization approach to steroids would not require the international sports bodies to change their policy. They would be completely free to continue their ban on ergogenic substances including steroids in order to promote fair athletic competition. Improved drug testing technologies and more frequent random testing procedures could be employed to help ensure that adult athletes wishing to compete in such events would need to refrain from using such substances. As I noted before, it's a joke to think that the Control Act has had any effect whatsoever on elite level athletes.


    49) What do you see in the future for our national approach to individuals using steroids for cosmetic enhancement?

    Cynics will note that there is a financial interest for the government to continue to prosecute these cases, as it helps in part to justify the payroll for various postal inspectors, DEA and Customs agents, U.S. Attorneys, state prosecutors, etc. However, the strongest interest in the status quo is on the part of the legislators themselves -- who are very concerned about public perception. At the present time, the general public firmly believes (after three decades of misleading propaganda) that steroids are just barely short of heroin and cocaine in the hierarchy of illegal drugs. The elected official who endorses legislation perceived to condone the use of steroids by athletes would be committing political suicide. Therefore, expecting legislation that could in any way be viewed as "soft" on "steroid abuse" would be pointless -- at the present time.


    50) At the present time?

    Yes. I do believe in the possibility of change in the not so distant future. Studies like the 1996 one in the New England Journal of Medicine are just beginning to lift the taboo against steroid research. As further studies appear -- especially those recognizing the anti-aging benefits of androgen replacement therapy and the benefits to HIV patients -- there may be a gradual shift in the public perception regarding anabolic steroids. Our focus right now is best directed toward bringing these studies to the attention of the masses. My view on this, by the way, is shared by most of the prominent unbiased authorities in the field. Science researcher Michael Mooney, for example, devotes an enormous amount of his energy toward this end, particularly related to AIDS and HIV. I have spoken with him several times on this topic, and also numerous times with Dr. Mauro DiPasquale who firmly believes that within ten years there will be a substantial change in societal attitudes and laws about androgens. I hope he's right. Recognizing the failure of Prohibition, Congress changed our national laws regarding alcohol use from prohibition to restriction, permitting use by mature adults but banning sales to minors. The view of anabolic steroids as "deadly drugs" for mature adults must be discarded based on the medical and scientific truth. Congress and law enforcement authorities must accept that some adults who are not competitive athletes should be legally able to use anabolic steroids for cosmetic physique enhancement under the supervision of a physician. The current scheme, which promotes unsupervised self-administration of potentially dangerous black market products and the arrest and prosecution of American adults seeking cosmetic physique enhancement, is just plain wrong.


    Copyright 1999 by Rick Collins. All rights reserved.

















Home