Thread: Black Market Raids
01-24-2004, 10:19 AM #1
Black Market Raids
Yet another great read - RTB
Prohibition naturally produced a black market, and unintended consequences followed. Besides creating yet another economic niche for the criminal underworld, the legislation scuttled any hope of using steroids as a legitimate and professionally administered performance enhancer.
Criminalization of steroids created dangers more serious than any that had prompted the ban. Once steroids became contraband, many athletes bought black-market anabolics that, unbeknownst to them, were spiked or cut with other drugs or intended solely for veterinary use. Physicians were forbidden to prescribe steroids for promoting muscle growth and thus were not able to provide steroid users with responsible, professionally informed oversight. New league policies even ban the use of steroids for recovery from injuries.
Combine the lack of medical supervision with the mind-set of the garden-variety steroid user, and you have a potentially perilous situation. "Many of those using anabolic steroids," says Penn State's Yesalis, "have the attitude that if one [dose] works, then five or 10 will work even better. That's dangerous."
Athletes who acquire steroids on the black market are loath to consult with their physician after they begin using regularly. If they do disclose their habit and ask for guidance, the physician, for fear of professional discipline or even criminal charges, may refuse to continue seeing the patient. For professional athletes, another deterrent to proper use is that all responsible doctors keep rigorously accurate records of their dealings with patients. The fear that those records might be leaked or even subpoenaed makes pro athletes even less likely to seek medical guidance.
Since many of the observed side effects of steroids --anecdotal, apocryphal, or otherwise--most likely result from excessive or improper use of the drug, one wonders: Can steroids be used for muscle building with a reasonable degree of safety? "The candid answer is yes, but with caveats," says Collins, the attorney who specializes in steroid law. "It would need to be under the strict direction of a physician and administered only after a thorough physical examination, and it would need to be taken at reasonable and responsible dosages."
It's a statement that even Goldman, once the bellwether scaremonger, says is "something I could probably agree with."
Herbert Haupt, a private orthopedist and sports medicine specialist in St. Louis, is "absolutely, unequivocally, positively opposed" to steroid use as a training or cosmetic tool. But he concedes that properly supervised use of the drug for those purposes can be reasonably safe. "The adverse side effects of steroids typically subside upon cessation of use," says Haupt, "and use over a short span, say a six-week duration, probably carries nominal risk."
Moreover, the official attitude toward steroid use seems anomalous when compared to the treatment of other methods that people use to improve their bodies. "People die from botched liposuctions," Collins notes. "We're also allowed to inject botulism into people's faces [in botox therapy], but no one is allowed to use steroids for similar cosmetic reasons."
Collins is quick to add that adolescents, whose bodies are already steeped in hormones, cannot use steroids safely. But the fact remains that the illegality of steroids makes responsible professional oversight virtually impossible.
Another puzzling distinction is the one made between steroids and other training supplements. Many baseball players have openly used androstenedione, a muscle-building compound that major league baseball hasn't banned even though it's merely a molecular puddle-jump from anabolic steroids . Androstenedione is a chemical precursor that is converted to testosterone by the liver. Creatine monohydrate, another effective supplement, is far more widely used than androstenedione and is virtually free of stigma. Creatine is chemically unrelated to anabolic steroids or androstenedione and also differs in that it does not manipulate hormone levels; rather, creatine allows muscle cells to recover from fatigue more quickly. But all three substances--creatine, androstenedione, and anabolic steroids--increase a naturally occurring substance in the body to promote the building of muscle tissue. Anabolic steroids simply accomplish this end more quickly and dramatically.
01-24-2004, 11:59 AM #2
not a bad read
01-24-2004, 02:08 PM #3
thx for the read
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