Why it’s time to legalize anabolic steroidsShould anabolic steroids be legalized slugger Barry Bonds has shoould been accused of steroid use. The debate over athletes' use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs has taken on newfound urgency in recent months. A report by former Sen. George Mitchell, released in December, mentioned dozens of baseball players as having used steroids and described their use as "widespread. And last summer, several riders were dismissed from the Tour de France on charges of using banned substances.
10 Reasons Performance Enhancing Drugs Should be Legal | Top 10 Lists | es3.info
Universe winner and seven-time Mr. Olympia victor, to be exact to a Hollywood superstar and, most recently, the Governor of California for two terms, few people have finessed their appeal as well as Arnold has.
No, we are not talking about this drug history. Schwarzenegger described this period of his life by saying:. The primary purpose of steroid use is to increase muscle growth and improve athletic performance, hence their use in body-building and sporting competitions.
However, many long-term users can become addicted. Although once-legal drugs like steroids often become banned in many Western countries shortly after being released, anabolic steroids are not universally condemned. However, unlike other Class C drugs, it is not considered an offense to possess anabolic steroids for personal use even without a medical prescription.
It is also legal to import steroids in person, but not to have them delivered. This legal anomaly has given rise to a lot of media coverage in recent years, especially given what is perceived by many as a general increase in the number of people using anabolic steroids in the UK and the health risks associated with their abuse. By comparison, steroids have been illegal to possess, use, produce, or supply for recreational purposes throughout the US since the Anabolic Steroids Control Act of Punishments for violations range from state to state, but even possession offenses are sometimes considered felonies and can result in prison-time.
What was the case for making steroids illegal in the US? Although anabolic steroids can be used to treat muscle wastage caused by treatment for diseases such as cancer with great success, when used without professional guidance and genuine medical necessity, abuse of steroids can have some devastating health ramifications. These can include, but are not limited to:. It can be difficult for steroid users to go back to their pre-steroid exercise regimes when these will not yield the same results, and could actually result in them losing the muscle mass that they worked so hard to achieve.
Although such users might believe that changing their appearance will improve their self-image, these diseases often have very little to do with the objective appearance of the sufferer. As such, taking steroids will only fuel these illnesses and, rather than providing the desired comfort, could also add a plethora of new physical health problems into the mix.
Also, unsafe needle practices can lead to infections such as HIV or Hepatitis B or C for individuals who inject steroids. In men, steroid use can cause the body to stop producing its own natural testosterone in an effort to rebalance hormones to more normal levels. As a result, it can lead to infertility, shrunken testicles, baldness, and breast development. In women, it can cause extra hair-growth or loss, irregular periods, a lengthened clitoris, acne, and a deeper voice.
A study of men in drug rehabilitation programs by the National Center for Biotechnological Information found that 25 percent of those who reported using opioids had also used anabolic steroids compared to only five percent of those using other drugs alongside steroids. Of these, 29 percent had been introduced to opioids by their peer gym members, and 75 percent cited a form of anabolic steroid as the first drug with which they had injected themselves. In , the BBC reported that recreational steroid use is increasing rapidly in the UK, with an estimated , regular users that year.
Two years earlier, in , the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs cited the British Crime Survey which estimated that 50, adults in the age-range had used anabolic steroids in the last year, with , of the same age-range ever having tried steroids 0.
Other estimates vary, but there is general agreement that the use of anabolic steroids is on the rise throughout the UK. Another common pattern amongst research findings is the change in demographics of users in the last couple of decades; with a move away from what used to be a reserve for adults, younger men and adolescents are now estimated to be the biggest consumers.
This is particularly concerning as steroids can stunt growth in children. A concerning number of US high school students admit to using anabolic steroids. The Monitoring the Future Study published results from studies done with thousands of high school students across a range of states between and The findings were separated into results from students in the 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grades, and focused on steroid use within the last twelve months.
Use was more common in older males and seemed to peak in all sub-groups between and , with 3. Although there was some reported decline in each age-group by , in CRChealth. To put these numbers into context, an average of 2. Even if there had only been one million male high-schoolers in any one of those years, that would amount to 22, children having taken steroids that year.
Considering the US population during that time-span, we would need to multiply that number significantly to reach the actual figure of young users each year. So the use of anabolic steroids appear to be relatively prevalent in both the UK and the US. However, this does not seem to be the case just yet. Unfortunately, since it is illegal to import anabolic steroids without personally carrying them through customs, some UK residents are resorting to ordering questionable products online with no real knowledge of what they are administering to themselves.
This could lead to a variety of other health concerns, on top of those directly linked to anabolic steroid abuse. Perhaps the real issue is that the UK has not gone far enough to legalize anabolic steroids. If there was a legal marketplace for producing and supplying steroids with regulation as to strength and quality, would this reduce abuse?
This is not dissimilar to one of the many arguments that is often cited by proponents of marijuana legalization. In other words, if people are going to use it anyway, why not introduce it to ensure safer products and reap the benefits of taxation?
After all, Amsterdam, Portugal, and an increasing number of US states have removed legal barriers to using marijuana socially, and Colorado has committed to spending a proportion of the tax generated from marijuana sales towards delivering drug education to youths. Perhaps the next drugs movement will advocate the same for steroids in the US? However, the health risks alone make steroids a far more dangerous and unpredictable drug than marijuana. Overuse of anabolic steroids can very quickly lead to life-threatening conditions, and regulation would not address the biggest hurdle to combatting overuse: Unlike with most other illegal drugs, there is a common misconception that steroids can actually improve health.
Many of us who have tried to stick to a gym schedule know how difficult it can be to stay motivated, especially when results are slow and sometimes hard to notice. Or maybe go a couple more times each week, to see an even greater difference? For some people, anabolic steroids act just like that magical, non-existent aerobics class.
Exercise and personal fitness can be extremely psychologically addictive, too. Making steroids legal would allow some who would never use illegal drugs to justify their use. Add that to the fact that we are constantly bombarded with the negative images of people who are deemed unfit, how could using a legal substance to help us get fit be rationalized as a bad choice?