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The Unauthorized Use of Anabolic Steroids

The unauthorized use of anabolic steroids has become a problem of major proportions. Although focused primarily on the world of professional athletics, it has become a widespread social problem in colleges, highschools, and private health clubs. By 1988, it was estimated that over one million American's were illegally using anabolic steroids. According to the Food and Drug Administration, "the illegal selling of steroids has become a $100millionayear black market" (Rowan and Mazie, 1988, pp. 1334). None of these drugs, sold under the trade names of Anavar, Durabolin, and Winistrol, are legally available through over the counter means. Yet it is not difficult to find steroids; the drugs are regularly available through mailorder, coaches or health club trainers distribute them, and some doctors and pharmacists freely prescribe or dispense them to paying customers (Johnson, 1985, p. 40; Clark, 1983). But this quest for quick results and increased performance may have serious psychological and behavioral effects. Psychiatrists at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, and Harvard Medical School report that "steroid use can lead to major psychiatric disturbances" ("Muscling in on Madness," 1988).

Anabolic steroids are varieties of testosterone, the male sex hormone. The term anabolic refers to their "tissue building" properties, but they are also "androgenic" or masculinizing (Strauss, 1987, p. 59). Steroids became available to the medical profession following World War II. They were used to speed recovery from starvation, and have been tried in therapy for osteoporosis, anemia, and hepatitis (Wade, 1972, p. 1399). Steroids have also been used for transsexual females wishing to manifest more masculine traits such as beard growth, voice timbre, and general body shape (Strauss, 1987).

It appears that the first major use of anabolic steroids in professional sports came in 1954 by Russian athletes. Building upon N...

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The Unauthorized Use of Anabolic Steroids. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:00, May 25, 2020, from