24 July 2012
The Truth about Anabolic Steroids
When someone thinks about drug related deaths they might think of cocaine, ecstasy, or heroin but very few people think of anabolic steroids. Some people wonder, what is an anabolic steroid? A steroid is a basic four-ring carbon structure, but different types differ in the number of carbon atoms attached to the number 17 carbon atom in the molecule, and in the way which hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), and the hydroxyl (OH) groups connect to the carbon atoms. To put it simply, it's a manmade drug that mimics testosterone in the body. There are many other types of steroids but for this article the focus is anabolic steroids. It is an illegal drug that people, mostly politicians and general public that don't know any better, claim kills hundreds of athletes and non-athletes every year while others, doctors and users, call it a wonder drug that saves lives every day? When someone hears about steroid use they might think of athletes using them to gain an edge in their respective sport or body builders using them to gain size and strength. Steroids do these things but they are also used every day in hospitals to help treat asthma, burn victims, cancer patients, and even HIV and AIDS patients plus many more. Which type of steroid also affects what laws they fall under? Prednisone and estrogen can be given as a prescription and are not controlled but anabolic steroid testosterone is controlled. Why then, are anabolic steroids illegal? Today steroids are among the most prescribed and safest drugs in the world. During the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson won the gold for 100m final defeating the American Carl Lewis, who was also on performance enhancing drugs but it was covered up stating he used without intent to gain an advantage. Ben was then submitted for drug testing which he failed. His urine was found to contain stanozolol, an anabolic steroid, and he was disqualified after which the gold was given to Carl. After this the U.S. Congress considered putting steroids on the controlled substance list even though the AMA (American Medical Association), DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), FDA (Food and Drug Administration), and the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) were opposed. The opposition claimed that steroid use did not lead to a dependence on the drug like cocaine does. It was placed on the list as a schedule III item in the Anabolic Steroid Act of 1990. This made having Anabolic Steroids the equivalent of having a kilo of cocaine. Placing steroids on this list also raised the criminal penalties for offences as position, distribution, and use. Because of the campaign against steroids lead by congress the public has been misinformed. Now many people claim that steroids are harmful and kill hundreds of athletes every year by claiming heart attacks, strokes, and even cancerous tumors have been caused by using steroids. The truth to this is that there hasn't been any long term study to back up these claims by any scientific means. In a study done in 2009 by the Center for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) it was stated that there were 24,518 alcohol-induced deaths, but for steroids, no direct number for this year was given which could mean that there were no steroid related deaths during 2009. It is not stated however, that there are any steroid related deaths. Now there are some side effects to taking anabolic steroids and not everyone will experience all or any of them. These effects can include thinning hair; acne on face, back, and chest; shrinking testicals, mood swings due to increased testosterone. Anabolic steroids are more dangerous to young teenagers because they can cause stunted growth. What the steroids do is cause the male estrogen to rise and this causes the growth plates to fuse early, this is why women are usually shorter than males. It can also cause gynomastia, that is...
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