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  • Anabolic Steroid Dangers












  • Anabolic Steroid Dangers

    A Guide For Understanding The Dangers Of Anabolic Steroids

    March 2004

    The long-term adverse physical effects of anabolic steroid abuse have not been studied, and as such, are not known. In addition, this type of abuse may result in harmful side-effects as well as serious injury and death. The abuser in most cases is unaware of these hidden dangers.

    This guide will help you to understand why anabolic steroids are being abused. This guide will also discuss the dangerous medical effects associated with steroid abuse.

    What are anabolic steroids?

    Anabolic steroids are synthetically produced variants of the naturally occurring male hormone testosterone. Both males and females have testosterone produced in their bodies: males in the testes, and females in the ovaries and other tissues. The full name for this class of drugs is androgenic (promoting masculine characteristics) anabolic (tissue building) steroids (the class of drugs). Some of the most abused steroids include Deca-Durabolin® , Durabolin ® , Equipoise® , and Winstrol® . The common street (slang) names for anabolic steroids include arnolds, gym candy, pumpers, roids, stackers, weight trainers, and juice.

    The two major effects of testosterone are an androgenic effect and an anabolic effect. The term androgenic refers to the physical changes experienced by a male during puberty, in the course of development to manhood. Androgenic effects would be similarly experienced in a female. This property is responsible for the majority of the side effects of steroid use. The term anabolic refers to promoting of anabolism, the actual building of tissues, mainly muscle, accomplished by the promotion of protein synthesis.

    Why are steroids abused?

    Anabolic steroids are primarily used by bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness "buffs" who claim steroids give them a competitive advantage and/or improve their physical performance. Also, individuals in occupations requiring enhanced physical strength (body guards, construction workers, and law enforcement officers) are known to take these drugs. Steroids are purported to increase lean body mass, strength and aggressiveness. Steroids are also believed to reduce recovery time between workouts, which makes it possible to train harder and thereby further improve strength and endurance.

    Where do you get steroids?

    Doctors may prescribe steroids to patients for legitimate medical purposes such as loss of function of testicles, breast cancer, low red blood cell count, delayed puberty and debilitated states resulting from surgery or sickness. Veterinarians administer steroids to animals (e.g. cats, cattle, dogs, and horses) for legitimate purposes such as to promote feed efficiency, and to improve weight gain, vigor, and hair coat. They are also used in veterinary practice to treat anemia and counteract tissue breakdown during illness and trauma. For purposes of illegal use there are several sources; the most common illegal source is from smuggling steroids into the United States from other countries such as Mexico and European countries. Smuggling from these areas is easier because a prescription is not required for the purchase of steroids. Less often steroids found in the illicit market are diverted from legitimate sources (e.g. thefts or inappropriate prescribing) or produced in clandestine laboratories.



    How are steroids taken? Anabolic steroids dispensed for legitimate medical purposes are administered several ways including intramuscular or subcutaneous injection, by mouth, pellet implantation under the skin and by application to the skin (e.g. gels or patches). These same routes are used for purposes of abusing steroids, with injection and oral administration being the most common. People abusing steroids may take anywhere from 1 to upwards of a 100 times normal therapeutic doses of anabolic steroids. This often includes taking two or more steroids concurrently, a practice called "stacking." Abusers will often alternate periods (6 to 16 weeks in length) of high dose use of steroids with periods of low dose use or no drug at all. This practice is called "cycling." The length of time that steroids stay in the body varies from a couple of days to more than 12 months.



    Physical & psychological dangers There is increasing concern regarding possible serious health problems that are associated with the abuse of steroids, including both short-term and long-term side effects. The short-term adverse physical effects of anabolic steroid abuse are fairly well known. Short-term side effects may include sexual and reproductive disorders, fluid retention, and severe acne. The short-term side effects in men are reversible with discontinuation of steroid use. Masculinizing effects seen in women, such as deepening of the voice, body and facial hair growth, enlarged clitoris, and baldness are not reversible. The long-term adverse physical effects of anabolic steroid abuse in men and in women, other than masculinizing effects, have not been studied, and as such, are not known. However, it is speculated that possible long-term effects may include adverse cardiovascular effects such as heart damage and stroke.

    Possible physical side effects include the following:

      High blood cholesterol levels - high blood cholesterol levels may lead to cardiovascular problems

      Severe acne

      Thinning of hair and baldness

      Fluid retention

      High blood pressure

      Liver disorders (liver damage and jaundice)

      Steroids can affect fetal development during pregnancy

      Risk of contracting HIV and other blood-borne diseases from sharing infected needles

      Sexual & reproductive disorders




    This information came from an
    US DOJ online article.

    *** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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