Anabolic Steroid Seekers Find Easy Access
Supply of Performance Enhancers 'Virtually Unlimited'
March 18, 2005 -- Baseball executives, players, and lawmakers clashed
Thursday on whether anabolic steroid abuse is a significant problem in the
But there's no doubt that many kid athletes are emulating their professional
heroes. And it turns out that anabolic steroids are pretty easy to get.
Some kids are trying to gain a physical edge at any cost. Others may simply
crave the more athletic and muscular physique that eludes so many boys and
As many as one in 29 high school seniors and half a million kids in all had
tried anabolic steroids without a doctor's guidance in 2004, according to
figures released by the CDC and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. A
staggering 40% of high school students in the most recent National Household
Survey on drug abuse said that anabolic steroids are "easy" to get.
From the Internet to the Border
A simple Google search for the terms "buy anabolic steroids" yields
more than 2.8 million hits, as well as featured advertisements including one
offering customers the chance to "break through your natural limitations,
and build a freaky, extremely muscular physique."
There is no way to know how many of the sites offer anabolic steroids as
opposed to related precursors or simple placebo scams. But the sites reflect
what some officials and experts say is a huge international market that
promises a ready supply to almost anyone who seeks the drugs.
"There's just so much stuff coming into the country that it's difficult
to police," says Richard Cleland, assistant director of the Federal Trade
Commission's division of advertising practices.
Gary I. Wadler, an expert who testified at the baseball hearings Thursday,
warns that anabolic steroid use often escapes the stigma suffered by other
illegal drugs such as heroine and cocaine. Anabolic steroid users are likely to
like the drugs' effects on their bodies, a feeling that is unwittingly
reinforced by parents and peers who notice more confidence and better
performance on the playing field.
The lack of stigma can make anabolic steroid sellers more like welcome
fixtures in gyms than shady sellers who are viewed as criminals.
"Any way you cut it this is drug dealing. But unfortunately it's an
issue. Not only does the individual like what they're seeing, but others,
unwittingly, like it as well," he tells WebMD.
Anabolic steroids remain legal when used for medical purposes with a
doctor's prescription. But their legitimate use for most disorders has given
way to newer drugs. Still, Wadler says that diversion from legitimate medical
practices is a relatively small source of illegal anabolic steroids.
"I think most of it these days comes from other countries," he
Supply 'Virtually Unlimited'
Anabolic steroids remain unregulated in most other countries, including
Mexico, where they can be readily purchased without a prescription.