Anabolic steroids have long been used by bodybuilders and athletes looking to quickly boost their muscle mass. This has led to a huge number of doping scandals affecting baseball, football, the Olympics and even college and high school sports. Taking anabolic steroids is seen as giving an athlete an unfair advantage, and this is why steroid use is banned in virtually every sport.
Testing positive for steroids typically leads an athlete to receive a several year suspension or potentially even a lifetime ban. However, steroid use also has the potential to cause serious legal troubles and could even see the person being sentenced to spend several years behind bars. Despite the continued widespread availability and high rate of use, anabolic steroids are generally illegal in the United States and many other countries. Nonetheless, there are a few exceptions and cases where the possession and use of steroids is legally regulated.
Are Steroids Legal?
An anabolic steroid is a synthetic chemical version of the testosterone that naturally occurs in the body. The fact that these anabolic steroids mimic the function of testosterone makes them an invaluable tool in helping people to overcome certain medical issues.
For instance, a doctor might prescribe an anabolic steroid to any man suffering from testosterone deficiency. Anabolic steroids are also used to treat delayed puberty in younger males. As well, patients with breast cancer, a low red blood cell count or anyone experiencing tissue wasting due to AIDS may also be prescribed steroids. Veterinarians also routinely administer anabolic steroids to dogs, cats, horses, cows and other animals in order to promote increased strength and vigor, increased weight gain and a healthy, shiny coat.
The fact is that there are a number of legitimate medical and veterinary uses for anabolic steroids, and when prescribed and supervised by a qualified veterinarian or physician, this type of steroid use is perfectly legal and allowed by law. Nonetheless, the US Controlled Substance Act classifies steroids as a Schedule III substance, which means that steroids are illegal under federal law except when prescribed by a licensed medical professional. Most states also have their own specific laws regulating steroid use, which means possessing steroids without a prescription generally means you’re breaking both state and federal laws.
Depending on the amount you’re caught with, possession of steroids could see you spend up to one year in prison for your first offense and up to two years for the second offense. In addition, you will also be facing a minimum fine of $1,000 for the first offense and $2,000 if you’re caught a second time. However, if you’re caught with a larger amount of steroids, you could potentially be charged with trafficking. In this case, you’ll be facing a minimum of five years in prison and a huge fine of $250,000.
Why Are Steroids Illegal?
Although they can serve important medical functions, this doesn’t take away from the fact that using steroids puts a person at high risk for numerous health complications and medical issues. High blood cholesterol and cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, loss of testicle function, liver damage and reproductive disorders are just a few of the potential problems caused by steroid abuse. Taking steroids for a longer period of time also causes changes to a person’s mental state and can lead to extreme aggressive behavior. Depression and suicidal thoughts are also quite common side effects once a person discontinues steroid use.
All of these mental and physical health problems are precisely why most governments regulate steroid use so strictly. The issue is that most athletes, bodybuilders and other steroid abusers tend to use doses that are anywhere from 10 to 100 times stronger than the typical dose prescribed by doctors, and these higher doses dramatically increase the risk of serious damage.
Where Do Steroids Come From?
The unfortunate truth is that it’s not all that hard to find out where to get steroids. In the United States, anabolic steroids are commonly sold at gyms and given out to athletes by coaches, trainers and teammates. Still, the internet is by far the most common place to buy steroids, and there are now a huge number of sites that illegally sell and ship steroids throughout the country. The majority of the steroids in the US are smuggled in from other countries where anabolic steroids are not as strictly regulated, such as Mexico and certain European and Asian countries.
Although they are incredibly common and quite easy to get a hold of, the fact remains that anabolic steroids are illegal. Therefore, unless they are prescribed to you by a doctor, it’s always best to stay away from steroids. Otherwise, you risk potentially finding yourself stuck behind bars.