Why Are Steroids Illegal?

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It seems like steroids are very powerful. Don’t doctors prescribe steroids to treat certain medical conditions? If they can be so useful, why are certain types of steroids illegal?

What Are Steroids?

You might have heard the term, steroids, but do you know what it really refers to? There are different types of steroids. Chemically, the steroid classification refers to a molecular structure containing four rings of carbon atoms.

The good steroids include alkaloids, natural hormones and vitamins. For example, corticosteroids can be purchased as an over-the-counter medication. These are similar to cortisones. They provide relief from swelling, redness, itching, inflammation and allergic reactions. These might be used to treat arthritis, asthma and skin problems.

The bad steroids are synthetic testosterone compounds (also known as anabolic steroids). These anabolic steroids are the ones used by athletes to increase their muscle mass unnaturally.

Illegal Anabolic Steroids

Professional football, baseball and wrestling athletes believe that they can gain a decisive advantage over their competition by being bigger and stronger. The competition is fierce. When someone becomes an NFL player, he joins an exclusive club.

These professional athletes can make millions of dollars during their careers. They can receive lucrative endorsement deals. Experts predict that the average NFL career lasts a mere 3.3 years. Only the best of the best can last in these professional leagues.

Professional baseball is also be a great career. The home run (or long ball) has been prized for years. Those who lead the league in home runs create a lot of popularity for the sport.

In fact, baseball even had something called the “Steroids Era.” If all these athletes are using steroids, why are they banned?

Steroid Side Effects

Doctors have control over many substances. Simply because a substance can only be prescribed by a doctor does not mean it is good or bad. It usually means that it is powerful. It might have a high risk of being addictive or abused.

Anabolic steroids try to mimic the natural male hormone, testosterone. When boys turn into men, their levels of testosterone increase. They get larger muscles due to this naturally-occurring hormone.

Unfortunately, anabolic steroids have many dangerous side effects. Anabolic steroid side effects could include infertility, impotence, breast development, excessive body hair, acne, jaundice, mood swings, delusions, baldness, high cholesterol, liver disease and heart attack. Who would want to use such dangerous drugs?

Drug Laws

Anabolic steroids are classified as a Schedule III controlled substance by the federal government. This Schedule III category means that there is a mid-range danger of the drug being abused. The government states that anabolic steroids “may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.”

The federal government might charge anabolic steroid possession with a $1,000 fine and prison time. Anabolic trafficking could carry a fine of up to $250,000 fine and prison time. Anabolic steroids can deliver large muscles in the short-term, but could deliver horrible health problems in the long-term.