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Hendricks 1 Austin Hendricks Dr.

Owen LNG 407 11 October, 2011

Senior Project Research Paper Outline Steroid legalization in the United States is a highly debated topic of discussion among government officials and health enthusiasts alike. While some argue that the ultimate choice to take steroids should lie in hands of the consumer, others argue that they are simply too dangerous to be made legal. Many individuals develop problems that are irreversible and life changing. Many athletes use steroids in order gain an edge on the competition and be successful. This inevitably leads to an increase in use by teenagers that are seeking that same level of recognition and respect. However, they do not realize the consequences of their actions, and make the decision to willingly take steroids without the knowledge of exactly how dangerous these drugs really are. Therefore, steroid availability should be constricted to those that need them for medicinal purposes because of the dangerous side effects of steroids, the fact that steroids in professional sports is considered cheating, the impact that steroids have on body image in modern society, the fact that there are healthy alternatives to steroids, and the fact that more and more teenagers are taking dangerous amounts of steroids in an effort to get ahead of their competition. The history and development of modern steroids does not really begin until the early 1900’s, though other forms of steroids did exist earlier. Ancient Greek Olympians would ingest animal testicles in order to absorb the testosterone contained within. This had a similar effect to

Hendricks 2 modern steroids in that it provided their bodies with an extra dose of testosterone. In 1931, German chemist Adolf Butenandt extracted androstenone from urine, which would allow Leopold Ruzicka to create the first synthetic form of testosterone. The Nazis experimented with steroids in order to develop stronger soldiers as well as giving concentration camp workers steroids in order to promote muscle growth so they could work harder (Monroe). Since then, hundreds of different steroids have been produced, resulting in a prolific industry with a large consumer base. Since 1967, steroids have been banned from all major sports. Also, the United States government classifies steroids as Schedule III drugs under the Controlled Substance Act that was established in 1970. A Schedule III drug is one that has the potential for abuse, but still has an accepted medical use. United States law states that “any individual who is convicted of the sale of steroids, or possesses steroids unlawfully with intent to sell, may be penalized by up to five years in prison under federal law “(Criminal Attorney). This means that the possession of steroids in the United States is a serious offence that can lead to serious legal consequences. There are three different types of steroids, corticosteroids, estrogens and progestogens, and androgens. These three types can be further divided into hundreds of different subcategories based on chemical composition and manufacturing techniques such as Dianabol, Genabol, and Arimidex. Corticosteroids can be used mainly for medicinal uses, estrogens and progestogens are used mainly for development of female characteristics, and androgens are used for development of male characteristics. Androgens, also known as Anabolic Steroids, are the most widely abused steroids because they possess testosterone, which is what produces their extraordinary muscle building side effects (Steroidology). Perhaps the most identifiable reason for the banning of steroids is the dangerous and potentially lethal side effects of steroid use. The side effects for steroids use in men are the most

Hendricks 3 known and the most varied. In men, the shrinking of the testicles occurs as a result of the body ceasing production of testosterone because the body strives to maintain homeostasis, so it tries to reduce the amount of testosterone in the blood. This results in the shrinking of the testicles. Many athletes fear this side effect, and so they have tried to find a way to combat this, such as using Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), anti-estrogens, or Selective Estrogen Receptor Antagonists (SERMs), which can reverse this effect to a degree. However, these drugs are not proven to work, and so the reversal of shrunken testicles is not guaranteed, despite the fact that many claim they can reverse the effects. Also, prolonged and extreme steroid use can lead to hazardous liver and kidney problems. Because the liver filters out drugs and toxins from the body, overloading it with steroids can lead to severe damage such as cysts or tumors. Another common side effect of steroids in men is gynocomastia, which is the “feminization of breast tissue in men” (Steroid Abuse). This occurs when the excess testosterone in the body is converted into estrogen, which will usually travel to breast tissue, resulting in the large breasts. The excess tissue then has to be removed by surgery or other potentially dangerous drugs. Another identifiable side effect of steroids is “roid rage,” which results in increased levels of “violence, mania, and psychosis.” This is a result of the increase of testosterone and other hormones in the body. The level of aggression is often exponentially higher in the individuals that take steroids, often resulting in assaults and other such crimes. In fact, famous WWE wrestler Chris Benoit killed his wife and son, and subsequently committed suicide. The coroner discovered high levels of steroids in his body, which lead him to believe that the steroids had caused Benoit to experience a psychotic break, possibly causing him to murder his family (Fish). He is not the only steroid user that has become incredibly violent after using steroids, and he certainly will not be the last. Sterility in both men and women is also a common side effect of

Hendricks 4 steroid use. This byproduct of steroid use results from the disruption of women’s menstrual cycles, causing them to no longer be able to have babies. In men, the levels of Follicle Stimulating Hormones are reduced to a point that ceases sperm production. Steroids are actually so proficient at this that they have been used as a means of male contraception. Other side effects of steroids include the development of masculine characteristics in women, baldness, stunted growth, and excessive body hair ( With all of these dangerous side effects, steroids should be completely banned for the threat they pose to the people that take them, as well as the threat to those around them. Steroids were first used in a national sporting event in the 1954 World Weightlifting Championship by the Soviet Union as a means to increase their weightlifting proficiency. A man named John Zeigler discovered that the Soviets were using drugs in order to win the competitions, and so he brought that secret to the U.S., where it flourished. Since then, steroids have become prevalent in almost every sport conceived, from baseball and football to tennis and swimming. The first news coverage began to occur in the world of baseball after several athletes were discovered to have been taking steroids. Afterwards, the media and fans began a crusade to ban steroids from sports, which they succeeded in (Steroidology). However, the issue of steroids in sports is a delicate one in that the fans want to be entertained by hard-hitting impacts and amazing displays of physical prowess, yet they do not want to know that the athletes that they idolize have taken a supplement in order to further their abilities. Many fans condemn the athletes that use steroids, and then belittle the athletes that are not as strong or as fast. Because of this ridicule, athletes take steroids regardless of the risks because they would rather put their lives and careers on the line than be subject to the derision of the crowd. Many of these athletes are successful at keeping their steroid use secret, but some are discovered and must face the legal

Hendricks 5 and moral consequences that steroids come with. This raises an interesting dilemma for athletes: should they take steroids and risk everything they have, or should they refuse to take steroids and possibly be considered inferior athletes (Gerdes). Ultimately, this is a decision that the athlete must make for himself, but tighter steroid control could possibly level the playing field and make the decision to play fairly a much easier and obvious choice because of the difficulty in obtaining steroids. In modern society, individuals are pressured to look a certain way or face exile by their peers, which cause many of them to turn to steroids in order to help them look and feel a certain way that society deems as not only acceptable but necessary. However, this requirement is not fair to everyone because not all people are gifted with cut bodies and fit exteriors. Society places too much importance on physical beauty and does not appreciate individuals for what makes them unique and special. Magazines and movies constantly push individuals to look like famous actors that possess rippling muscles and hard bodies. These famous individuals are idolized because of the way they look, and so society requires that everyone look that way, which forces individuals to fit that look any way they can. Steroids are a logical choice for those that desperately want to look the way society requires them to, and they willingly take these dangerous drugs in order to fit that look. Steroids provide an easy way for people to gain muscles without the hard work that they should go through to obtain them. That results in a culture that does not want to work for the things they want, but instead always looks for the easy way to do things. That attitude is detrimental to the advancement of humankind, and should be avoided at all costs. However, if steroid control was tightened, that would take some of the pressure off of individuals because no one would be able to look that way without hard work and dedication. It

Hendricks 6 would also teach individuals that there are no shortcuts to accomplish the things that they desire and that they must work for the things they want. Another reason for tighter control of steroids is the fact that there are many legal alternatives to steroids that can provide the same benefits without the added risk. Instead of taking steroids, many athletes take protein supplements that provide the same muscle growth, though on a slightly smaller level. There are many different types of protein that can be used for safe and legal muscle growth, such as whey protein, casein, and soy protein. Proteins are the basic building blocks of muscles, and provide all the necessary nutrients needed for muscle gain. Simple diet and exercise can lead to large amounts of muscle gain, so much that steroids are not necessary. In fact, many athletes are able to make progress when it comes to muscle gain simply by eating foods that are high in protein or through protein powders. Loading the body with protein can increase muscle mass, as well as drinking protein shakes. Many protein powders also contain chemicals that cause the body to absorb more protein than it usually would, which gives the body the necessary tools for muscle building. This means that the same muscle mass that can be obtained through steroids can also be acquired through eating large amounts of protein, which is safer than steroids as well as legal. Despite all of the negative aspects of steroids, there are still people that would argue for the legalization of steroids, one of their arguments being that some steroids can be used in the treatment of medical illnesses. In most cases, “steroids are used to treat a variety of conditions in which the body's defense system malfunctions and causes tissue damage” (Web MD). This includes many autoimmune diseases, diseases that cause inflammation like systemic vasculitis and myostisis, as well as arthritis, lupus, and gout. Autoimmune diseases are diseases in which the body essentially turns against itself, attacking the healthy cells instead of foreign cells.

Hendricks 7 Steroids can help treat this by disrupting white blood cells. Steroids can help relieve inflammation by causing the body to cease production of inflammatory chemicals that can result in tissue damage. Generally, corticosteroids are used in these treatments. When used sparingly, steroids can relieve these illnesses. However, they still carry many of the side effects that anabolic steroids have. Despite the medicinal uses of steroids, the dangers of steroids outweigh these benefits, and so this argument is not strong enough to justify the legalization of steroids. In the United States, steroids are becoming an increasingly threatening problem for the government to deal with. With all of the clandestine sales of steroids in the backs of gyms and doctors offices, law enforcement officials are having difficulties in catching individuals that distribute and use steroids. The use of steroids in the United States has grown exponentially in the last decade, resulting in a prolific industry that has grown essentially unchecked for far too long. Because of this expansion, anyone can purchase steroids from almost any public gym. With the ease of obtaining illegal steroids, many argue that the government’s time would be better served finding other substances that are even more potent and deadly. However, steroids are a real threat that needs to be addressed, not just thrown under a rug and forgotten about. Therefore, the United States government should dedicate its efforts to the dissolution of the steroid industry, not just ignore the problem and hope that it goes away. Too many people’s lives have been irrevocably destroyed by steroid abuse, as much as any other major drug that is currently out there. So long as the government does not take this threat seriously, it will run rampant throughout the United States. The U.S. government has to treat this as seriously as the public, not just waiting for sports officials to discover whether or not professional athletes are taking them. If the U.S. government would crack down on steroid abuse, thousands of lives could potentially be saved instead of having to suffer from the life-changing effects that steroids can bring about.

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Works Cited "Anabolic Steroid Charges - Possession of Steroids." Criminal Attorneys & Defense Lawyers | Criminal Law Attorney | Web. 11 Sept. 2011. Fish, Mike. "Steroids Discovered in Probe of Slayings, Suicide - ESPN." ESPN: The Worldwide Leader In Sports. Web. 01 Oct. 2011. Gerdes, Louise I., ed. Performance Enhancing Drugs. Detroit: Greenhaven, 2008. Print. Monroe, Judy. Steroids, Sports, and Body Image: The Risks of Performance-Enhancing Drugs. Berkeley Heights, NJ, USA: Enslow, 2004. Print. Steroid Abuse. Web. 15 Oct. 2011. Web. 4 Sept. 2011. Steroids - Web. 16 Oct. 2011. "Steroids to Treat Arthritis." WebMD - Better Information. Better Health. Web. 10 Sept. 2011.