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What is the Extent of Illicit Anabolic Steroid Use in the U.S?

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Anabolic Steroids

     Anabolic Steroids substances include the male sex dihydrotestosterone and testosterone-hormone. These androgenous hormones promote male sexual properties development such as voice deepening and growth of beard or other males associated characteristics. These anabolic steroids substances also stimulate other tissues development particularly muscle and bone mass and production of RBCs.

       These substances are medically used to treat various disorders such as delayed puberty, hypogonadism, osteoporosis, and endometriosis and other problems that result due to hormonal imbalances.

Anabolic steroids prohibition in sports

      Anabolic steroids that include, for example, oxandrolone, testosterone, danazol, and methyltestosterone agents are used by athletes to enhance performance by increasing muscle mass. The U.S. has prohibited the use of these substances due to their potential for developing adverse side-effects.

    The U.S. Agency of Anti-Doping or USADA and  Anti-Doping World Agency or WADA and  International Committee of Olympic or  IOC and  National Association Collegiate Athletic or NCAA have included these substances in prohibited-substances lists.

In U.S.A the limit of illicit steroids use

     In the country of USA, the street purchase and illegal use of these anabolic steroids substances are absolutely risky. Illicit steroids are sold at sporting competitions, gyms or through the mail order process. However, the products may be contaminated or altered products.  Records showed that these illicit steroid substances are smuggled from other countries or these are illegally taken from pharmacies and manufactured in backside laboratories. Street names of these anabolic steroids are Juice, Pumpers, Gym candy, Roids, Andro, and Stackers.

Read MoreWhere Steroids Are Legal

Anabolic Steroids Abuses

     There is less statistical data available on steroids abuse as usually, the drug abuse surveys have not included steroids. The scientific evidence from the NIDA institute indicated only ten percent abuse chances among athletes. In the 2017 school Survey, high professionals reported that people do not have an accurate perception of steroids harms. Through laboratory testing, anabolic steroids presence can be detected, and athletes are monitored for competitions to check drugs usage and dependence.

Read More: What is being done to combat Anabolic Steroids abuse?

Side Effects of Anabolic Steroids

        Anabolic steroids use alters body’s normal balance of hormonal production. Some effects are reversible while some persist such as deepened voice and breast enlargement etc.

      Side effects include severe acne, hair loss, liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease, mood swings, high BP, gynecomastia, shrinking testicles, azoospermia, menstrual irregularities, infertility, and bacterial infections.

Anabolic Steroids are Addictive

      Users become psychologically and physically dependent.  Drug-dependent behavior results due to the extended drug use while physical withdrawal problems such as fatigue, mood swings, appetite loss, restlessness, insomnia, steroid cravings, and less sex drive are the consequences.  Severe withdrawal issues may cause high depression level and even the person can suicide due to high mental pressure. The conditions may persist even after one year of drug stoppage.

      Through proper treatments and recovery cycles interventions, anabolic addiction and anabolic impacts can be managed. Antidepressants and analgesics, and behavioral therapies are suggested for recovery purposes.

Combat with Anabolic Steroids use and abuse

       To limit the use of anabolic steroids, the focus is on educational efforts to promote awareness about steroid abuse. The programs have been initiated by NIDA such as The ATLAS or Adolescents Learning and Training for Steroids Avoidance and the ATHENA program or Athletes Targeted Healthy Nutrition and Exercise Alternatives programs. The Health and Science Oregon University programs are focused to teach athletes about natural bodybuilding.

Read MoreWhat to Choose Between Natural Bodybuilding And Steroids?

     The programs are about nutrition alternatives and weight-training, healthy behaviors, steroids avoidance, and avoidance of alcoholic use.

Major addiction in US society

          Athletes take high steroids’ doses that lead to health disorders. The increasing use of these substances is a threat to public health and it is important to quantify the prevalence of Anabolic Steroids use. There are fewer data available on AAS prevalence and use, and these substances have been least studied because these are said as newly introduced substances. However, athletes started to use AAS during the 1950s, and the use increased after 1980s in the US.

         The age distribution pattern of Anabolic Steroids users showed that youth is the major addition or user of steroids since the 1980s. There has been observed a continuous increase in AAS users, however, sparse data has complicated the more accurate prevalence estimations. It requires methodological surveys to access the AAS users and to find the extent of AAS use. Moreover, people hesitate to talk about their steroid experience.

Research evidence 

            The approximate analyses of AAS users have been considered in the US context as the US country is most famous for AAS use, and there are the AAS users in the largest numbers. The illicit use of anabolic steroids in the US arose before other countries as American culture valued particularly-shaped man figure. U.S movies, dramas, and fitness magazines promoted heroes with heavy and muscular bodies. The US population has the biggest proportion of anabolic steroid users and there have been least surveys conducted on AAS since 1994.

            A study revealed that Americans with age group of 13–50 were 108.5 million users that increased to 103.6–113.5 million during 1990–2011.

           During the Youth-survey 1991, the data was gathered from America’s High-schools revealed that AAS use was common among 1oth to 12th graders. Mathematical models predicted that currently, more than 4.0 M American population depends on AAS.

       MTF data showed that young adults of age group 19–28 were AAS users covered 3.1 million of Americans since 1989 to 2011and there was a steady increase in AAS users, while the age group of 19–22 were 3.7 M Americans who were AAS users from 1993 to 2001data estimates. The 2001 survey reported 1.05% lifetime prevalence, and the lifetime steroid prevalence in the US is   2–3 times higher than that was in 1994.

           Research studies by Pope et al., and Malone et al., revealed that 2.9 to 4.0M Americans have used anabolic steroids and 1 million among them developed AAS dependence.

Facts 

  • Less data has been generated on these aspects because youngsters use this during their 20s time- age and parents don't observe them. Usually, the AAS use has always been discussed for athletes, while the great majority does not belong to competitive athletes groups. Moreover, AAS users did not consult with physicians as the study determined that AAS users about 56% never disclosed about AAS use and the emergence of disorders.
  • Steroidal supplements are modified into testosterone compounds. Steroidal dietary supplements, for example, tetrahydrogestrinone and androstenedione were previously brought from food stores without prescription but their use is now prohibited and illegal after Steroid Control 2004 amendment Act.
  • 3-Dehydroepiandrosterone or (DHEA) is also prohibited by Anti-Doping US but it is legally available as these agents have fewer effects on performance-enhancement and other detrimental side-effects.
Concluding notes
  • AAS users are still a group of youngsters who rarely develop medical problems of clinical importance; therefore, the AAS dependence has remained unnoticed for the most time.
  • The long-term use of anabolic steroids results in coronary atherosclerosis and myocardial dysfunction that shows the under-recognized problem of secret steroid use.
  • Majority of users are recreational weightlifters as compared to competitive athletes who may develop coronary artery and LV dysfunction diseases.
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