In the United States, anabolic steroid laws are often profoundly misunderstood. For those who do not supplement it's often assumed anabolic steroids are outright illegal in the same manner as cocaine. For those who do supplement, the issue surrounding steroid laws often becomes blurred, as it is often assumed personal use in small amounts is protected under liberty. Regardless of the side of the fence you fall on, of an anti or pro steroid nature, the steroid laws of the United States are relatively simple, yet quite complex in origin by the manner in-which they were created, as well as in their basis of enforcement.
In the United States, anabolic androgenic steroids are classified as Schedule III controlled substances under federal law and violation of the law is a felony offence. As Schedule III controlled substances, it is against the law to manufacture, sell, purchase or possess anabolic steroids unless a viable and legitimate medical need is warranted. Failure to comply with the steroid laws of the U.S. can result in heavy fines, as well as jail time, and further lead to consequences of a horrific nature that can affect the rest of your life.
In an effort to win the war on steroids, through the congressional legislation enacted under the Steroid Control Act of 1990, and reinforced with the Steroid Control Act of 2004, anabolic androgenic steroids, as well as many other performance enhancing drugs have found themselves placed in the same category as amphetamines, methamphetamines, opium and morphine under the Schedule III classification. There are five (5) Scheduled classifications under U.S. law, and each is defined by the following:
By the nature of their classification, anabolic androgenic steroids are legal to possess if they are prescribed by a licensed physician for a medical treatment. Once a prescription is in hand the individual can legally obtain the hormones prescribed at the local pharmacy of their choosing; however, some physicians will require administration of the hormones to take place in their office in an effort to provide a strict level of control. Common causes for obtaining an anabolic steroid prescription include treating muscle wasting diseases, treating severe burn victims, aiding in transgender lifestyles and in the treatment of hormone deficiencies, most commonly low testosterone and Andropause.
Through the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990, authored by then Senator Joe Biden, the following substances were placed on the controlled substance list as Schedule III drugs; the list includes the following substances in all their forms:
As the idea behind the original Steroid Control Act was to end anabolic steroid use outside of the medical field, it would largely prove to be remarkably ineffective. As such, the Steroid Control Act of 2004 was drafted, again, largely pushed by then Senator Joe Biden. With the 2004 act, the steroid laws of the United States gained new strength as an additional 26 substances were added to the list; even specific esters and other non-steroidal substances were included. By U.S. steroid laws enacted under the 2004 Act the following substances in all forms were added to the Schedule III classification:
By way of the Steroid Control Acts, applying to all federal courts, simple possession of anabolic steroids is a felony offence. First time offenders are subject to punishment of a minimum $1,000 fine and up to one year in prison. If the individual is a second time offender, his fine will be $2,500 with a maximum two year prison sentence. For those who possess more than two prior convictions, the fine is doubled to a minimum $5,000 and prison time to extend to a possible maximum three year mark. It is important to note, simple possession is any amount.
The above punishments are simply for mere possession and do not touch distribution charges. Those charged with breaking steroid laws of a distributing nature will find the penalty to be far more severe; what many fail to understand is it is very easy for simple possession to be turned into a distribution charge; we'll explain as we go along. Failure to comply with steroid laws that encompass manufacturing or distribution can result in fines up to $250,000, and a five year prison sentence, and this is for first time offenders. Repeat offenders can receive as much as ten years in prison, and a fine to be determined by the court.
In any case, possession or distribution, once the punishment is in place regarding fines and jail time the individual still has to deal with probation or a paroled way of life for a determined amount of time set by the court; generally 2-4 years. Further, they are now faced with having a felony offence on their record for the rest of their life, thereby losing basic rights such as voting and gun ownership not to mention making it very difficult to get a job and simply being forced to live with a felony stigma that never goes away.
For many who supplement with anabolic steroids for the sole purpose of personal use, in many cases if they find themselves in trouble it is very easy for this mere possession charge to be turned into distribution. Commonly you'll find one individual has gotten into trouble and in-order to save himself take his burden and place in on another. He may ask you for a few tabs or for a small bottle of testosterone; he may say he's running short and needs just a little to finish out a cycle. As you want to help your friend you'll give him what he needs; little do you know your "friend" is setting you up.
From this little transaction, you are now a distributor according to the steroid laws, and as your friend had law enforcement watching the transaction you are now officially a steroid dealer under the law; all from one bottle of testosterone or a few tablets of Dianabol. It may sound like something out of a movie, and you may be thinking there's no way this would ever happen to you, but it happens all the time and far more often than you might think. Further, you're probably thinking there's no way your friend would do this to you, but for most, when they are facing possible jail time they'll do whatever it takes and that includes screwing you. Absolutely, there are those who take their trouble on the cheek, they own it themselves, but law enforcement will squeeze most with relentless ferocity until the fear breaks them; remember, just because someone trains with you or shares a beer does not make them a true friend.
Another problem you may be faced with if you are busted simply revolves around the amounts you have in your possession. Many performance enhancers buy in bulk planning for several cycles at a time. To begin, it's often cheaper to buy in bulk; further, it ensures you have all you need before you start your cycle. If you have large enough amounts, it is extremely easy for your possession to be deemed distribution amounts, and unfortunately there is no set amount that distinguishes between possession and distribution. This can be a common problem for those caught with large quantities of 5mg Dianabol tabs; the most common and popular Dianabol tabs of all. Often doses of this steroid fall in the 50mg-100mg per day range for 6 weeks at a time; right off the bat you have 420-840 Dianabol tabs in your possession at least, not to mention the probability of other steroids such as Testosterone, Deca-Durabolin, Trenbolone, etc.
As the majority of anabolic steroids are now purchased online and packages are delivered via mail the issues of controlled deliveries, seized packages and entrapment are often a topic of discussion revolving around steroid laws. Commonly, packages are stopped by customs or postal inspectors and the intended recipient receives a letter informing them the package has been seized as it contains a controlled substance. The letter will usually state the individual has thirty days to claim the package if they believe and can prove they are legally entitled to the package; if not it will be confiscated. At this point, no other action is taken; if the individual ignores the letter generally nothing else will happen but he will not receive his package and he will have lost the money spent. If you receive such a letter it's always a good idea to inform your attorney of the situation, but in most cases, the matter will be dropped.
Quite commonly, far more often than many believe and at increasing rates, when a package is stopped at customs or by postal inspectors a letter will not be sent; instead the package will be the subject of a controlled delivery. In this instance, the package will arrive in the hands of an undercover law enforcement agent posing as a postal or delivery service employee. In most cases, you'll be asked to sign for the package; once you sign you admit to knowingly accepting the package based on the desire to receive the entailed items. When this occurs you are dead where you stand. For this reason, many performance enhancers assume if they do not sign for a package they are safe but even without signing, by merely accepting the package the individual has walked face first into an admission of guilt. There have been many instances where law enforcement agents asked for a signature as this does give them a stronger case, but when the individual refuses they'll take the next best thing and tell the receiver it's okay if they don't sign. The individual then accepts the package and in most cases is arrested on the spot.
Many performance enhancers believe such controlled deliveries are a form of entrapment. Many performance enhancers truly believe if they do not sign for package law enforcement agents have broken entrapment laws. In some cases, the individual will even ask the deliverer of the package if he is a law enforcement agent, of course he will say no and the individual will accept the package; this is not entrapment. Law enforcement agents by the wording of the law are permitted to lie and cheat if it leads to an arrest; this pertains to steroid laws as well. The only way entrapment can be claimed, is if law enforcement caused you to break a law you would not have broken without their direct influence. This is not the case here, you would have accepted the package if it had been from a true postal employee; after all, you ordered it.
It must also be noted; many performance enhancers assume law enforcement is not interested in personal users. It is true, anabolic steroid suppliers are the main focus but ask yourself this question; how do you think they get to the suppliers? In order to get to the big fish law enforcement agents will fry as many small fish as they have to along the way; if you think personal use is free from the arm of the law think again.
By way of the Steroid Control Acts law enforcement agencies have arrested thousands, shut down numerous labs and confiscated millions of dollars and countless amounts of anabolic steroids; especially since the 2004 Act. By these facts, it would appear the steroid laws of the United States are by-in-large successful, but this is hardly the case. For years, the U.S. government has argued a large part of the reasoning regarding the war on steroids was to protect children from steroid use, as anabolic steroid use in adolescents can be devastating. Even now, as then, adolescents supplementing with anabolic androgenic steroids, while dangerous is miniscule but what about the adult population?
In the United States, over six-million adults supplement with anabolic steroids for the purpose of performance enhancement and these are only the ones we know about. While this is the only number we have, it is estimated to be more than double that amount based on the activity of the steroid market. Further and more importantly so, United States steroid laws have not slowed the market down; the availability of high quality anabolic steroids is greater than ever and even in states of a poor economy this is one of the few markets that absolutely thrives.
One might ask, what's point? If so many U.S. adults are supplementing, despite strict steroid laws what is the point in spending millions upon millions upon millions of tax payer dollars on a never ending and winless war? The answer is clear; the war on steroids is largely fueled by blind hysteria. The U.S. steroid laws and the legislation that enacted them is one of the most unique laws, as it is based on hollow foundations and simply rest on emotion. During the steroid hearings of the late 1980's, leading to the 1990 Act, congress received testimony from numerous medical and law enforcement agencies they called to the floor. As by law, to Schedule anabolic androgenic steroids congress needed these substances to present an element of mental and physical addiction and dependency as well as mind altering effects; this proof was not provided. In open testimony, based on their findings, the American Medical Association stated before congress "we vehemently oppose the ban"; a sentiment held by the majority of those testifying including the FDA and DEA as such medical evidence needed to Schedule simply wasn't there in any shape or form.
What does it all mean; if the legislation itself rest on such shaky ground from where does it derive? There are numerous fingers we can point, accounts of athletes stating steroids ruined their health; although the proof is never given; stories of one athlete feeling betrayed because he was beaten by a steroid user; often we find out he was using steroids too, he just got beat. The truth is absolute; the steroid laws of the United States exist for one reason and one reason only; lack of education. The steroid laws of the United States are comparable to the true witch hunts done hundreds of years ago; further, on their basis share strong similarities with the Volstead Act that brought us prohibition; how did that direct infringement on liberty workout for us? Of course, there are arguments of health, although no sound evidence of damaging health has ever been linked to responsible use; further, not only has no one ever died from responsible use there has never been one recorded death due to anabolic steroid use since their inception. Compare that to NSAID painkillers that claim the lives of over 16,000 Americans every year; you know, things like Aspirin. In the end, the steroid laws of the United States are a mockery to the country itself; we can argue about cheating in sports, but that is a separate argument and does not pertain to personal use. As U.S. citizens, we are granted liberty and the steroid laws of the U.S. spit directly in its face.