Steroid Laws

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History and background of steroid laws

Use of anabolic steroids is a vastly debated topic that is very different from use of other prescription drugs or illicit substances. While substance abuse is a topic that is being rigorously regulated worldwide, it is a different scenario altogether when it comes to use of anabolic steroids. The U.S. laws do not completely ban the use and possession of anabolic steroids. Most people simply choose to believe that these are harmful to the body and must be avoided at all costs. However, the reality is quite different. In fact a vast majority of nations worldwide do not have any sort of anabolic steroid laws and many other have a very lax regulation. Many other countries look upon illegal trafficking of anabolic steroids as a criminal offense. However, legal possession and usage is allowed and remains unregulated.

While many may propose that the use of anabolic steroids is relatively new, their use began much before the 20th century in ancient Greece. It is a known fact that athletes in the ancient Olympics would consume raw animal testicles. As bizarre and awkward as it may sound, this was done to enhance an athlete’s performance. Thanks to modern technology, scientists have been able to isolate or produce testosterone and other performance enhancing drugs in laboratory conditions. The first instance of anabolic steroid production began in 1931, when Adolf Butenandt, a German chemist was able to isolate Androsterone from urine and heralding an era of research into the development of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.

The use of anabolic steroids in performance enhancement began when the United States discovered about how the Russian athletes were making use of testosterone to enhance their performance. This led to the introduction of anabolic steroids in the daily regime of U.S. athletes. This led to the enhancement of the performance in the U.S. athletes and performance enhancement made an official entry into the world of sports. The impact the athletes were having as a result of performance enhancing drugs started being noticed by many physicians and medical practitioners in the U.S. Many studies were being conducted and were aimed at stopping the use of anabolic steroids among the athletes. At the same time, several studies were also being published that implicated that anabolic steroids would have no significant impact on the performance in a sporting event.

However, these studies did not gain any traction and the usage of anabolic steroids continued. By 1960s the use of anabolic steroids among the Olympic athletes was highly widespread. The usage was very popular among the weightlifters. This led to  the International Olympic Council banning the use of anabolic steroids completely from any form of sporting event in 1972. All the other sporting bodies would also followed this example. The International Olympic Council also started implementing drug tests to their athletes from the year 1972. These tests were also proven to be ineffective as testosterone levels of athletes drop to the normal level and still produce the desired effect by only stop consuming them three days prior to the test. This loophole was exploited by Germany in the Olympics for a very long time until 1990 when the scandal blew apart. Many people also point out to the Canadian athlete Ben Johnson who defeated his American counterpart Carl Lewis in an Olympic event. It was discovered that Ben had been using anabolic steroids as a part of his training and as a result was denied his Olympic medal.

While a vast majority of this article is intended to impart education on anabolic steroid laws, we would also slightly venture into international laws and also laws that concern other nations. This is done so that everybody can understand about the situation at a global level. So you can decide for yourself about how to approach the use of anabolic steroids at a local level.

Anabolic steroids are drugs that have a similar effect as that of testosterone on the human body. These increase the protein content in the cells and skeletal muscles and boost their growth vigorously. Anabolic steroids were first made some time in the 1930s and are widely used in several medications that require stimulating growth. In addition to this, they also provide immense relief to patients suffering from chronic conditions such as AIDS and cancer. Even though anabolic steroids were discovered as early as 1931, they gained popularity between the 1960s and 1980s through the world’s most popular sporting event, the Olympics. Between these times, the use of anabolic steroids was not regulated in the U.S. Anabolic steroids were classified as prescription drugs by the FDA and the use was allowed especially for performance enhancement in sports.

The use of anabolic steroids was not a huge issue in the U.S up until 1988. Prior to this period, the black market pertaining to anabolic steroids was not as significant as it is now. Also, a vast majority of the people would procure anabolic steroids legally from medical practitioners and they were being used under the supervision of the medical practitioners. Since these drugs were classified as prescription drug, they could be obtained only through medical practitioners. There were no laws regulating their usage and as a result there was hardly any illegal production that was taking place with respect to the use of anabolic steroids. However the lack of regulation often meant that certain entities would amass the anabolic steroids illegally and then supply without a medical prescription. The lax laws also meant that these illegal dealers when apprehended could get away with their supply with nothing more than a petty fine.

As time passed by various medical practitioners and the mass media began raising concerns about the increasing popularity of anabolic steroids. The exposure to the ill effects of anabolic steroid usage in the field of sports received ample media exposure right from the beginning of 1980s. However, soon the media would go on to report about the usage among the general public. Tests were initiated at various sporting events to check for anabolic steroid usage among athletes and various other sportspersons. When some of them were tested positively for anabolic steroid usage, the case grew even stronger in favor of banning the anabolic steroids completely.

Anabolic steroids – initial laws

The media has been imparting knowledge about anabolic steroids to be harmful and highly dangerous drugs for many years. The use of anabolic steroids by any person is labeled as substance abuse even though the two are not the same. Many law enforcement officials too eagerly prosecute with the use of anabolic steroids under any circumstances except when used under strict supervision of physicians for therapeutic purposes. However, there are a few physicians that continue to accept that anabolic steroids have been wrongly classified under schedule III drug. While the media may refrain from publishing any information in favor of anabolic steroids, the reality suggests that there are in fact a large number of compelling reasons backed by scientific research that point towards the wrongful inclusion of anabolic steroids as a schedule III drug.

There has been a lot of evidence that has been uncovered pertaining to the actual health hazards associated with the use of anabolic steroids among mature adults. In fact many experts believe that the strict regulations pertaining to the use of anabolic steroids has led to less research being dedicated towards anabolic steroids and the benefits that can be derived from the use of anabolic steroids has also been stifled. In addition to this, there are several other arguments that point to the failures of law when it comes to curbing the usage of anabolic steroids in sporting events. This has remained persistent even with the regulations in place and in fact the situation has become much worse than it was before regulation due to the widespread knowledge about anabolic steroids and their uses.

Some time around the middle of 1980s, there were several media reports emerging about the misuse of anabolic steroids in the media. One of the reports that grabbed the attention of the Congress included the misuse of anabolic steroids in sporting events. At the same time, several reports and research conducted by several media persons indicated a rising epidemic of high school students using anabolic steroids to manipulate their physique for various reasons from performance enhancement in sports and things as trivial as good looks. When these reports started creating mass hysteria among the general population, several Congressional hearings and debates were conducted between 1988 and 1990.

These hearings were held to further investigate into the extent to which the anabolic steroids were causing damage. There hearings would also determine if it was necessary to control these substances under the Controlled Substance Act, which played an instrumental role in prohibiting drugs such as heroin and cocaine. While this was eventually achieved, the adverse effects arising from anabolic steroid usage such as liver damage and other endocrinological issues were not enough to schedule anabolic steroids under the Controlled Substances Act.

In fact, a large number of people who had testified at the Congressional hearings that included several medical professionals, experts and representatives from DEA, FDA and other regulatory bodies had also strongly recommended against the ban on the usage of anabolic steroids under the proposed amendment. The medical community still continues to persist that the effects of abuse arising from the usage of anabolic steroids or any other growth hormone does not lead to any form of psychological and physical support that can render a drug to be scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act. However, the Congress was more bent towards prohibiting the usage of anabolic steroids from professional sports. Many of the witnesses called forth during the congressional hearing also included several representatives from athletics. As a result the amendment was passes in order to solve an issue of cheating in athletics and other sporting events.

As a result, after much debate, controversies and Congressional hearings later the Anabolic Steroid Control Act was finally passed in 1990. Anabolic steroids were added to the schedule of controlled substances under the act and criminalized any usage for non-medicinal purposes for bodily growth either in sports or even for enhancing the aesthetic appeal through bodybuilding with anabolic steroid ingestion. The Act also placed anabolic steroids in league with several other harmful drugs such as ketamines, LSD, cocaine and heroin. As per the new laws, those caught with the possession of anabolic steroids would face prosecution and also arrest. The Act also prohibits any individual to possess any amount of anabolic steroids unless the said amount was obtained directly under a medical practitioner for use in medication.

While the Act was passed mainly to keep anabolic steroids away from sports, the health risks that arise from their usage are not quite relevant to the criteria required to schedule drug under the Controlled Substances Act. While the legislators purport that the Act intends to uphold the health of the general public, the reality is far from this. This is also a popular belief among the general public and it is questionable to understand if the public would continue to support the Act if they realized the actual effects of these drugs. Several studies and research conducted in the area of analyzing the ill effects of anabolic steroids from medical professionals have identified that thesymptoms are not significant enough to ban the substances completely. The comparative risks of anabolic steroid usage are also low when compared to certain other drugs as well as physical activities. In fact even the psychiatric roid-rage has also met skepticism of medical experts. However, these medical journals do not grab the attention of the media who continue to put forth a darker image when it comes to steroid usage in front of the general public.

The offense of possession includes conviction, jail term and also a hefty fine of $1000 or more. If the person possessing anabolic steroids has a history of any narcotic or other drug use, the person could face imprisonment of up to 2 years in addition to a fine of $2500 or more. If an individual is found to be possessing anabolic steroids with more than one previous offense under the Act would be facing as many as three years of imprisonment and fine amounting to $5000 or more. If a person is found to be in possession of anabolic steroids with an intention of distributing them or is caught distributing them would face prison time amounting to a maximum of 5 years and an additional fine amounting to $250000. The penalties would also increase significantly for offenders that have been caught repeatedly with the same offense. In addition to this, if any person is found distributing anabolic steroids to any person under the age of 21 years is likely to be awarded imprisonment o up to 10 years for a first offense and up to 30 years for repeated instances. These were the laws that were passed in 1990. Various amendments in the years to come have only increased these penalties to harsher terms.

Anabolic Steroid Control Act – 2004

A new federal law was drafted in 2004 when President George W. Bush signed an law aimed at controlling the anabolic steroids. As per this law, an additional 26 substances would be added to the earlier list that was created in 1990 and had been classified under schedule III drugs. As a result, the possession of even a single tablet of anabolic steroids can lead to severe imprisonment and would be considered as a federal crime. The Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004 was initiated by the BALCO scandal that involved several eminent sporting personalities involved in an act of steroid usage for performance enhancement.

The year 2004 revealed a fresh scandal involving sports athletes and anabolic steroid use. BALCO or the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative involved in what is now being termed as one of the greatest drug scandals in the history of athletics that involved several popular baseball stars and other athletes. The San Francisco based nutrition supplement manufacturer was found to be supplying several different performance enhancing anabolic steroids to many baseball players between 1988 when legislators were initiating a ban on the use of steroids by scheduling all anabolic steroids under the Controlled Substances Act despite opposition from regulatory bodies such as DEA and FDA right up to 2002.

When evidence surfaced about the use of anabolic steroids in baseball and BALCO was found to have been behind this, an investigation was initiated in 2002 followed by the discovery of a syringe with traces of banned steroids from a sprint coach by the anti-doping agency in 2003. As a result of this, concerns were being raised through out the nation on the use of anabolic steroids and the government was forced to intervene through congressional hearings to sort out the issue like in 1990. However, the use of anabolic steroids had in fact increased between 1990 and 2002 even with laws in place that prohibited the use of anabolic steroids.

Several reasons are being cited for this development with the media being at the center of focus for increasing awareness among the masses about the use and presence of anabolic steroids. As a result more individuals were attracted towards anabolic steroids creating a massive demand to a substance that was no longer available. In addition to this bodybuilding was highly popular during the 1990s and the direct media coverage about the potential of anabolic steroids led to the emergence of several black markets that were non existent before steroids were banned legally.

One of the consequences of scheduling anabolic steroids under the Controlled Substances Act was to increase the popularity of these substances. Since the supply had been stopped black markets emerged to cope with the ever increasing demand for anabolic steroids. In addition to this several counterfeit steroids also started to flow in to the markets since the demand was already existing. Many underground laboratories to emerged across the U.S. and all over the world to provide anabolic steroids to the black market dealers. In addition to this several products also started emerging that were being sold legally but upon ingestion would turn into anabolic steroids. There wasn’t much information on these products initially and as a result were not included in the anabolic steroid act of 1990. As a result, these products were being circulated legally in place of steroids by circumventing the anabolic steroid laws.

In addition to all the above mentioned factors, the BALCO scandal led to extensive media coverage over the issue of anabolic steroid usage by several popular baseball players had forced the government to initiate another congressional hearing addressing the issue of banning the use of anabolic steroids. The congressional hearings followed by the investigations led to the formation of the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004. As per the new amendment, 26 new compounds were added to the list of prohibited substances.

These compounds include androstnedione, androstenediol, androstanediol, androstanedione, calusterone, bolasterone, 1-dihydrotestosterone, furazabol, 4-hydroxytestosterone, 13b-ethyl-17a-hydroxygon-4-en-3-one, mestanolone, 4-hydroxy-19-nortestosterone, 17a-methyl-3b,17b-dihydroxy-5a-androstane, 17a-methyl-3b,17b-dihydroxyandrost-4-ene, 17a-methyl-3a,17b-dihydroxy-5a-androstane, 17a-methyl-4-hydroxynandrolone, methyltrienolone, 17a-methyl-*1-dihydrotestosterone, methyldienolone, norandrostenedione, norandrostenediol, norclostebol, normethandrolone, norbolethone, tetrahydrogestrinone and stenbolone. Many of these products were being marketed as dietary supplements and some others are pharmaceutically manufactured anabolic steroids that were not included in the original law passed in 1990.

The act also includes several changes such as a revision to the definition of the term anabolic steroid and also the language of the act that has led to the exclusion of several over the counter pharmaceutical products and other dietary supplements that had been omitted in the earlier act. This is done to make sure that no anabolic steroid would be sold over the counter in the form of a dietary supplement. This had been one of the most preferred mechanisms used to legally sell anabolic steroids to anybody that would be interested in buying them. The changes are designed in such a way as to make sure that all the steroids that have been listed in the act and any of their salts, ethers and esters would be scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act. As a result, any person responsible for the manufacture, distribution, import or export of any of these substances needs to obtain a special registration in accordance to the guidelines prescribed by the new laws.

The dispensing of steroids also requires registration and only those registered as dispensers can supply any of these products to the general public upon receipt of appropriate prescription from a registered practitioner. Registers practitioners would include physicians, veterinarians, dentists, pharmacies, hospitals, scientific researchers or any other person licensed and permitted by the government of U.S, or local jurisdiction where they intend to carry, dispense or conduct research by administering anabolic steroids, or using them in chemical analysis or using the substance for educational purposes.

The lawmakers suggest that the reason to include these new substances in the law with the purpose of curbing the use of anabolic steroids in sports. While the intentions behind the law are to promote healthy sports, the past experience suggests otherwise. This is because, the original law that was passed with an intention of curbing the use of anabolic steroids in sports, not only did the usage of performance enhancing drugs in sporting events continued, the problem has actually become more severe than it was before as the use of anabolic steroids has extended even to the general public with a large number of people using these steroids for cosmetic purposes in body building.

Punishments and legal consequences at federal level

As per the 1990 Act, the sentencing commission of U.S. had prepared an elaborate set of guidelines intended for anabolic steroid laws. However, since anabolic steroids had been placed in league with several other dangerous narcotics and other schedule III drugs, the sentencing commission made sure makes a distinction between the two. As aresult, a single unit of anabolic steroids was determined to be of an equivalent of one 10ml vial or 50 tablets that could be ingested orally. If a larger vial was found the law required it to be broken down to be converted to single units as per the definition. As a result an injectable vial of anabolic steroids of any volumes greater than 10ml would be divided into appropriate single units. For example, a vial of anabolic steroid amounting to 40ml would be considered as 4 single units of anabolic steroid.

In 2004, both the guidelines as well as the punishments pertaining to illegal possession and use of anabolic steroids changed drastically. The Act not only modified the definition of anabolic steroids to the Anabolic Steroid Control Act but has also introduced a lot more severe penalties to the act. The Anabolic Steroid Control Act recommended the sentencing commission to increase the penalties to a harsher level in order to deter any efforts of trafficking and usage of anabolic steroids. The commission then made several amendments to the guidelines so that the punishment was in par with that of other offenses under the schedule III drugs.

The sentencing commission as a result modified the amounts for injectable vials as well as orally ingestable steroid tablets. The single unit definitions for anabolic steroids now include 0.5ml for a vial of injectable steroids and a single pill for orally ingestable steroids. In addition to this other formats of anabolic steroids such as creams, patches and powders are to be determined as a single unit for every 25mg. The new amendment has also led to the increase in the severity of punishments. The new amendments also led to an increase in the steroid related operations, investigations and prosecutions. In fact the DEA has made announcements prior to the amendment that they would be focusing on steroid trafficking and abuse more than ever.

Anabolic Steroids and Punishments by the State

The possession and use of Anabolic Steroids is considered as a Federal Offense under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The Act is a drug policy that finds the manufacturing; possession, use, importation and distribution of drugs mentioned under the five Schedules mentioned in the act as crime and are punishable by Law on a Central Level. However, each state has the power to impose their own law on the regulation of drugs in their own jurisdiction. This means that Anabolic Steroids are legal in some States and are illegal in the other States. The State also has the power to define their schedules in which they can define what type of drugs falls under which category. In some cases, HCG (Human Choionic Gonadotropin), which is not considered as an Anabolic Steroid, has been mentioned in certain States as a controlled substance where the distribution and possession of such a drug is a criminal offense.

The State has all the right to set its own policies with regard to drug regulation in its jurisdiction. It has the power to define which drugs come under which category. In Federal law, it states that Anabolic Steroids come under Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act, 1970. In a few states, they have considered Anabolic steroids to be a Schedule II drug under the CSA. This means that the State believes that possession or use of the drug is criminal offense, which is on par with other drugs that include cocaine, morphine, opium, phencycledine and methadone. The penalties for these drugs are also applicable to Anabolic Steroids, which shows that the punishments for breaking the State Law can be worse than the Federal Law.

Steroid users should be aware that there is also an inclusion in the law for the sale and agreement to sell. In both cases, they are considered as crime punishable by State Law. There is some confusion as to which court the offender will be tried in if found guilty of possession or usage of Anabolic Steroids in the State. For states that have legalized the use of steroids, Federal Law still has precedent over that State. This means that although it is legal to use the steroid in that particular State, if Federal agents catch the offender red-handed in that state, the punishment under Federal Law still applies. One of the deciding factors as to which court the offender should be tried in depends upon the agency that has caught the perpetrator. If the local police catch the offender for possession of Anabolic Steroids, then the offender will most likely be tried in a State court under the State law depending on the magnitude of the crime. If the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) catches the offender, then he/she will be tried in a Federal court under Federal Law.

Many a time, there is a dispute with regard to the definition of the drug in the context of the law. This means that there is a possibility that the drug is listed in the State law under two or more different names. This is because the lawmakers do not fully understand the science of the composition of the drug. This allows them to categorize variants of the drugs as a controlled substance although it cannot be defined as one. In medicine, human growth hormones have more medicinal value that helps those people who have deficiency in their growth but in the eyes of the law, it is considered as a controlled substance and its possession is a crime in the State unless prescribed by a medical practitioner. This is mainly because the law has made the name ‘human growth hormone’ as a synonym of human chorionic gonadotropin, which is an illegal substance.

The State also has made classifications of the punishments based on the purpose of its possession. In cases where the purpose of possession of Anabolic steroids is for personal use, the law defines the punishment as a misdemeanor and there is smaller punishment levied on it. While the possession of an Anabolic steroid with the intention or purpose resell or distribute the substance is considered as a criminal offense or a felony and harsher punishments are levied on the offender. States like Ohio has declared that the maximum quantity that a person can have for personal possession is 200 tablets or 16 milliliters of the liquid product and it is a misdemeanor if caught. Any amount in excess of this limit in personal possession is considered as an intention for sale and carries criminal punishment with it. In certain States such as Alabama, the punishment for possession of any amount of Anabolic steroids will carry a statutory punishment of a ten-year sentence in jail as a maximum limit.

Federal and State laws are in agreement with regard to the purpose of the use of Anabolic Steroids. A person can legally use Steroids for certain disease symptoms and even for aging, if legally prescribed by a doctor. Any illegal prescriptions or the use of Anabolic steroids for the purpose of enhancing physical appearance, performance or muscle building is a criminal offense under federal law. This has prompted many people to turn to the black market to attain Anabolic Steroids instead of legitimate pharmacies.

What  these Steroid Laws Do? How Well Have They Been Working?

The law on controlled substances was brought about as means to prevent the consumption of certain substances. This is because it is considered as a harmful drug, which could cause serious side effects that could endanger not only the consumer but the people around the user as well. Hard drugs such as MDMA, DHT and Marijuana are under Schedule I of the CSA as it has serious ramifications in its consumption. One of the other reasons why the law is in place is to also prevent the distribution of the substances to the general public. As it is illegal for a person to even have it in their possession, the fact that it is sold in bulk to other people is technically abetting to the crime itself. This is why the law is more stringent on the people who are selling the substance on a large scale than a person who has it for personal consumption.

The main reason why such drugs are considered illegal is because in the eyes of the law, the substances are performance enhancing which gives athletes and performers an added advantage in a competition or event. This is an improper practice, which has called for international organizations such as the Olympic Committee and FIFA to ban such substances from the athletes and players as they have an unfair advantage over other participants who do not use such substances. This has led to these organizations to have strict screening on the participants so as to ensure that they are not having an edge over their competitors. The use of substances is classified as ‘cheating’ and this is a good argument for banning substances from such events.

With regard to Anabolic Steroids, it comes under Schedule III of controlled substances, which means that it is still legal with a prescription from a medical practitioner. There has to be a precedent in order to get a prescription from a doctor. This means that the person who is requesting for Anabolic Sterpoids must have a medical reason to purchase it. In most cases, Anabolic steroids are given to those who require it for treatment of Hypogonadism which is disease that is attributed with a low level of testosterone and Andropause which is a suppression of androgen in the body. There are many other diseases for which Anabolic Steroids is the solution as it most commonly used to help boost testosterone in the body for those with low levels.

One of the biggest doubts that law enforcements face is that they are unable to determine if the possessor is using Steroids for personal use or for dealing in large quantities. A person may have a large quantity of Steroids but it does not necessarily mean that he/she is a dealer of said substance. In the eyes of the law, it is considered as a failure to comply that has many consequences that are attached to it. This includes fines, jail time, a black mark on the person’s permanent record and even a lengthy probation, even if the person is a first time offender.

The major misconception that is faced by the law enforcement is that the person who is in possession of Anabolic Steroids in bulk could be stocking up his dosage so that he/she does not have to buy it in the future. In order for Anabolic Steroids to have a positive effect on the body, it must be administered over a long period of time. The administration process involves consuming the substance over different steroid cycles that last about 8-12 weeks. The mode of administration is either through tablets or an injection. These tablets are generally 10mg or 50mg and a person normally requires a dosage of at least 50mg per day for the entire cycle. If there are only 10mg tablets available for the user, he/she must buy at least 210 tablets for the entire cycle instead of 42 tablets of 50mg each. An authority that looks into the person’s medical cabinet will see a large stock of Anabolic Steroids and can arrest the person on suspicion to resell in the future even though that was not the intention.

The steroid law in the United States has failed to stop three of the most important purposes of introducing the law in the first place – protecting children, eliminating doping in sports and stopping the steroid black market. The media has played an important role in helping children to take Anabolic steroids in order to emulate their star idols. The law has not done anything to prevent this. The law was supposed to curtail athletes from taking performance-enhancing drugs, but instead the number of users has increased since the law was passed. And what the law has done perfectly is that it has increased the number of illegal purchasing of Anabolic Steroids as people turn to the Black Market in order to get what they want at a relatively cheaper price.

What the law has done is made sure that doctors and medical practitioners are frightened from touching on the subject of anabolic steroids and testosterone usages for any purpose. This has led to a lack of research and development on this topic as it means that the analysts and scientists that are working on it would be aiding the illegal distribution of an illegal substance. This has halted potential developments with regard to finding a credible solution for those who require anabolic steroids in order to get treated for any of their diseases or disabilities. What many people believe about the law against steroid usage is how can it be legal to produce it but illegal to consume it?

Anabolic Steroid Laws Outside the United States

It is not only the United States that is prohibiting the use and possession of steroids but around the world as well. Many countries are joining together to form an International union in which it aims to stop the usage and sale of illegal drugs. The only difference with the United States and other countries is that the US is stricter with regard to possession and usage. With regard to criminalization and prohibition of illegal substances, the US does not make any exceptions as it aims to ensure that the country is a drug free environment. Other nations are for creating a law within their own government with regard to prohibiting the sale and distribution of illegal substances that includes anabolic steroids but the manner in which they deal with it is far more lenient.

The steroid law in the United States considers anabolic steroids as a Schedule III drug under the Controlled Substances Act, 1970 and was legislated in 1990 under the Anabolic Steroid Control Act. In 1991, there was an amendment in the schedule III of the CSA wherein it included that the possession of anabolic steroids is also a criminal offense. It defined anabolic steroids as a substance, which is pharmacologically and chemically related to testosterone that enhances muscle growth. Any such substance that comes is synonymous to Anabolic steroids is also a considered as an illegal substance. Any importation, manufacturing or trafficking of anabolic steroids is a criminal act and is punishable with a penalty. The penalty for possession is at least one year in prison with a $1,000 fine for the first offense. Trafficking is considered as heinous crime and is punishable with a minimum of 5 years in prison with a $250,000 fine if it is the first offense.

In the UK, anabolic steroids are under the Class C substances in the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971 and it is also under Schedule IV Part II of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. It is classified with other drugs such benzodiazepines, buprenorphine and ketamine. The penalty for possession of any class substance is a maximum of 2 years in prison with or without a fine and the penalty for supply is a maximum of 14 years in prison with or without a fine.

In Canada, the laws are similar to that of the UK wherein Anabolic Steroids are considered as a Schedule IV drug where possessing an using anabolic steroids is actually legal and not a felony under Federal Law. There is only a punishment with regard to the trafficking of anabolic steroids and the punishment is mention in the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The penalty for trafficking anabolic steroids in the country starts a maximum of a $1,000 fine with or without imprisonment for a maximum sentence of 6 months for the first offense. For subsequent offenses, it is a $2,000 fine with a maximum of 1 year imprisonment. If a person is caught for importing or exporting Anabolic Steroids into or from Canada, he/she is found guilty of an indictable offense and is liable to imprisonment for a period of not more than three years.

Australia is considered to the strictest country when it comes to the possession and use of anabolic steroids. In the Poisons and Drugs (Amendment) Act 1994, it had included the possession, importation, purchasing, sales and use of anabolic steroids as a criminal offense. If the person is found with the possession of anabolic steroids, the offender will be fined $5,000 or imprisoned for 6 months or even both. If the offender is a body corporate then there is a fine of $25,000. This does not apply to a person who is registered as a medical practitioner, dentist, veterinary surgeon who requires anabolic steroids for the purpose of his/her practice. With regard to the sale and self-administration of Anabolic steroids, the offender is charged with the same penalty of an offender who is in possession of the substance.

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