An Abbreviated History of Anabolic Steroids

Having been around for nearly 40 years now, anabolic steroids are considered relatively old drugs. Unlike the more glamorous designer drugs produced of late, anabolic steroids are primarily derivatives of testosterone that act on the body’s hormonal axis. In the 40’s, injectable testosterone was manufacture primarily for the treatment to people suffering severe malnutrition, mainly POW’s. In the early 50’s, scientists became convinced that testosterone was responsible for masculine characteristics in men. At around that time, athletes in the eastern world were already using anabolic injections in an effort to increase their strength. As Russian athletes crushed weight lifting records with surprising regularity some members of the medical community became convinced that the use of anabolic steroids were responsible. Since that time, as fitness in general and bodybuilding in particular “came out of the closet” in the 70’s and became an accepted passtime of the mainstream, anabolic steroid usage has become increasingly prevalent (6 & 60). Today, of all recreational drugs used by the general population, anabolic steroids are by far the most common. Steroid abuse is the fastest-growing form of drug abuse in the U.S. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates nationwide that there are 500,000 heroine and 500,000 crack cocaine abusers. Some recent estimates suggest that in excess of 4 million athletes have used anabolic steroids for physique or performance enhancement in the United States.

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