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…. Knowledge is power

Through DK Wilson’s site, I found a site called, interestingly enough, Steroids and Baseball. It is terrific, basically encapsulating my entire five years of arguments, fact-finding, and criticism. I’ll just throw you a taste for today, I may do continuous updates from it for a while:

“With estimates of over 1 million past or current users in the US, an extremely small percentage of individuals using anabolic-androgenic steroids appear to experience mental disturbances severe enough to result in clinical treatment and medical case reports. Even among those so affected, the roles of previous psychiatric history, genetic susceptibility to addictions or mental disorders, environmental and peer influences, and individual expectations remain unclear.” Dr. Charles Yesalis

Every medication whatever, no matter how typically benign or harmless, carries the risk that a particular individual might be the rare person with an atypical and significantly negative reaction. The percentages of the population who may be at risk to a given atypical adverse reaction to steroids seem from the published literature quite small–roughly in line with, for example, allergy to sulfa drugs, which remain a commonly prescribed medication.

Few of the alleged side effects of steroids rise to the level of significant even when reactions occur, and in all but one case (breast enlargement) can be made to disappear by simply discontinuing the steroid; even in the case of gynecomastia, when it lingers it is usually amenable to medication. Nor are these substances addictive.

The bottom line seems to be clear: One, by consensus medical and jurisprudential knowledge, these substances should not be illegal; two, regardless of legal questions, their use would not be considered by any sane person to be a medical “risk”–users would routinely be monitored by medical personnel for possible onset of atypical reactions. Even in the present artificial status, in which legitimate medical personnel are precluded from participating, symptoms above the mildly annoying level are rare and almost always reversible. To present steroid use as a major medical risk–or, worse, as a sure ticket to catastrophic consequences–is to invite at least cynicism in users and, as has been seen with so many other illegal substances, a marked tendency in the user community to disregard all cautions as lies.


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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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