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Transcript of Steroids
What are the Side-Effects of Anabolic Steroids?
Women: Deepening of Voice
Nausea and Vomiting
Men: Breast Development
Women: Reduction of Breasts
Abdominal Pain, Diarrhea
Men: Testicle Shrinkage, Impotence, Infertility
Women: Irregular Menstral Cycles
Tammy Thomas mounted the podium after winning the 500-meter Olympic cycling time trial in Frisco, Texas.
A muscular athlete with quiet determination, the Yazoo City native had just bested fellow cyclist Chris Witty in the quest to compete in the 2000 Summer Olympics. It's a quest she'd ultimately lose, but Thomas didn't know that at the time.
She smiled and laced an arm around Witty as they posed for photos. It was April 29, 2000. Thomas wore her signature red nail polish - the only tangible evidence of her womanhood.
Thomas, then 30 years old, looked like a man. Her muscular arms and legs bulged beneath the tight fabric of her race uniform, and an Adam's apple appeared on her neck. Hair grew where it shouldn't, and, where it should, it began to recede. Her jaw line broadened. Her voice deepened. Her body thickened.
Hers was a body built by steroids. They were meant to make Thomas faster and more competitive, but they ultimately robbed her of her Olympic dreams, banned her forever from the sport she loves and left her with chronic health problems and an uncertain future.
Thomas "sometimes seemed trapped in her own body," Witty said, "when deep down she was just a polite Southern girl from Mississippi."
Now 43 and living in Ridgeland, Thomas still endures the consequences of a past she insists wasn't entirely her fault. She trusted the wrong people, she says, and it cost her everything.
Repeated steroid abuse ended her cycling career and thrust her into one of the biggest doping scandals in U.S. history - the BALCO affair - which ultimately branded her a felon and crushed her nascent dreams of becoming an attorney.
Physically, she's weaker than her elderly parents because of her body's deterioration from long-term doping, even though she hasn't used performance-enhancing drugs in more than a decade. She faces even graver steroid-induced health effects as she ages.
Michael L. Sparling
Last April, federal health regulators issued a warning that the stimulant — called dimethylamylamine, or DMAA — frequently raises blood pressure and heart rate, and could lead to heart attacks. In December 2011, after the deaths of two soldiers who had used Jack3d, the Defense Department removed all products containing DMAA from stores on military bases, including more than 100 GNC shops.
Now the parents of Michael L. Sparling, one of the soldiers who died, have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against USPlabs, the developer and marketer of Jack3d, and GNC, the store where he bought it. The suit, filed on Wednesday in state court in San Diego, claims that the companies deceptively marketed Jack3d as safe and effective while not warning consumers about its potential health risks.
The Sparling case highlights gaps in product safety and regulatory oversight of the $30 billion dietary supplement industry in the United States, some supplement researchers say.
“It’s a pharmaceutical-grade product which is being directly introduced into the supplement marketplace with absolutely no regulatory oversight,” said Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School who has studied dietary supplements.
In the medical literature, DMAA has often been described as a synthetic stimulant similar to amphetamines that can constrict blood vessels, raise blood pressure and heart rate, potentially increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In 2005, supplement makers began to market the substance in workout and weight-loss products, often combining it with caffeine, which may enhance the stimulant’s effects. Products like Jack3d and OxyElite Pro, which USPlabs also markets, became popular among fitness buffs as part of their pre-workout routine.
But a study commissioned by the United States military after the two soldiers died raised red flags about the safety of DMAA products.
“DMAA in combination with other ingredients may be associated with significant consequences,” a team of military, sports and supplement researchers wrote in case reports about the deaths of the two soldiers that was published last December in Military Medicine, the journal of the Society of Federal Health Professionals. The researchers added, “DMAA continues to be available in dietary supplements despite the lack of evidence that it qualifies as a dietary ingredient.”
The lawsuit filed by Mr. Sparling’s parents said that on the morning of June 1, 2011, Mr. Sparling took the recommended dose of Jack3d after buying it at a GNC store at Fort Bliss in El Paso. During a moderate workout with his unit — a short run interspersed with lunges up a small hill — Mr. Sparling, 22, collapsed. He died at a hospital several hours later of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. Anne Andrews, a lawyer for Mr. Sparling’s parents, said it was appalling that GNC continued to sell Jack3d.
How Do Steroids Work?
What are Steroids?
Some athletes take a form of steroids — known as anabolic-androgen steroids or just anabolic steroids — to increase their muscle mass and strength. The main anabolic steroid hormone produced by your body is testosterone.
Testosterone has two main effects on your body:
• Anabolic effects promote muscle building.
• Androgenic effects are responsible for male traits, such as facial hair and a deeper voice.
Some athletes take straight testosterone to boost their performance. Frequently, the anabolic steroids that athletes use are synthetic modifications of testosterone which are produced in a laboratory from soy. These hormones have approved medical uses, though improving athletic performance is not one of them. They can be taken as pills, injections or topical treatments.
Why are these drugs so appealing to athletes? Besides making muscles bigger, anabolic steroids may help athletes recover from a hard workout more quickly by reducing the muscle damage that occurs during the session. This enables athletes to work out harder and more frequently without overtraining. In addition, some athletes may like the aggressive feelings they get when they take the drugs.
A particularly dangerous class of anabolic steroids are the so-called designer drugs — synthetic steroids that have been illicitly created to be undetectable by current drug tests. They are made specifically for athletes and have no approved medical use. Because of this, they haven't been tested or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and represent a particular health threat to athletes.
Anabolic steroids manufactured by pharmaceutical companies are available legally only by prescription. Most steroids used by athletes are smuggled, stolen or made in clandestine laboratories. These steroids are usually manufactured in other countries, and therefore must be smuggled across international borders. Although trafficking these drugs is illegal, the penalties imposed tend to be minor.
Illegal anabolic steroids are sometimes sold at gyms, competitions, and through the mail, but may also be obtained through pharmacists, veterinarians, and physicians. In addition, a significant number of counterfeit products are sold as anabolic steroids, in particular via mail order from websites posing as overseas pharmacies.
Where do Steroids Come From?
Several large buckets containing tens of thousands of anabolic steroid vials confiscated by the DEA during "Operation Raw Deal" in 2007.
What are the Uses for Steroids?
Treat Anemia through Bone Marrow Stimulation
Hormone replacement therapy for men with Andropause
Treatment of Gender Identity Disorder
Increase weight and muscle mass in people with wasting diseases like AIDS or cancer
Reduce inflammation for Auto-Immune Diseases
Increase competitive advantage in sports
Build extreme muscle mass in bodybuilders
Improve physique and poor body image
Steroid Use Among Students
More than 1 in 20 (almost 6%) of middle and high school students have used anabolic steroids
The largest growing groups of users is teenage girls with poor body image who want to improve their physique
62.5% of users do it to improve their looks
57% of users said they would take a pill or powder if it guaranteed reaching their athletic goal--even if it might SHORTEN THEIR LIFE!
40% of high school seniors says that steroids are easy to obtain
Many school athletes feel pressure from parents and coaches to improve at competitive sports or from classmates and media to be more fit
She just wanted six-pack abdominal muscles. So in the summer of 2003, Dionne Passacantando, a 17-year-old high school cheerleader, gymnast, and vice president of her Allen (Texas) High School class, made a decision she regrets. She bought anabolic steroids from a boy on the school football team.
Though needle-phobic, she injected herself in the buttocks. Not to be a better athlete, just to look better. "I had no idea the psychological and physical effects steroids would have," she said. Experts say anabolic steroids make you stronger but can also decrease good cholesterol and increase bad cholesterol. Steroids can cause liver tumors, increase blood pressure, stunt growth and, in girls, deepen their voices. Nevertheless, one recent study found that 57 percent of high school steroid users said they would risk shortening their life for increased performance.
"Nobody frowned upon it," she said. "It was easier for me to get those than it probably was to buy beer." But after injecting herself with Winstrol every other day for five weeks, she became suicidal. "I was the last person in the world you'd think would use anabolic steroids," she said. Her story is part of a much larger picture. The Mitchell Report, which detailed steroid use in major league baseball, noted that while steroid use among high schoolers seems to be declining, it is still estimated that 3 to 6 percent of students in the United States have tried them. That means that, at a minimum, hundreds of thousands of high school students are using.
A recent report by the Oregon Health and Science University using data from the Centers for Disease Control said 5.3 percent of teenage girls admitted to using anabolic steroids, mostly for body-enhancing reasons or self-protection, not athletics. According to 2003 CDC data, seventh-grade girls were the fastest-growing group of steroid users, with more than 7 percent using them, the controversial report stated. Passacantando, now lives in New Jersey and uses her married name of Dionne Roberts. She said her desire to use steroids was the result of societal influences. "It's this whole Hollywood thing," she said. "Everyone is so affected by movie stars and that whole pop culture thing. I think it takes over a little bit. We have to get back to reality. "Everybody has their own quarrels with self-esteem and self-image, and that's what every young woman goes through."
The desire to win at all costs and run faster, hit harder, and jump higher is one of the biggest factors behind the surge of anabolic steroids in sports during the last few decades. While some sportsmen make use of these performance enhancing drugs to lose or gain weight, others use them for improving body strength, appearance, endurance, performance, and stay close to name, fame, and recognition.
Since steroids have the potential of affecting the outcome of sports contests, the abuse of anabolic drugs is widespread among budding as well as professional sportsmen. Athletes who take steroids often unknowingly take 10-100 times the prescribed dose or use more than one steroid at a time (called stacking) which can greatly increase the harmful effects and danger of death.
In the last four decades, many sportsmen have tainted the legitimacy of different sport events and gained an unfair advantage by using steroids. These performance enhancing drugs are banned by almost all major sport bodies and athletes found with steroids in their systems are usually stripped of titles/medals and can even be banned.
Steroid Use among Professional Athletes
Women: Increased Body Hair
Pre-Workout or Bodybuilding Supplements have many different names but most promise a "safe and effective" way for people to build muscle
These products can be readily available online or even at your neighborhood store
As many at 25% of the supplements on the market today are thought to be laced with illegal steroids or other stimulant drugs including Speed
Others include other illegal ingredients such as Ephedrine
Many of the other ingredients in new supplements are virtually unstudied--as new information comes out, more and more are banned by the FDA every year
The combination of ingredients or contamination by heavy metals can also be harmful
Every year, people die from recommended doses of "legal" supplements