BIDEN AND HATCH SEEK TO BAN DESIGNER STEROIDS Bipartisan Bill Would Make Androstenedione and THG Schedule III Substances Friday, October 24, 2003 WASHINGTON, DC -- Late last night U.S. Senators Joe Biden (D-DE) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced The Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2003, which will add androstenedione (also known as "andro", tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), and other steroid precursors to the list of anabolic steroids that are classified as Schedule III controlled substances. Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) are co-sponsors of the bill. Steroid precursors, or "pro-steroids," are chemically related to the substances scheduled in the 1990 Controlled Substances Act that made trafficking in steroids illegal. When ingested, these substances metabolize into testosterone or other illicit steroids. The United States Anti-Doping Agency, the group in charge of testing Olympic athletes for performance enhancing drugs, has called these products "the functional equivalent of steroids." Many physicians, parents and coaches have called for action against these dangerous products. "Products like andro and other pro-steroids are marketed to kids and young athletes as an effective way to increase muscle mass. However, I have serious concerns about the safety of these substances," said Biden. "The manufactures of these products are violating the spirit of the Controlled Substances Act and putting young people at risk." "I have been extremely frustrated by the lack of regulatory action on these performance-enhancing products," Hatch said. "For years, I have asked the FDA to explain how these dangerous products could be marketed freely to our teens, but I've never received an adequate response. Our hand has been forced - we must act to ensure no more young athletes are placed at risk." A 2001 survey conducted by Blue Cross Blue Shield's Healthy Competition Foundation indicated that approximately one million kids nationwide have used performance enhancing products. Many of these kids are unaware of the adverse effects these substances can have on their bodies. In addition to stunting growth, pro-steroid use can lead to a wide range of side effects - everything from increased blood pressure and elevated risk of heart attack to significant changes to sexual organs. As a result, andro and other steroid precursors have been banned by the International Olympic Committee, the National Football League, and the National Collegiate Athletics Association. "It is time we started being honest and calling andro and other steroid precursors what they really are: drugs. Performance enhancing drugs. They should be labeled as such. They should be treated as such and they should be controlled in the same manner as other anabolic steroids," concluded Biden. "Our major sports organizations are banning pro-steroids because they know what our kids don't: that these substances carry serious risks," Hatch added. "The federal government must take action. This bill will give our regulatory agencies the precise tools necessary to ensure that consumers have the choice of safe, health-enhancing products without these potentially dangerous side-effects." The Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2003 has four main components that will help protect young people from the dangers of pro-steroid abuse: First, it amends the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990 by adding substances such as andro, THG, and their chemical cousins to the list of anabolic steroids controlled under the Controlled Substances Act and makes it easier for the DEA to add similar substances to that list in the future. Second, it directs the U.S. Sentencing Commission to review the Federal sentencing guidelines for crimes involving anabolic steroids and consider increasing them. Currently, the maximum sentence for offenses involving anabolic steroids is only 33 - 41 months for first time offenders. And to receive the maximum sentence an offender would have to have between 40,000 and 60,000 units, which is defined as a 10 cc vial or 50 tablets. Third, the bill authorizes $15 million for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to public and non-profit entities to carry out science-based education programs in elementary and secondary schools to highlight the harmful effects of anabolic steroids. Finally, the bill provides $1 million to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to include questions about steroid use in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual survey to measure the extent of alcohol, drug and tobacco use in the United States. The Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2003 is strongly supported by a broad cross-section of the medical and sports communities. Organizations who have endorsed the bill include: The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, Association of Tennis Professionals, Boys and Girls Clubs, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, Council for Responsible Nutrition, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, Consumer Healthcare Products Association, Major League Baseball, The National Athletic Trainers Association, The National Collegiate Athletic Association, The National Football League, The National High School Athletic Coaches Association, National Nutritional Foods Association, American Herbal Products Association, United States Anti-Doping Agency, U.S. Olympic Committee, U.S. Soccer Federation, USA Cycling, USA Swimming, USA Track and Field, and The Utah Natural Products Alliance.