My special guest is Max Stryker who's here to discuss his experience buying and selling illegal steroids among A-listers in Los Angeles.

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Anabolic steroids, also known more properly as anabolic–androgenic steroids (AAS),[1] are steroidalandrogens that include natural androgens like testosterone as well as synthetic androgens that are structurally related and have similar effects to testosterone. They increase protein within cells, especially in skeletal muscles, and also have varying degrees of virilizing effects, including induction of the development and maintenance of masculine secondary sexual characteristics such as the growth of facial and body hair. The word anabolic, referring to anabolism, comes from the Greek ἀναβολή anabole, "that which is thrown up, mound". Androgens or AAS are one of three types of sex hormone agonists, the others being estrogenslike estradiol and progestogens like progesterone.

AAS were synthesized in the 1930s, and are now used therapeutically in medicine to stimulate muscle growth and appetite, induce male puberty and treat chronic wasting conditions, such as cancer and AIDS. The American College of Sports Medicine acknowledges that AAS, in the presence of adequate diet, can contribute to increases in body weight, often as lean mass increases and that the gains in muscular strengthachieved through high-intensity exercise and proper diet can be additionally increased by the use of AAS in some individuals.[2]

Health risks can be produced by long-term use or excessive doses of AAS.[3][4] These effects include harmful changes in cholesterol levels (increased low-density lipoprotein and decreased high-density lipoprotein), acne, high blood pressure, liver damage (mainly with most oral AAS), and dangerous changes in the structure of the left ventricle of the heart.[5] These risks are further increased when athletes take steroids alongside other drugs, causing significantly more damage to their bodies.[6] The effect of anabolic steroids on the heart can cause myocardial infarction and strokes.[6] Conditions pertaining to hormonal imbalances such as gynecomastia and testicular size reduction may also be caused by AAS.[7] In women and children, AAS can cause irreversible masculinization.[7]

Ergogenic uses for AAS in sports, racing, and bodybuilding as performance-enhancing drugs are controversial because of their adverse effects and the potential to gain unfair advantage in physical competitions. Their use is referred to as doping and banned by most major sporting bodies. Athletes have been looking for drugs to enhance their athletic abilities since the Olympics started in Ancient Greece.[6] For many years, AAS have been by far the most detected doping substances in IOC-accredited laboratories.[8][9] In countries where AAS are controlled substances, there is often a black market in which smuggled, clandestinely manufactured or even counterfeit drugs are sold to users.

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Most steroid users are not athletes.[49] In the United States, between 1 million and 3 million people (1% of the population) are thought to have used AAS.[50] Studies in the United States have shown that AAS users tend to be mostly middle-class men with a median age of about 25 who are noncompetitive bodybuilders and non-athletes and use the drugs for cosmetic purposes.[51] "Among 12- to 17-year-old boys, use of steroids and similar drugs jumped 25 percent from 1999 to 2000, with 20 percent saying they use them for looks rather than sports, a study by insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield found."(Eisenhauer) Another study found that non-medical use of AAS among college students was at or less than 1%.[52] According to a recent survey, 78.4% of steroid users were noncompetitive bodybuilders and non-athletes, while about 13% reported unsafe injection practices such as reusing needles, sharing needles, and sharing multidose vials,[53] though a 2007 study found that sharing of needles was extremely uncommon among individuals using AAS for non-medical purposes, less than 1%.[54]Another 2007 study found that 74% of non-medical AAS users had post-secondary degrees and more had completed college and fewer had failed to complete high school than is expected from the general populace.[54] The same study found that individuals using AAS for non-medical purposes had a higher employment rate and a higher household income than the general population.[54] AAS users tend to research the drugs they are taking more than other controlled-substance users;[citation needed] however, the major sources consulted by steroid users include friends, non-medical handbooks, internet-based forums, blogs, and fitness magazines, which can provide questionable or inaccurate information.[55]

AAS users tend to be unhappy with the portrayal of AAS as deadly in the media and in politics.[56] According to one study, AAS users also distrust their physicians and in the sample 56% had not disclosed their AAS use to their physicians.[57] Another 2007 study had similar findings, showing that, while 66% of individuals using AAS for non-medical purposes were willing to seek medical supervision for their steroid use, 58% lacked trust in their physicians, 92% felt that the medical community's knowledge of non-medical AAS use was lacking, and 99% felt that the public has an exaggerated view of the side-effects of AAS use.[54] A recent study has also shown that long term AAS users were more likely to have symptoms of muscle dysmorphia and also showed stronger endorsement of more conventional male roles.[58] A recent study in the Journal of Health Psychology showed that many users believed that steroids used in moderation were safe.[59]

AAS have been used by men and women in many different kinds of professional sports to attain a competitive edge or to assist in recovery from injury. These sports include bodybuilding, weightlifting, shot put and other track and field, cycling, baseball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, boxing, football, and cricket. Such use is prohibited by the rules of the governing bodies of most sports. AAS use occurs among adolescents, especially by those participating in competitive sports. It has been suggested that the prevalence of use among high-school students in the U.S. may be as high as 2.7%.[60

 

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