Friday, February 22, 2013

Fighting Illegal Steroid Sales

Injectable anabolic steroids are drugs. Yes, they are legal, but only when they are prescribed by a physician. It is standard medical practice for the physician to meet with the patient and make a determination that the use of an anabolic steroid is justified before prescribing it.

But wait a minute - aren’t anabolic steroids readily available by mail order and even over the Internet?  Well, yes, but that doesn’t make it legal - it just means that the authorities haven’t caught up with the sellers (or the buyers!) yet.  A few states are beginning to crack down on the illegal sales of anabolic steroids in the most egregious cases, but frankly they seem to be swimming against the tide.

Case in point; in 2007 prosecutors from Albany County in the state of New York, backed by federal authorities and officials in Florida, charged six doctors in Florida with writing prescriptions for controlled substances to patients they had never met.  It isn’t clear whether the doctors lost their licenses as a result.  And just this month, according to a story in the New York Times, the Florida pharmacy linked to the doctors pled guilty to the illegal online sale of steroids and paid a fine of $100,000.

A fine of $100,000 doesn’t sound like much, especially since a guilty plea allowed the former owners of the pharmacy to avoid criminal charges.   Perhaps this is why the sale of anabolic steroids over the Internet continues almost unabated.  There’s money to be made, the sellers rarely get caught, and even when they do the punishment seems fairly minor.

No comments: