Who’s using steroids? You’d be surprised.

steroids_2boxTypically, the presumed users of muscle dope are football players, baseball players, sprinters, pro wrestlers and bodybuilders, hunk actors–or the famous faces of headline exposure for anabolic steroids and human growth hormone.

That view is marginal, of course, distorted by media coverage. The popular press largely feeds us celebrity doping, the pop icons caught for juicing and magnified in scandal spotlight.

In everyday reality, more regular folks seek ‘roids and pricey HGH than millionaire jocks. The most common users are often people near you.

Research and analysis, including sales data on Big Pharma, document insatiable world appetite for synthetic substances to enhance physique. People of all types and nationalities value a buff body, children to seniors, and many take the step of juicing for muscle, undeterred by potential risks.

“Doping among non-professional athletes continues to be underestimated and more widespread than is commonly accepted,” said German professor of sport medicine Dr. Wilfried Kindermann, University of Saarland.

New York attorney Rick Collins helped direct a steroid survey that found “the typical male user is about 30 years old, well-educated, and earning an above-average income in a white-collar occupation.” Collins, specializing in law on muscle drugs, said, “These findings question commonly held views of typical [steroid] users and their underlying motivations. …

“The vast majority of [steroid] users are not athletes and hence are not likely to view themselves as cheaters.”

Doper stereotypes also deflated in a groundbreaking, unheralded investigation of The San Francisco Chronicle, which concluded a variety of individuals patronized a former “wellness clinic” that sold steroids and HGH online from Florida. The Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center was closed by police raids two years ago, leading to arrests and criminal convictions, and The Chronicle performed computer analysis of 66,000 records seized, with special focus on about 2,200 customers who wrote of their motives for juicing.

Obesity and sexual dysfunction were the focus clientèle’s primary reasons for seeking steroids and HGH;  amateur athletics ranked a distant third, followed by body aging. Overwhelmingly, customers of the Internet drug operation were “ordinary people with an array of medical, physical and emotional complaints,” Lance Williams reported for The Chronicle.

The journalists’ breakdown of all records revealed sales staff sold or communicated about prescription muscle drugs to clients in 50 U.S. states and dozens more countries, including housewives, school kids, retirees, construction workers, pastors, elementary teachers, prep coaches, college professors, soldiers, cops, firefighters and government officials.

Among provocative findings by the newspaper, Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center received e-mail queries from 400 people at colleges and universities, with the majority apparently students, representing campuses like Yale, Harvard and UC-Berkeley. More than 80 government employees inquired from agencies such as the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Homeland Security, NASA and Veterans Affairs. Two U.N. officials made contact from abroad.

People found the PBRC through Web surfing, magazine advertising, and word on the street. Sales were $38 million over six years, Williams reported, with “only a handful” of pro athletes, none a superstar, named on client rolls of the shuttered business.

The vast majority of customers represented Everyman, thousands of common folks seeking ‘roids and HGH, driven by “faith that their problems would be solved if only they could obtain drugs that their own physicians wouldn’t prescribe to them,” Williams summarized.


You can order Matt’s book, Spiral of Denial, by visiting 4 walls publishing.

About the Author

Matt Chaney is a writer, editor, publisher and teacher living in Missouri. A former college football player, Chaney specializes in issues of sport, producing reports and commentary for publications such as The New York Daily News and The Kansas City Star. For his master’s degree thesis, Chaney analyzed media coverage of anabolic substances in American football from 1983 to 1999. His previous nonfiction books are: My Name Is Mister Ryan and Legend In Missouri. Chaney and his wife, Laura, operate Four Walls Publishing. For more information, visit www.fourwallspublishing.com.