President Bush has signed a bill that adds more than a dozen substances to the list of illegal steroids and will provide grants for education programs to teach students about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs.
Sen. Joseph R. Biden, D-Del., introduced the amendment to the Anabolic Steroid Control Act to make it illegal to possess or distribute androstenedione, a steroid derivative known as “andro” that helps build muscle. It attracted public attention when former Major League Baseball player Mark McGwire admitted to using the drug when he broke the single-season home run record in 1998. That year, the number of youths using steroids increased, and some experts attributed the upsurge to young people’s emulation of professional athletes’ behavior. (“Policymakers Tackling Teenage Steroid Abuse,” April 21, 2004.)
The legislation, signed into law Oct. 22, authorizes the secretary of health and human services to award $15 million in grants to public and nonprofit groups to “carry out science-based education programs in elementary and secondary schools to highlight the harmful effects of anabolic steroids.”
“Steroid use by young people is a serious health issue,” Sen. Biden said in a statement. “A lot of kids don’t know how harmful this stuff really is. This new law sends a strong message about andro and other steroid precursors. We are calling them what they really are: drugs, performance-enhancing drugs.”