In a notice published in the December 4 Federal Register, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ruled that boldione, desoxymethyltestosterone (DMT) and 19-nor-4,9(10)-androstadienedione will all be classified as anabolic steroids under the Controlled Substances Act.
The DEA first proposed these changes in April 2008, and they are just now coming to fruition with the publication of its final rule. Many applaud this action while also voicing the sentiment that it is long overdue. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) CEO Travis T. Tygard stated, “Because of the cumbersome regulatory process, it has taken over three years to get here, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. While three dangerous steroids identified years ago have finally been listed, in that time, a host of others have been brought to market but not listed, and everyday we learn of additional nefarious substances being developed. We need a regulatory system capable of managing the magnitude of this problem, and that can stop those rogue supplement manufacturers who are meanwhile profiting.”
John Gay, executive director and CEO of the Natural Products Association, pointed out that it is only the first time DEA has used its authority under the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004 to ban illegal anabolic steroids, which are outlawed under the Controlled Substances Act and the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act if distributed without a prescription.
“We hope it will not be the last…the DEA anticipates that after these first steroids are scheduled, it will be easier to follow up with more enforcement and in greater frequency,” Gay said in an official statement. “The Natural Products Association looks forward to working with the agencies as they use this ability to schedule any anabolic steroids that are masquerading as supplements.”
Some in the industry feel that this move is further evidence that the regulatory framework for supplements is working. Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), told WholeFoods, “CRN strongly believes that the current regulatory system provides adequate enforcement authority to remove illegal products from the market. Though we believe that the best way to catch these offenders is to give DEA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration more resources to enforce the laws already in place and to show these criminals that there are severe penalties for breaking the law, CRN would be willing to discuss amendments to the Controlled Substances Act solely—not changes to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act—if it would ease the regulatory burden on DEA and remove these illegal products from the marketplace more quickly.
“Responsible dietary supplement companies do not want these products on the shelves because they cast a negative shadow over legitimate, beneficial products that comprise the vast majority of the dietary supplement industry. CRN, as the leading trade association representing the dietary supplement industry, will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that consumers have access to safe, beneficial dietary supplements.”
Anabolic steroids have a steroid ring structure that produces effects such as muscle growth and are known to have several adverse effects. The DEA classifies anabolic steroids as such if the substance is chemically or pharmacologically related to testosterone and is not DHEA, an estrogen, a progestin or a corticosteroid.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, Feb. 2010