September 29, 2020

Steroids in Our Supplements is More Important Than Steroids in Baseball

Uber-lobbyist to the supplement industry, Loren Israelsen, recently forwarded selected remarks from an editorial by Rob Eder of Drug Store News to members of the United Natural Products Alliance. I was dismayed to see Rob Eder (and by extension Loren Israelsen) rave about the good job the supplement industry does at policing itself.

“As I have previously suggested, perhaps the Congress should examine whether the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act–DSHEA, as it is commonly known–is being adequately enforced,” Fehr said […]

I have got some news for Donald Fehr: They don’t sell steroids in the supplement aisle. They don’t sell the “cream” or the “clear,” either. That’s because this industry does a better job of policing itself than Major League Baseball ever could.

Clearly, Fehr was disingeniously trying to blame DSHEA for the problem baseball was having with anabolic steroids. He tried to use the supplement industry as a scapegoat for MLB’s problems and it deservedly failed.

But the supplement industry needs to pull their heads out of the stand, stop patting themselves on the back for a job well-done, and respond honestly to criticisms of their industry. [Read more…]

Baseball and Steroids Social Network

Slate has a neat interactive steroid social network of baseball players in the MLB who have used anabolic steroids, growth hormone and/or other performance enhancing drugs and how the players they are connected with each other.

Sen. George Mitchell’s 409-page report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball describes a thriving underground market for steroids and human growth hormone. What began with just a few players and trainers expanded into a network of dozens, if not hundreds, of professional athletes. That network grew year by year as the players referred their friends and teammates.

Below, we present the findings of the Mitchell report as a social network. [Read more…]

Steroid Dealer Gets Probation for Helping Feds Catch Steroid Users

Kirk Radomski, steroid dealer to professional baseball players, avoided jail time when he received 5 years probation. He pleaded guilty to distributing anabolic steroids and money laundering charges in a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. He cooperated closely with federal prosecutors, particularly with investigators involved with the Mitchell Report, in naming almost 30 current and former MLB baseball players to whom he sold performancing-enhancing drugs including anabolic steroids and growth hormone.

The customary practice for federal prosecutors is to prosecute dealers rather than users. In a reversal of this practice, Radomski was given leniency in exchange for his testimony against his clients (individual steroid users who happened to be professional athletes). [Read more…]

Roger Clemens Statistical Report Tries to Refute Steroid Allegations

Agents for Roger Clemens at Hendricks Sports Management released a detailed statistical analysis of Roger Clemens’ performance over the course of his career.  In summary, the report lists various factors occurring later in his career that contributed to the maintenance of a high quality of pitching by Roger Clemens. These factors include adaptions in “style of pitching” including “mastery of the split-finger fastball,” reduced pitch count, contractually shortened seasons, and  a reduction in travel.

The report also uses statistics to show that Clemens’ performance had unpredictable “ups and downs” or “peaks and valleys” over the course of his career. The report asserts that “straight trend lines in performance” simply do no exist in Major League Baseball. [Read more…]

Abuses by the Justice Department in Mitchell Report Steroid Scandal

The $20 million dollar Mitchell Report on anabolic steroids in professional baseball relied largely on the testimony of two former baseball trainers, Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee. And the only reason the Mitchell Report contained such such evidence of steroid use by baseball players was because the Department of Justice forced Radomski and McNamee to cooperate with investigators from the Mitchell Report as a condition of their plea agreements. Was this an abuse of the government’s criminal powers? Was this legal? Was this ethical?
[Read more…]

Steroids in Baseball Facts and Assumptions

Matt Welch of the Reason blog tells us about a new steroids in baseball website that critically examines assumptions, particularly those in the Mitchell Report, about steroids and performance-enhancing drugs as they related to Major League Baseball. Eric Walker’s stated goal behind the website:

The purpose of these pages is to methodically dissect those claims and assumptions and compare each with what is actually known about it.

He analyzes several steroid assertions and supports each analysis with several scholarly and scientific citations. Some of his conclusions:

  • Steroids and Home Runs: “No evidence” that steroids have affected home-run hitting.
  • Steroid Side Effects: The side effects of anabolic steroids have been “grossly exaggerated.”
  • Kids and Role Models: Adolescents who self-identify with a role model are no more likely to use drugs than those without a role model.
  • Kids and Sports Heroes: Teenagers, overwhelming male, who self-identify with a sports role model are slightly less likely to use drugs.

Source: Reason blog; Eric Walker’s Steroid website

Athletes Using Steroids and Amphetamines for Legitimate Medical Conditions

I’ve written a lot about the loophole of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) that allows athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids, growth hormone, amphetamines, etc. for a competitive advantage. I used the 2006 Tour de France as a prime example, where 60% of drug-tested riders had a TUE for some banned substance. The congressional hearings on the Mitchell Report included testimony that over 8% of Major League Baseball players had TUEs for ADD/ADHD drugs such as Adderall or Ritalin.

Gary Gaffney, M.D., from the University of Iowa College of Medicine, offers a defense of TUEs in his blog: [Read more…]

Therapeutic Use Exemptions for Anabolic Steroids in Baseball

Major League Baseball has allowed some baseball players to use anabolic steroids as “androgen deficiency medication” treatment according to testimony at the congressional hearing entitled “The Mitchell Report: The Illegal Use of Steroids in Major League Baseball.” In 2006, three players were permitted to use “androgen deficiency medications” under the therapeutic use exemption.  In 2007, only two players were permitted to use anabolic steroids to treat this condition. Therapeutic use exemptions for amphetamines and related “ADD/ADHD medications” jumped from 28 in 2006 to 103 in 2007.

Efran Marrero, Steroid Withdrawal, Depression and Suicide

The parents of Efran Marrero, a high school baseball player who committed suicide after the use of anabolic steroids, provided testimony at the congressional hearing entitled “The Mitchell Report: The Illegal Use of Steroids in Major League Baseball.”

Three and half weeks after he quit using steroids “cold turkey” my son took his own life – a victim of the deep depression that accompanies withdrawal from these drugs.

This type of emotional testimony really has a strong effect on me as I’m sure it does on many others. Unfortunately, such emotional testimony is useless when it comes to scientifically, logically and rationally informed public policy. [Read more…]

Therapeutic Use Exemptions for Amphetamines in Major League Baseball

The congressional hearing entitled “The Mitchell Report: The Illegal Use of Steroids in Major League Baseball” is underway right now. I have previously discussed the loophole offered by therapeutic use exemptions that allow professional athletes to use performance enhancing drugs, including steroids, growth hormone and/or testosterone. The number of therapeutic use exemptions or TUEs were not revealed in the Mitchell Report.

Congressman John Tierney (D-MA) revealed that Major League Baseball has granted over 100 therapeutic use exemptions to athletes for amphetamines and related stimulant drugs to treat ADHD. Of course, since the focus of the Mitchell report and the Congressional hearings are on the evils of steroids, the continuing problem of amphetamines in baseball will likely not be seriously investigated at this point.

http://oversight.house.gov/story.asp?ID=1685