This section assumes that the decision has already been made to use anabolic steroids. It places no judgment on the decision itself, and concentrates only on reducing risks relating to the drug supply. How one goes about obtaining these substances is an extremely important consideration. Much more than money is at stake with this decision. The illicit market for anabolic steroids can be a highly volatile place, with significant quantities of low quality counterfeit and underground drugs in circulation. In this section we will review the four general sources for anabolic steroids. When possible, we examine tips that should increase, at least to some small extent, relative safety for the buyer. The main objective in all cases is to obtain legitimate pharmaceutical grade products so that no additional risks due to contamination, drug substitution, or inaccurate dosing are presented to the user.
Provided you are in some way in valid need of therapy, it is always preferable to obtain anabolic steroids through a physician's prescription. In addition to offering the potential benefit of having some medical oversight to your use, most pharmaceutical markets (in Western nations especially) are very secure. It is unlikely that you will come across counterfeit drugs when your medications are dispensed from a real pharmacy. In the United States, in fact, the risk is so low that it is not even worth considering. Furthermore, if you reside in a country where there are criminal penalties for the unapproved possession of steroids, a prescription is the only way to legally own and use these substances. The criminal and civil penalties can be very serious in many cases, even when the drugs are for personal use.
Most readers are probably under the incorrect assumption that it is nearly impossible to get a prescription for anabolic steroids in the United States. While this may have been true following the doping scandals of the late 1980s, the market has changed considerably since then. The legal sale of these drugs is again on the rise. The shift began in the mid-1990s, when drug companies started to put forth a strong effort to educate physicians and the public on the use of steroids (specifically testosterone) to treat age-related hormone deficiency in men. It is a fact that men deal with hormonal decline just like women do, and suffer ill health effects from it. Treating hormonal deficiency with drugs to restore youthful testosterone levels has become a widely accepted part of medicine. By the time men hit their thirties, a high percentage are legitimate candidates for hormone replacement treatment.
If you feel that you are a candidate for a prescription, you may need to take an active role in finding a physician. Unfortunately, many doctors are still unsure about these drugs.They might not prescribe testosterone at all, or may be too conservative in their treatment if they do. You may have to interview several before you find the one that is right for you. Don’t worry about “doctor shopping”. This illegal practice involves seeing multiple doctors, or withholding information, to gain prescriptions you don’t need. You should never lie to your doctor, or try and gain prescriptions from more than one at a time. Otherwise, it is perfectly legal to take the time to find one you feel comfortable with.
Medical necessity is usually supported with a blood test, ordered by the treating physician. Testosterone levels tend to be highest in the morning and lowest at the end of the day. The blood test should be planned accordingly. Before reviewing the results, understand that there are no specific established protocols for treating men with hormone deficiency. The medical community does not even agree on the point in which therapy should be initiated. For example, the “normal” level of testosterone in an adult man is 250-1,200 ng/dL. Some physicians will not prescribe anything to you unless you are symptomatic and your levels fall below 250 ng/dL. Others are comfortable prescribing even if your levels read 500 ng/dL, the objective being to maintain hormonal levels at the high end of normal (“optimal”). Note that some people choose to pre-test themselves to determine how they might quality before approaching a physician. You can request such testing at www.HRT-Labs.com.
How testosterone medication is prescribed also varies a great deal depending on not only the needs of the patient, but also the comfort level of the physician. For example, more rigid physicians will often only prescribe testosterone gels or patches. This is because these forms allow the very controlled daily release of testosterone, and are harder for the patient to abuse. Other doctors are comfortable working with testosterone injections that are taken home and self-administered by the patient. Even when testosterone injections are prescribed, some doctors refuse to give more than 100 mg per week. Others routinely give a 200 mg per week dose, assuring that low levels are not endured at any point during treatment. You will not need to find a crooked doctor. You just want to find a progressive physician that understands the value of optimizing your hormone levels.
You have a few options open to you when first seeking treatment. You can approach your family doctor, a hormone specialist (endocrinologist), or an anti-aging physician. In my experience, anti-aging medicine is where you find the most progressive physicians and treatments. These are the doctors that are working with both steroids and off-label medications like anti-estrogens and growth hormone, and forcing the establishment to rethink hormonal medicine. Doctors in this field are often certified by private physician groups such as the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M), which lobby the FDA and help establish effective protocols for HRT/antiaging doctors. Don’t expect any anti-aging physician to support drug abuse. Like all doctors, they take an oath to protect their patients. It is not unreasonable, however, to find a good anti-aging physician that will work closely with you to keep you healthy, physically fit, and hormonally optimized.
One benefit to being a writer and educator on anabolic substances is that I am regularly meeting progressive physicians and hormone clinic owners. I've had the pleasure of getting to know a great many over the years. It has given me confidence that this field of medicine is here to stay, if not continuing to grow rapidly. It occurred to me that my list of contacts puts me in a unique position to help potential HRT/anti-aging patients. Male testosterone deficiency is grossly under-treated in this country. I’d like to do my part to help change this. If you are interested in consulting with a doctor in your area, please visit my free website below. I will use it as a portal to put visitors in contact with HRT/anti-aging physicians. If you think HRT may be an option for you, I strongly encourage you to explore it further, regardless of how you go about seeking treatment. Supporting the physicians that offer this type of treatment is the best way to help legitimize and advance this area of medicine.
For hormone replacement therapy & anti-aging doctor referrals, visit the website www.HRT-Rx.com to find a physician in your area.
in the Mail Unlike most traditional drugs that are under strict legal controls (such as narcotics), the sale of anabolic steroids seem to be openly advertised on the Internet and in the back pages of bodybuilding magazines. Much of this probably has to due with the strong variance in laws between countries. In particular, many countries without close ties to the United States find little need to criminalize these drugs. Steroid prohibition is largely a western concept. As such, a situation exists where many markets have weak regulatory controls on these drugs. This helps to maintain an active global supply. As such, much international commerce still takes place with anabolic steroids. While it might not be a simple task to take out your credit card and order other illegal drugs over the Internet, it is still fairly easy to shop for anabolic steroids this way.
The first major difference between obtaining anabolic steroids via prescription and ordering them through the mail (illegally) is that you may not receive genuine pharmaceutical products. The potential health risks of counterfeit drugs are significant, and detailed in other sections of this book. Counterfeiting is serious and widespread. The World Health Organization recently warned that more than half of all drugs ordered over the Internet from unlicensed pharmacies are illegitimate. The rampant problem of counterfeiting is likely no better exemplified than it is with anabolic steroids. With the large lucrative markets and steadily increasing demand, steroids have been highly attractive targets of counterfeiters for decades now. The cited WHO statistics undoubtedly underestimate the problem as it relates to the counterfeiting of steroids.
Below are several rules to follow when ordering steroids through the mail. These rules can help increase the chances that your order will contain pharmaceutical grade drug products.
1. Order from a country with legal access to steroid medications. If it is easy for your source to get legitimate products, it is likely what is sent to you will be legitimate. Avoid ordering from countries with strict prohibitive laws such as the United States, Canada, Western Europe, or Australia. Consistent supply in these areas invariably involves the sourcing of clandestinely manufactured products.
2. Buy local brand drugs from the chosen source country. If you are ordering from a pharmacy in Thailand, buy Thai drugs. The chances of running into counterfeits will increase significantly when the drugs you buy are not domestic to the supplier’s country.
4. Buy from a place that shows pictures of its products. Scrutinize the offerings closely. Are there any known fakes? Many suppliers work hard to keep their company clear from counterfeit drugs. You want to deal with one of these.
The purpose of this book is to reduce harm, not encourage or support criminal activity. Thus the previous rules address only the validity of the drugs, not smuggling them. If you reside in an area where steroids are illegal to import without a prescription such as the United States, Canada, Scandinavia, or Australia, you need to be aware that there can be serious legal consequences to ordering these drugs through the mail. If authorities intercept your package, you may be charged with a variety of crimes including drug possession and illegal importation. You may even be charged with trafficking if the quantity is large enough. While in the United States many individuals receive only a seizure notice when their steroids are discovered, the police visit and arrest many others. Being forced into the legal justice system is not the outcome you want. Please consider this carefully before you order steroids through the mail.
Purchasing Steroids on Vacation
Another common option is to travel to a country where anabolic steroids are widely available, and purchase the drugs directly from a pharmacy. Many popular vacation spots are common sources, including Mexico, Thailand, and Turkey. So it is not uncommon to see dual-purpose trips (vacation/sourcing), with the individual bringing back only a small personal use supply. As with all illicit sourcing options, there are some benefits and drawbacks to this practice. The principle benefit, provided the individual chooses the right country and shops intelligently, should be more consistent access to real pharmaceutical grade compounds, and the chance for inspection before purchase. The main drawback, of course, is that you will be required to clear Customs upon your return. If you are found to be in possession of the drugs while attempting to enter a country with steroid prohibition laws, you could face serious criminal charges.
In an effort to help readers avoid the added risks of counterfeit drug products, the following points of advice are provided. All readers are cautioned that smuggling is illegal and can be a very risky practice. Again, since this book is about harm reduction we will not be discussing means of smuggling.
1. Loose regulations on the steroid supply typically also mean loose oversight of pharmacies. In some countries, pharmacies in tourist areas will commonly stock counterfeits. You should become well-versed with the products of a particular region before traveling.
2. Always buy local. You want to get the drugs that are readily available to pharmacies through normal legal channels, not exotic drugs that may or may not have been legally imported by the pharmacy. For example, never buy European or American drugs in a Mexican pharmacy.
3. If possible, avoid the obvious tourist pharmacies. Travel to an area more known to the locals. The smaller a percentage of business the pharmacy makes on tourists, the less likely they are to be stocking counterfeits.
4. Ask for products by name. Most tourists stumble in and ask for "steroids, anabolicas, testosterona." If instead you ask for something very specific, such as "Bayer Primoteston," you are probably going to be taken more seriously.
The Local Black Market
Where steroids are difficult to obtain through legitimate channels, robust trade usually continues on a black market. The United States in particular has the largest and most lucrative steroid black market in the world. If you plan to obtain anabolic steroids this way, you should be aware of its unique drawbacks and advantages. To begin with, unlike ordering over the Internet, purchasing in person from a local black market dealer should allow you an opportunity to inspect products before purchasing. You also do not have to deal with the uncertainty and wait of ordering through the mail. On the other hand, however, strict criminal laws may seriously limit the diversion of real steroid drugs to the black market. The United States has some of the most pronounced issues with drug contamination, adulteration, and mislabeling because of this. You should know that of all the options available to you, purchasing on the black market could be the most risky, especially if you do not have experience differentiating real from counterfeit drugs.
Again, our focus in this section is only on increasing the likelihood of obtaining real pharmaceutical products. Towards that objective, the following points of advice should be followed when shopping on the local black market.
1. Consider the country of origin for each drug. Only buy drugs that make sense. For example, Mexican steroids are common in the United States due to their open supply and close proximity. You would expect to see them. On the other hand, you are very unlikely to find legitimate drugs from Australia in the United States, which is very far away and also seriously restricts its own steroid supply.
2. Try to stick with a group of fellow steroid users. Sharing experiences and knowledge can help keep the group better supplied with legitimate medications.
3. Try to buy from other steroid users. Individuals who sell steroids but don’t use them are probably less concerned with product quality.
4. If you are trying to purchase legitimate pharmaceutical products, don’t buy multi-dose vials or bottles with loose pills unless you are absolutely sure of the company and source. These forms of medication are rarely used outside of the U.S. and Canada. Single use ampules and push through pill blisters are much more common in other countries, and may be slightly more secure due to the difficulty involved in making them.
Wlliam Llewellyn (2011) - Anabolics