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Public Statements

Statements on Introduces Bills and Join Resolutions

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, today I am pleased to join Senator HATCH once again in introducing the bipartisan Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act. Like the legislation we introduced in 2012, this measure will help keep American children and families safe from dangerous designer drugs that masquerade as healthy dietary supplements.

Doctors and scientists have long recognized the health hazards of non-medical use of anabolic steroids. For that reason, Congress has previously acted to ensure that these drugs are listed as controlled substances. Nonetheless, according to investigative reporting and Congressional testimony, a loophole in current law allows for designer anabolic steroids to easily be found on the Internet, in gyms, and even in retail stores.

Designer steroids are produced by reverse engineering existing illegal steroids and then slightly modifying the chemical composition, so that the resulting product is not on the Drug Enforcement Administration's, DEA, list of controlled substances. When taken by consumers, designer steroids can cause serious medical consequences, including liver injury and increased risk of heart attack and stroke. They may also lead to psychological effects such as aggression, hostility, and addiction.

These designer products can be even more dangerous than traditional steroids because they are often untested, produced from overseas raw materials, and manufactured without quality controls. As one witness testified at a Crime Subcommittee hearing on the issue, ``all it takes to cash in on the storefront steroid craze is a credit card to import raw products from China or India where most of the raw ingredients come from, the ability to pour powders into a bottle or pill and a printer to create shiny, glossy labels.''

The unscrupulous actors responsible for manufacturing and selling these products often market them with misleading and inaccurate labels. That can cause consumers who are looking for a healthy supplement--not just elite athletes, but also high school students, law enforcement personnel, and mainstream Americans--to be deceived into taking these dangerous products. While the world's top athletes competing in the Winter Olympics are subjected to strict guidelines and rigorous testing to prevent the use of steroids, as they should be, many Americans may be unknowingly dosing themselves with these harmful substances.

Loopholes in existing law allow these dangerous designer steroids to evade regulation. Under current law, in order to classify new substances as steroids, the DEA must complete a burdensome and time-consuming series of chemical and pharmacological testing. As a DEA official testified before Congress: ``in the time that it takes DEA to administratively schedule an anabolic steroid used in a dietary supplement product, several new products can enter the market to take the place of those products.''

The Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2014 would quickly protect consumers from these dangerous products. First, it would immediately place 27 known designer anabolic steroids on the list of controlled substances. Second, it would grant the DEA authority to temporarily schedule new designer steroids on the controlled substances list, so that if bad actors develop new variations, these products can be removed from the market. Third, it would create new penalties for importing, manufacturing, or distributing anabolic steroids under false labels.

Senator HATCH and I worked closely with a range of consumer and industry organizations to ensure that this legislation would not interfere with consumers' access to legitimate dietary supplements. I thank these organizations for their support, and look forward to working with them, with Senator HATCH, and with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to enact this common sense measure into law.


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