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July 14, 2004

Senate Hearing Reveals Greater Steroid Use

FROM A HEARING EARLIER THIS WEEK BY THE SENATE CAUCUS ON INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL comes compelling testimony about the alarming growth of performance-enhancing drugs.

The Senate is deliberating on a bill, S 2195, that would classify many new steroids and related chemicals as controlled substances, which are illegal without a doctor's prescription. The House of Representatives has already passed a similar bill by a vote of 408-3.

One of the witnesses was a former Division I football player. He testified anonymously, speaking to senators behind a screen while wearing a hood, with his voice altered by a device on the microphone. He said one of his teammates was a dealer who supplied steroids to seven or eight other players.

He said that even though he added 20 pounds of muscle and dropped his time in the 40 to 4.5 seconds without using drugs, his coaches pressured him to get even bigger and stronger.

He also said users were able to get around the NCAA random drug policy because, “The policy is weak, and fairly predictable with the drug tests falling in roughly the same period of time every year.”

Another witness was Dr. Don Catlin, a professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at UCLA, and a renowned expert on performance enhancing drugs. Dr. Catlin said that the NCAA's testing has had a positive but limited effect.

"It's huge. It's all over the place," Dr. Catlin said. "I can't believe people still are not taking this seriously."

(this 246 word excerpt—with attendant commentary—was distilled from a 687 word article in The Chronicle of Higher Education of 7-14-04 and a 359 word AP article of 7-13-04)