Andro May Soon Be Illegal

July 1, 2000

2 Min Read
Andro May Soon Be Illegal


Andro May Soon Be Illegal

WASHINGTON--President Clinton's top drug policy adviser announced June 26 that "within a few months," androstenedione ("andro") may be classified as a steroid. There are four tests that determine if a substance is a steroid. So far, andro has met three of the testing criteria. The fourth was not met, but apparently, the government will keep testing until that happens.

In a speech given to the Citizenship Through Sports Alliance, Barry McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), said, "I've got to do something about andro. I've got to get valid testing completed, and I bet that's the way it comes out--that andro is a steroid." His seemingly off-the-cuff comments came after his keynote address at a conference discussing performance-enhancing drug use among athletes.

McCaffrey, also known as the U.S. "Drug Czar," stated that andro has met two of three tests used by the government to determine if a substance is a steroid. He admitted he has been saying this for a year, and realizes that the tests should have conclusively proven this by now.

According to Dr. TimZiegenfuss, director of research and education at Pinnacle (a division ofBodyonics), there are actually four tests--three to determine if a substance is a steroid, a fourth which determines if it is anabolic. So far, saidZiegenfuss, andro has tested positive for the first three: it has a molecular structure relative totestosterone, it has a pharmalogic action relative to testosterone, and it is not classified as an estrogen. The fourth test, for which it has not tested positive, would indicate that andro is anabolic, meaning that it promotes muscular growth.

"No one is arguing that it is a steroid," said Ziegenfuss. "[The government] is just asking if it promotes growth--if it's anabolic." The anabolic determination will lead to some sort of government intervention. It may be confusing to consumers who have andro products at home and to manufacturers who have been lawfully selling it for years. "Does this mean that if it's on a store shelf, [the retailer] can't sell it anymore?" asked Mark Olson, vice president of research and development at Metabolic Response Modifiers (MRM). "Or does that mean if you have it in your kitchen, you're supposed to dispose of it, otherwise [the police] can come into your house and arrest you?" Olson reported that in his last call to the FDA, the agency told him it is maintaining a "hands off" attitude toward andro.

Though the FDA has been regulating the sale ofandro, the issue has recently been handed over to a division of the Drug Enforcement Agency(DEA). According to a DEA representative, more testing will be conducted on the substance.

"The next step is to find out what's going on," said Olson. "The ball is definitely in [theDEA's] court." For more information, visit the ONDCP at www.whitehousedrugpolicy.govor the DEA at www.usdoj.gov/dea.

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