What are Steroids?

Anabolic steroids are a group of powerful compounds closely related to the male sex hormone testosterone. Current legitimate medical uses include treatment of certain kinds of anemia. Body builders, long-distance runners, cyclists and various other athletes who claim that steroids give them a competitive advantage and/or improve their physical appearance use these drugs illegally.

What are the street names/slang terms for Steroids?

Gear, Juice, Rhoids.

What do they look like?

Steroids come in tablets or liquid form.

How are they used?

Anabolic steroids are taken orally or injected, and athletes and other abusers take them typically in cycles of weeks or months, rather than continuously, in patterns called cycling. Cycling involves taking multiple doses of steroids over a specific period of time, stopping for a period, and starting again. In addition, users frequently combine several different types of steroids to maximize their effectiveness while minimizing negative effects, a process known as stacking.

What are their short-term effects?

Reports indicate that use of anabolic steroids produces increases in lean muscle mass, strength, and ability to train longer and harder. Many health hazards of short-term effects are reversible. The major effects of anabolic steroid use include liver tumors, jaundice, fluid retention, and high blood pressure. Additional side effects include the following: for men – shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, development of breasts; for women – growth of facial hair, changes in or cessation of the menstrual cycle, deepened voice; for adolescents – growth halted prematurely through premature skeletal maturation and accelerated puberty changes. Researchers report that users may suffer from paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility.

What are their long-term effects?

Long-term, high-dose effects of steroid use are largely unknown.

What is their federal classification?

Schedule III


National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Click on the link below to download the fact sheet for this drug:

Steroids Fact Sheet (PDF)