Until 1935, no one knew that anabolic steroids were associated
with the accumulation of muscle tissue. In that year, two
researchers experimenting on dogs discovered that testosterone
given under certain conditions would increase muscle mass.(1,2)
Hitler may have given some of his troops anabolic steroids to
increase their aggressiveness, although this is not well-

The current history of anabolic steroids as abusable drugs
began in 1954 among Olympic weightlifters.(1,2,4)
In 1956, Dianabol (Methandrostenolone) was first marketed in the
United States, clearing the way for the use of anabolics by U. S.
athletes.(4) At first, only world-class athletes in high-
strength sports such as weight lifting abused anabolics.(5,6)
Among Olympic athletes, anabolic steroids were a problem as long
ago as 1964.(6) Athletes and their trainers developed high dose,
multiple-drug regimens that were not based on scientific
research. These methods of use were passed by word of mouth from
one training group to another. Even today, the use of many types
of steroids in high doses has never been examined in controlled
scientific studies.(5)

Anabolic steroid abusers mistrust scientific opinions about
high-dose steroid use.(7) When it was first noticed as a
growing problem, some scientists and public officials stated that
there was no evidence that steroids caused muscle growth or
improved performance, and that use of large amounts would lead to
dramatic, toxic side effects in all users. These pronouncements
went against the common knowledge and experience of the athletes,
who did not see large numbers of their steroid-using friends
dropping dead.(6,8) Scientific information sources were
thus discredited among athletes.

As their reputation grew, anabolic abuse spread to other
sports. Today, the only Olympic sports in which anabolic steroids
have not been detected are women's field hockey and figure

Steroid abuse spread beyond the Olympics throughout the 1970's
and 1980's. In 1983, nineteen athletes were disqualified from the
Olympics for steroid abuse.(9) A 1970 survey of five
American universities showed that 15% of college athletes were
steroid abusers.(10,11) By 1984, 20% of college athletes
were using steroids.(11) In 1975, anabolic abuse in Arizona
high schools was 0.7% over all, with 4% of athletes admitting
steroid use.(10) A 1986 survey in Minneapolis revealed a 3%
average rate of steroid abuse in grades 8, 10, and 12.(10)
In one of these high schools, the rate of use was 8% in senior
males.(10) In a 1988 survey in a suburban Chicago school,
6.5% of male students admitted taking steroids, and 2.5% of female
students admitted steroid use.(12) Surveys in 1989 estimate
that there are 500,000 adolescent steroid abusers nationwide, and
as many as 1 million steroid abusers of all ages in the United
States.(6,10,13) In November 1990, U. S. Federal Law
reclassified all anabolic steroids as Controlled Dangerous