Beyond the End of Prohormones

Q: Do you expect to see consumers arrested by the cops for getting caught with a stash of prohormones that they stocked up on?

A: Unlikely in the near future. While anyone who possesses the newly controlled products will be a drug criminal, for now the products are controlled only at the federal level (with very limited exceptions). This is important, since most steroid cases are brought in state courts, not federal courts. If the products aren’t scheduled by state laws, state courts can’t prosecute them as a controlled substance crime. Unless and until individual states pass legislation to make their laws consistent with the new federal law, which could take several months or even years, state authorities will have little incentive to go after prohormones.

Q: What about the Feds? Will they start going after prohormone consumers?

Possibly, although it’s doubtful that this would be an immediate priority for the DEA. Although the maximum sentence by law for a first offense will be one year in prison, probation will be probable in the overwhelming number of potential cases.

Q: How likely is it for someone who has something sitting in their fridge to be arrested?

A: There are too many variables to answer that. Life is full of surprises, and no ethical lawyer, myself included, would advise anyone to possess any controlled substance unlawfully [for all the reasons in Legal Muscle]. Regardless, the people who stocked up on prohormones figured that the chances of getting caught are less once it’s safely in one’s home. It’s true, based on the hundreds of steroid possession cases I’ve seen in my practice, that the vast majority of people who’ve been arrested for steroid possession got caught during the process of receiving or importing the drugs, not after they had them hidden in their house. All things considered, I don’t see an epidemic of prohormone arrests in the immediate future. But with prohormone prohibition, I see an impending rise in the black market of foreign veterinary steroids and resulting prosecutions for these products in state courts.

Q: What about the manufacturers and retailers? Are they in jeopardy?

A:Yes, if they remain in possession of products that are now controlled drugs. But most if not all companies have liquidated their stock and moved on to developing new sports nutrition products that are still legal. Some of the more popular products may remain on the market in foreign countries, if legally permitted by those countries’ laws. Some companies will investigate marketing new steroidal compounds that are not listed in the new law, although the legality of these products depends not only upon compliance with the new steroid law but also with the Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act (DSHEA). This may become more relevant than ever before now that FDA has taken a heightened interest in products containing “new dietary ingredients” that were not on the market back in 1994, the year DSHEA was enacted. Products containing new dietary ingredients must meet certain criteria or risk being branded “adulterated” and removed from the market, as happened to androstenedione last year. Under FDA’s new enforcement priorities and evolving standards, safety data on new dietary ingredients will come to be expected.

Rick Collins, JD, CSCS is the lawyer that members of the bodybuilding community and nutritional supplement industry turn to when they need legal help or representation.

[© Rick Collins. All rights reserved. For informational purposes only, not to be construed as legal or medical advice. ]