Anabolic steroids are primarily used by bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness "buffs" who claim steroids give them a competitive
advantage and/or improve their physical performance. Also, individuals in occupations requiring enhanced physical strength (body guards,
construction workers, and law enforcement officers) are known to take these drugs. Steroids are purported to increase lean body mass,
strength and aggressiveness. Steroids are also believed to reduce recovery time between workouts, which makes it possible to train harder
and thereby further improve strength and endurance. Some people who are not athletes also take steroids to increase their endurance,
muscle size and strength, and reduce body fat which they believe improves personal appearance.
Doctors may prescribe steroids to patients for legitimate medical purposes such as loss of function of testicles,
breast cancer, low red blood cell count, delayed puberty and debilitated states resulting from surgery or sickness.
Veterinarians administer steroids to animals (e.g. cats, cattle, dogs, and horses) for legitimate purposes such as to promote feed efficiency,
and to improve weight gain, vigor, and hair coat. They are also used in veterinary practice to treat anemia and counteract tissue
breakdown during illness and trauma. For purposes of illegal use there are several sources; the most common illegal source is
from smuggling steroids into the United States from other countries such as Mexico and European countries.
Smuggling from these areas is easier because a prescription is not required for the purchase of steroids.
Less often steroids found in the illicit market are diverted from legitimate sources
(e.g. thefts or inappropriate prescribing) or produced in clandestine laboratories.