I think it is the true practitioner in the medical field – my father’s peers –  who would question not what steroids did to sports, but rather, look at what sports did to steroids.


I was ranting to my father one day about the latest kink in the baseball steroid scandal when he reminded me about a study he conducted in medical school in Rome.  He and a fellow researcher conducted a study on the effects of deca duradolin in combating muscle wasting in starving pigeons.  Why deca?  Because it had just come out and his professor asked him if he would like to conduct the study.  Why pigeons?  There are a lot of pigeons in Rome… Anyway, his study concluded that deca was safe and efficacious in treating muscle wasting.  The study was published in 1956.

I’m not saying my father’s work was ground breaking, I’m using it to illustrate a point in time, from then until now, marking one clinician’s observation – whom I know for certain has no agenda – of the curious path the group of this rather innocuous drug has taken. Thousands and thousands of credible studies have been conducted on steroids over the last 50 years since my dad did his with similar findings.  Through the results of those studies numerous therapeutic protocols were derived.  These therapies have been approved and administer by clinicians by the millions around the world with tremendous life affirming affects.  To find such a drug touted in the same league as cocaine by a high profile anti-doping advocate – himself a clinician – stinks to high heaven.

Consumption-Cocaine-and-HeroinWhy is it that Dr. Gary Wadler, a world renowned  “expert;” a man with ties to the World Anti Doping Agency and  the Olympics; a man that has appeared before Congress and on Cable TV news and the main stream press, is making the preposterous assertion  – as an expert – that steroids are “like cocaine?”

I want to be very careful here in indicating what this means because it is open to three distinct interpretations.  First, let me give you the quote again from ABC News:, “HGH is only approved for people with dwarfism and muscle wasting from diseases like cancer and AIDS. A doctor can write a prescription for only those two reasons, according to [Dr. Gary] Wadler.”  Then a direct quote from Wadler: “Anything else is really illegal.  Just like cocaine.”

First of all, doctors do not write prescriptions for cocaine. Cocaine is a schedule II drug and steroids are schedule III.  Doctors write prescriptions for Valium.  Valium is a schedule III drug, like steroids, so if Wadler wasn’t grand standing, what was he doing?

What I think he was doing was what any professional  alarmist would do to satisfy their agenda when he’s getting interviewed by NBC News.  What sounds more nefarious? “Just like cocaine,’ or ‘just like Valium?” Which phrase is more likely to raise more eyebrows?  Get him more attention, make it seem more dangerous than it is?

The second inference I guess one could draw in comparing steroids to cocaine refers to the illegality of it.  However, if he was to make an accurate comparison, he would have said “just like Valium.”  Steroids compared to cocaine makes them appear worse coming from the mouth of a supposed expert  because cocaine is a street drug and has a far more nefarious connotation.  Which leads me to the third possible interpretation of what Wadler meant when he said  “just like cocaine.”  Criminals on the street trade in cocaine and they also traffic in steroids.  So, “just like cocaine,” refers to the market in which you must acquire your drugs be they cocaine or steroids.  He could still have said “just like Valium” because you also have to go to the street for Valium without a script.

What I’m lead to believe is that Wadler is misleading the public. And that’s about as dark a coat as you can wrap a man who aught to be riding a white horse.  It is only because of the drug scandals that have permeated the media that he can get away with something so repugnant and pharmacologically bankrupt. and sell it to the media.

My dad was as methodical a members of academia as they come.  And as the good researcher he was, his path was generally centered in the middle of the road until given solid evidence to turn.  But before he did he would stop and look both ways.  As a clinician far removed from the issue, his opinion today on steroid’s ranking in the public eye is bewildering.  How could this innocuous drug that saved the lives of a bunch of starving pigeons end up at the center of congressional hearings, negative propaganda, documentaries, and a sports scandal so large it sought to sail America’s reigning home run king down the river?  To any non-biased clinician this would have to seem perplexing.

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