Steroids Have Become the New Normal

Performance-enhancing drugs are everywhere, writes Rosecrans Baldwin in GQ
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2024 9:30 AM CDT
You Probably Know Someone on Steroids
   (Getty / Prostock-Studio)

GQ writer Rosecrans Baldwin is pretty sure you know somebody who is taking performance-enhancing drugs. This is based on his discovery that so many people in his own circle—average folks, not gym rats—are taking something of that nature. It might be human growth hormone, or testosterone, or steroid injections, or "peptide stacks," or beta blockers, and on and on. "We're talking about day traders and data managers," he writes. "People who don't intend to enter a bodybuilding competition but who want to feel more in control of how they look—who are eager to become the human lab–slash–gym rat of their dreams." The story explores what's going on—including how easy it is to obtain the drugs in these days of telemedicine—as Baldwin offers a skeptical take on whether this can possibly be a good thing.

Side effects are one thing, in both the long and short term. "There really was a lot of talk about testicles," he writes, referring to the common malady of their shriveling. Another often-overlooked issue: "Anabolic steroids and testosterone are Schedule III controlled substances. The possession of, say, a single vial of testosterone without a prescription is a criminal act." Don't expect such speed bumps to slow down the spread, however. Baldwin notes that lots of people don't just go to the gym anymore—they go to the gym to document their workouts and flexes for others. "Social media put steroids on steroids," is how one attorney who specializes in the area puts it. The story includes multiple interviews with those who indulge and those who offer cautionary tales. Read it in full here. (Or read other longform recaps.)

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