OLR Research Report

January 27, 2005




By: John Kasprak, Senior Attorney

You asked if anabolic steroids are classified as controlled substances and whether a prescription is needed to obtain and use them.

Anabolic steroids are Class III controlled substances and require a prescription for medical use.

The federal Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990 (ASCA; Title XIX of Public Law 101-647) placed anabolic steroids into Schedule III of the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA; 21 U.S. Code 812). The ASCA provides that the U.S. attorney general may exempt products that contain anabolic steroids from all or any part of the CSA if the products have no significant potential for abuse. The authority to exempt these products was delegated from the attorney general to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) administrator who in turn redelegated this authority to DEA's Office of Diversion Control.

Controlled substances are grouped into Schedules I through V, according to their decreasing tendency to promote abuse or dependency. Schedule I substances are the most strictly controlled because of their high potential for abuse. State and federal laws authorize prescribing drugs on Schedules II through V; most Schedule I drugs do

not have any approved medical use. Connecticut law on controlled substances can be found in Chapter 420b of the General Statutes (CGS Sec. 21a-240 et seq.; the state list of Schedule III controlled substances, which includes anabolic steroids, can be found in Department of Consumer Protection regulation, Sec. 21a-243-9(f).

The CSA defines anabolic steroids as any drug or hormonal substance chemically and pharmacologically related to testosterone (other than estrogen, progestins, and corticosteroids) that promotes muscle growth.