The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Chinese government just learned something about anabolic steroids that has been common knowledge in the bodybuilding community for well over a decade. Where (what country) do most underground steroid labs (UGLs) and steroid “home-brewers” obtain their steroid powders?
For those steroid-using bodybuilders who have been living under a rock for the last decade, WADA Director General David Howman has the answer. He broke the news to Reuters television during the WADA’s 2013 Media Symposium at the Sofitel London Heathrow on February 12, 2013.
“Ninety-nine percent of the raw materials that are used through the internet to make up in your kitchen or your backyard laboratory are emanating from China,” Howman said. “They are going to gangs who then put them together in little plastic capsules and are sold on the street or in the gyms.”
Howman’s revelation wasn’t really news to anyone except for the news media that rely on WADA as their sole source of information about doping and anabolic steroids AND apparently the Chinese government!
Jiang Zhixue, the anti-doping chief of China’s State General Administration of Sport, told the Xinhua News Agency that he was “shocked” that people around the world obtained most of their raw steroid powder from China.
“We are shocked at Mr. Howman’s comment,” said China’s anti-doping chief Jiang Zhixue.
“We are wondering where this 99 percent came from and what is his evidence,” said Jiang. “We have asked for a more detailed explanation from WADA.”…
“There are problems, such as illegal sale of banned drugs through the Internet. So we have decided to launch an investigation into WADA’s allegation,” he said.
While it is understandable that WADA is behind the times in their war on steroids, few really believe China was in the dark regarding the role Chinese steroid powder suppliers have played in the worldwide demand for anabolic steroids.
After all, China was one of nine countries that offered extensive cooperation with the United States during 2007 Operation Raw Deal. Operation Raw Deal was the largest steroid law enforcement action in the history of the United States and it resulted in dismantling of 56 underground labs.
Where did most of these UGLs obtain their raw steroid powder? You guessed it. China.
Operation Raw Deal (United States) was closely coordinated with law enforcement officials in others countries e.g. Canada (Operation Powder Keg), Australia (Operation Kasha), Belgium, China, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Thailand. Every country was well-aware of the fact that the majority of the steroid powder originated in China.
In the United States, the UGLs fueled by Chinese powder included Powerline Labs, Superior Labs, Medline Pharmaceuticals, Pro Pharm Labs, TexStar Labs, Phalco Labs, Nassau Pharmaceuticals and Pacific Rim Labs. In Canada, they included Teragon Labs and Oropharma Labs.
China was well aware of their steroid powder issues during the run up to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Even Jiang, while feigning total shock at the Chinese steroid trade, acknowledged the coordinated effort among government departments in China to shut down a factory factories involved in the illegal trade of steroid powders and related materials.
Operation Raw Deal, Operation Powder Keg, Operation Kasha and the 2008 Chinese Olympic crackdown presented a minor disruption to the worldwide androgen black market. It quickly recovered and was barely noticed by most end users. Did any law enforcement really believe otherwise?
In response to WADA’s revelation of the Chinese steroid problem, Jiang suggested the revisiting of another multi-agency crack down on Chinese powder suppliers comparable to the Beijing Olympic crackdown.
This might result in another hiccup for UGLs and the illicit steroid black market. But with the long history of prohibition’s failures as our guide, this chapter in the war on steroids will have little long-term impact. Supply and demand will find a way.