Episode 1: The Anabolic Doc and Tony Huge debate whether or not steroids should be made legal in the United States.
GI Debate is a new limited digital series that pits two experts in the bodybuilding and fitness space against each other in regards to trending and controversial topics. Each expert will be given equal amount of time to make their case or opinion – followed by a rebuttal round. This week, our two guests are Dr. Thomas O’Connor, also known as the Anabolic Doc, and Tony Huge.
Dr. Thomas O’Connor is a physical of internal medicine with over 17 years of practice. He coined the term Testosteronology® and focuses on anabolic recovery medicine. In 2018 he published a book called ‘America on Steroids: A Time To Heal.’ He is also a former powerlifter.
Tony Huge is a self proclaimed “pioneer of freedom.” A bodybuilder, a business owner, a fitness influencer – Tony holds a law degree and is an avid supporter and advocate for the use of performance enhancing drugs and freedom of speech. Tony believes that steroids should not only be legal but also hold the potential to improve the quality of standard living.
The GI Debate Rules
While GI Debate is not following standards and practices of credited debate rules and regulations – the discussion will not be a complete free-for-all. Each guest will have equal time to make his point followed by a round of rebuttal and discussion. Below are the GI Debate rule basics:
- Each guest will have 2 minutes to make his or her point.
- Guests will then have 2 additional minutes for rebuttal and discussion.
- Each guest will receive a 15 minute warning signal when their time is almost up.
In episode one of our GI Debate with Dr. Thomas O’Connor and Tony Huge – we discuss whether or not steroids should be made legal in the United States, if it would make the drug use safer, and if pharmaceutical companies have a financial interest in keeping these substances illegal. Let’s jump into it.
Should steroids become legal in the United States and would it make recreational use safer?
Currently in the United States, anabolic steroids are illegal for use in athletic or recreational activities. These substances are only legal if prescribed by a doctor for specific medical use. Despite this, nearly every professional sport has been show to have athletes that use (and abuse) anabolic steroids for increased performance.
This has been a major point of controversy and conversation in the sport of bodybuilding. Many believe that it is impossible for the professional sport of bodybuilding to exist as it is now without athletes using anabolic steroids. The size and quality of the physiques are pushed to limits made impossible by natural means. For anecdotal proof of this – simply compare a drug tested natural bodybuilding competition to an untested pro bodybuilding competition. The difference in size and physique will be immediately apparent.
This begs the question – would anabolic steroid use be safer if it were made legal? The war on drugs has been proven as a failure on nearly all fronts ranging from marijuana through to opiates. With users turning to black markets in order to obtain PEDs – would decriminalizing and possibly even legalizing these substances make our society’s health safer?
Dr Thomas O’Connor believes that’s a loaded question. He believes that steroids should not be legal to use recreationally or athletically. In his field of work, Dr. O’Connor sees the long term side effects and dangers caused by steroid use. He goes into detail about the silent suffering many men and women face. Suffering that is often not publicized in media.
Tony Huge is more open to complete legalizing of steroids, “If it can be legalized, I say yes.” Huge believes this would lead to safer resources for steroids. He believes that nearly all of the most severe complications form steroid use come from dirty substances found on the black market. If the drugs were made legal – it would provide a safer path for athletes to not only obtain these substances but also speak more freely with medical professionals and be monitored for potential long term issues.
Tony Huge also identifies as a libertarian and believes that the government should have no say in what an American can or cannot put in his or her own body.
Most interesting, Tony Huge also admits that he understands that there are long term cardiovascular health risks associated with steroids. But he believes that the benefits of steroids outweigh the damage. It’s a personal choice that he should be allowed to make legally. He thinks that if steroids were legal – information would be more direct so that each individual can take the risk if they so choose. This is no different from substances like cigarettes or even sugar – which both are well known to have long term health risks despite being easily accessible and legal to consume.
Do pharmaceutical companies have a financial interest in keeping steroids illegal in the United States?
Tony Huge has gone on record in the past stating that the real reason steroids are seen as taboo and are illegal – is because pharmaceutical companies have more money to gain. His argument is that steroids, beyond athletic performance, can help treat a wide selection of ailments that humanity often suffers from. However, if pharma companies could instead provide alternative drugs and treatments (that they own) – they make more profit. Treat the symptom instead of the cause. This keeps society in a constant cycle of sickness and health meaning more profits for companies.
Dr. Thomas O’Connor does not believe that pharma companies have a financial interest in keeping steroids illegal. But he does think that Tony Huge is half right about this topic. Dr. O’Connor clarifies that pharma companies don’t make more money from blocking steroids. However, there is very little financial gain for legalizing it. Without that financial gain to drive studies and lobbyists, you have very little action towards making a change in the current legal status of steroids.
Dr. Thomas O’Connor points out that the medical world is most focused on fixing three major ailments – diabetes, obesity, and cancer. These are widespread issues. Due to this – it’s also where the most profit can be made. In fact, Dr. O’Connor wishes that there was more interest in studying and evaluating steroid use and abuse. Currently, the majority of the medical field simply knows very little about steroids – and cares very little about studying it.
The baseline health dangers are well known. That’s enough to put it in a box while the medical community focuses on a collection of other bigger hot topic health issues.
Despite being on opposite sides of the steroid conversation, both Dr. Thomas O’Connor and Tony Huge find a surprising amount of middle ground. They both agree that the use of steroids in athletic and recreational endeavors will never be defeated. While they differ on how dangerous or how important it is to regulate these substances – they also both agree that the current system isn’t necessarily working.
You can watch the entire episode one GI Debate above. Make sure to check back every Monday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network. This limited digital series will run a total of three episodes – debating different topics between Dr. Thomas O’Connor and Tony Huge. It’s certain to be an insightful and entertaining watch. Stay tuned!