Introduction – The Internet
Anabolic steroids are commodities sold on the black market, which is defined as the market whereby prohibited items, commodities, or services are bought, sold, and traded. This is different from the open market, where non-prohibited items are traded, bought, and sold. What falls under the net classification of a black market is subjective to the country in which the target market is (in other words, where the demand is coming from). The target market country must also be a country in which the commodity in question is prohibited, banned, and/or criminalized. Anabolic steroids are a highly subjective item, but they certainly fall into the black market in the case of the nation with one of the highest usage rates and highest demand for these products in the world: the United States of America. The anabolic steroid black market could be considered a subdivision of the general black market. In the modern day and age, also known as the information age, the internet is the primary extension of the anabolic steroid black market whereby people look to buy steroids online. Prior to the spread of the internet and the use of it, anabolic steroids were primarily traded via in-person ‘dealers’, ‘gym-dealers’, and mail order systems. These, of course, were very limited options in the buying and selling of anabolic steroids.
In fact, it was only coincidence that anabolic steroids were criminalized and made illegal in the United States just when the internet was rapidly gaining popularity. Anabolic steroids were criminalized in the United States in 1990 with the legislation of the Anabolic Steroid Control Act, adding steroids to the Schedule III list of substances under the Controlled Substances Act. This effectively makes it a criminal offense to possess, use, purchase, or sell anabolic steroids without a valid prescription in the United States. Other countries, such as Canada and the United Kingdom (England), do not criminalize personal use and possession, but trafficking anabolic steroids is designated as an illegal act. In any case, this leaves individuals who want to use steroids in the United States (and any other similar countries that enact/enable similar prohibitive laws) unable to obtain anabolic steroids without a valid prescription from a physician. Furthermore, a valid prescription cannot be obtained if the person’s reason for the request is to utilize them for the purpose of athletic performance enhancement or physique enhancement. This leaves them the option to buy steroids online, which is of course ultimately the option to buy anabolic steroids on the black market.
When someone decides to buy steroids online, they can be confronted with a plethora of legitimate internet sources from which to buy anabolic steroids from, but also a plethora of potential issues – everything from potential scams, selective scams, websites that over-inflate prices, and more. The other important issue at hand is the fact that if the person looking to buy steroids online is not well versed in how the typical vending of anabolic steroids occurs, many he or she can ultimately land in many pitfalls that will result in lost money, confusion, and/or bad product.
The first thing to understand when one wishes to buy steroids online are the different types of online internet steroid sources. There are not a whole lot of different online source types from which to buy steroids online, but it should be noted that there are generally three different types:
– Website sources
– E-mail correspondence sources
– Social networking sources
The first and foremost internet source to discuss is, of course, website sources. These are the most abundant internet source types when individuals look to buy steroids online. This is because a mere google or search engine search will bring up hundreds of thousands of these websites that offer to sell anabolic steroids – and many of them do. However, many also do not sell anabolic steroids, and many might sell some steroids and related products, and decide to run off with the buyer’s money after a certain amount of orders. There is no telltale sign as to whether or not a website is a legitimate source to buy steroids online from, and the determination as to whether or not it is can only be done through research. This research can be conducted via online internet discussion forums that either center on bodybuilding, anabolic steroids and the like. Some forums have an open-discussion policy in regards to sources, and others do not, where the discussion(s) are refrained to private messages between members.
The second common method by which people buy steroids online is through e-mail correspondence with a source. These sources are usually dispersed via word of mouth and spread around on various lists that are distributed to people who want to buy steroids online. These sources will correspond with their buyers via e-mail, where the buyer will determine what products, anabolic steroids, and/or related drugs they wish to buy. At this point, the source will respond with a total and request payment from the buyer, which can vary through different methods (more on this will be discussed shortly). After payment is sent by the buyer and received by the source, the item(s) are then shipped to the buyer. The third source type, social networking sources, are very similar in operation to e-mail correspondence sources, but they operate on social networking websites such as Facebook, Myspace, etc. and the source will usually establish themselves under a particular name.
Payment to any source is usually conducted via wire transfer, while some accept other methods. Many internet sources will establish minimum order limits (also referred to as bulk sales) within a range of $200 – $400 per order before the sale is finalized. Other websites will allow individuals to buy steroids online in smaller order amounts, but in order to compensate for the costs of these orders, the items are normally inflated in price, usually around $20 – $50 above normal retail prices of what would be purchased in a minimum order limit situation.