A new performance-enhancing drug has emerged, which is being abused by high school students and athletes. This new drug is called a select androgen receptor modulator or SARM.

This article will help parents and students identify what SARMs are and the signs to look for if they suspect their child is abusing them.

In the late 1980s, anabolic steroids, which is synthetic testosterone, were starting to be abused by high school students looking to increase their muscle mass and performance. Anabolic steroids have been proven to increase lean muscle, aggression, speed, visual tracking, and overall performance. This widespread abuse became a national epidemic. The federal government decided to take action and make anabolic steroids a schedule 3 drug. Illegal possession of anabolic steroids would now result in a felony offense. This new law passed by President George Bush made it harder to illegal obtain anabolic steroids, and their abuse by high school student-athletes declined. But when one door closes, another one opens and companies decided to look for an alternative to anabolic steroids.  

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SARMs Enter The Picture

Fast forward two decades later, and students and student-athletes are now abusing a new drug. This new drug is called a SARM, which is stands for select androgen receptor modulator. SARMs are not anabolic steroids, but they are drugs. They are not synthetic versions of testosterone. SARMs target androgen receptors in the body to mimic the effects of anabolic steroids. One of these effects is muscle growth. SARMs come in different types and names. The most popular SARMs abused are Ligandrol or LGD 4033, Ostarine, Rad 140, YK 11, SR 9009, and Cardarine.

All of these types of SARMs are unapproved drugs. Ligandrol is currently being developed by a pharmaceutical company. RAD 140 is also in the beginning stages of development by another pharmaceutical company and is not approved by the FDA yet. The other types of SARMs named have been abandoned by the companies that we're developing them.

Only a few years ago, supplement companies started to illegally put SARMs in capsules and bottles and sell them as dietary supplements. The FDA regulates the supplement industry, but a supplement does not have to be approved FIRST in order to be sold.

An unscrupulous company will buy the SARM raw material from China, and then put the powder into capsules. They will then sell the product as a capsule product. A company called Enhanced Athlete was one of the largest SARMs sellers until federal agents raided their warehouses and confiscated all of their SARMs. But that left the door open for many small-time companies to start selling SARMs. Obtaining SARMs online is as easy as ordering from Amazon.com.

There are literally hundreds of companies selling SARMs in capsules, powders, and liquids. Many of these companies claim they are selling research chemicals. They believe that by calling them research chemicals, this will help them evade the law, but this thinking is incorrect. A one month supply of a SARM like Ligandrol only costs about $30 to 60 dollars.  

What To Look For With SARMs Abuse

Most of the time, someone abusing SARMs will increase muscle mass. SARMs are not as powerful as anabolic steroids so the effects are not as dramatic. Typically with anabolic steroid abuse, a person could typically gain 10 to 20 lbs. SARM abuse usually equates to a gain of 3 to 7 lbs. 

The side effects of SARMs are infrequent. Most people that abuse SARMs do not experience any side effects. That is one reason they are becoming more and more popular. Even though SARMs are drugs, the side effects are not dramatic. This makes it difficult for parents to detect if their child is abusing SARMs.  

The best way is to look for the product itself. The most popular SARMs will come in a 30 ml liquid bottle with a dropper. SARMs can also be found in capsule form. Therefore a parent will have to look at the product and determine if it has a name like Ligandrol, Ostarine, Rad 140, YK 11, SR 9009, or Cardarine.  

In conclusion, parents should educate their children about SARMs. SARMs are drugs and they are not dietary supplements. Using the internet one can easily find SARMs for sale. The bigger retail stores like GNC and Vitamin Shoppe do not carry them, but the smaller independently owned supplement stores are notorious for distributing SARMs. The FDA has not approved SARMs because these drugs are still in the developmental stages. The side effects have yet to be determined. The danger of abuse is present and the side effects are unknown. SARM use is banned by the NCAA and professional leagues as well.