Where Are Steroids Legal? (Everything You Need To Know)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: February 19, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Dr. Kristy Dayanan, BS, MD
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In my job as a fitness coach, I have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in gyms worldwide, and what all of them have in common, among other things, are obvious users of illegal anabolic steroids.

I frequently address this issue with my clients, and recently they asked me if there are any countries where anabolic steroids are legal.

This question piqued my curiosity, so I set out to do a bit of research, and I’ve come across some interesting facts. Here’s what I’ve found.

Quick Summary

  • The United Kingdom is one of the countries where anabolic steroids are legal.
  • People take anabolic steroids as medication to boost their muscle growth or to improve their athletic performance.
  • A study from Researchgate indicates that approximately 3.3% of the world's population has used anabolic steroids at least once.
  • I believe the risks associated with steroid use outweigh the potential benefits, regardless of their legal status.
Different pills with syringe

The United Kingdom is an example of a country where anabolic steroids are legal. Anabolic steroids are categorized as Class C drugs and are available by prescription.

It is legal to have anabolic steroids for personal use and even import or export steroids if it is on your person, meaning no freight or courier.

It is, however, illegal to supply or sell anabolic steroids in the United Kingdom, according to the NHS, and that comes with an unlimited fine or a prison sentence of up to 14 years [1].

Another country where you can buy anabolic steroids “legally” is Mexico. While there may be prescription laws, they seem to be routinely ignored [2].

Legal steroids, dietary supplements mimicking anabolic steroids, vary in legality based on local steroid laws and the Anabolic Steroid Control Act.

My research found that there were not many places worldwide where anabolic steroids can be legally purchased because many other countries have adopted some form of our Anabolic Steroids Control Act.

Related Article: Are Steroids Illegal in Texas?

Drug Trafficking

Even after the passing of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970 and the anabolic steroid legislation in 1990, overseas pharmacies are readily selling anabolic steroids and shipping them directly to users’ doors.

An investigation in 2005 showed how easily buying anabolic steroid drugs and human growth hormone could be from other countries. I would hazard a guess that buying steroids online 17 years later is even easier [3].

It is important to remember that even in countries where anabolic steroids are completely legal, they are banned substances under World Anti-Doping Agency rules. Testing positive for anabolic and androgenic steroids will result in a ban from competition and other penalties.

“The sites are readily accessible to users in this country but are based in countries where steroids are unregulated. Any steroids we've ever seized have been manufactured in foreign countries."

- Bridget G. Brennan, Special Narcotics Prosecutor, New York City

Why Do People Take Them?

Taking a pill close up image

Anabolic steroids are widely used in weight training to significantly boost lean muscle mass. My experience with athletes shows that increased muscle mass often leads to enhanced strength and a competitive advantage in sports.

However, most steroid users are actually non-athlete men in their 20s and 30s, who, as per the National Library of Medicine, struggle with self-esteem, depression, and body image issues [4]. Their primary aim is often to improve appearance and confidence, not just athletic performance.

Steroid use has grown in popularity for aesthetic reasons over the past four decades. About 3.3% of the global population has used steroids at least once, predominantly males.

Women are generally less inclined to use steroids due to the risk of developing pronounced male characteristics, such as a deeper voice and increased body hair [5].

Illegal Steroids List

This list of illegal steroids helps you identify prohibited products and understand the risks associated with their use for both users and health professionals.

Here are the five most well-known illegal steroids:

  1. Dianabol
  2. Anavar
  3. Testosterone
  4. Trenbolone
  5. Deca-Durabolin
A man holding couple of white pills

Yes, there are legal alternatives to anabolic steroids, usually called legal steroids, and their results can resemble those of many known anabolics. They may contain ingredients like branched-chain amino acids and growth hormones to help users gain muscle mass and improve performance.

These natural steroids eliminate the need to worry about the legal status, breaking laws, or obtaining a valid prescription as they are readily available over the counter in most countries.

Many of these natural supplements have testosterone-boosting ingredients that occur naturally in foods and nature.

These include Vitamin D, fenugreek, Zinc, D-Aspartic Acid, Magnesium, Ashwagandha root, Oyster Extract, and Asian red Panax ginseng.


Is Tren legal in the United States?

Tren (trenbolone) is not legal for human use in the United States. It is one of the most potent anabolic steroids and is categorized as a Class III drug, meaning it is a controlled substance.

Trenbolone acetate sold under Finajet and Finaplix is used in veterinary medicine to promote muscle growth in cattle.

Is Dianabol legal in the United States?

Dianabol or DBOL is not legal in the United States and, like other anabolic-androgenic steroids, is a Class III controlled substance.

What Is the Closest Thing to Steroids That’s Legal?

The closest thing to steroids that is legal are natural steroids designed to increase muscle mass and athletic performance.

These supplements are considered effective, safer alternatives to anabolic steroids and are readily available without a prescription or illicit purchase.

Why Are Steroids Illegal?

Steroids are illegal without a prescription because they can have serious side effects and health risks, including hormonal imbalances, liver damage, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Their potential for abuse and the unfair advantage they provide in sports also contribute to their illegal status without medical supervision.

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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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