Legal Muscle: Exploring the World of Performance Enhancement with Attorney Rick Collins 


In a recent podcast episode, Amy Stuttle welcomed Rick Collins, a prominent attorney and legal expert in the field of anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing substances. They discussed the fascinating journey of how testosterone transformed from a sought-after muscle enhancer to a Schedule III controlled substance. Let’s recap the key points from their conversation.

The Birth of Testosterone as a Controlled Substance:

The discussion began with Rick Collins highlighting the unique status of testosterone and anabolic steroids. He emphasized that they were criminalized not for their harmful effects but because of their ability to enhance athletic performance. This shift in perception occurred in 1988 when Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson tested positive for the anabolic steroid Winstrol at the Seoul Olympics. This scandal ignited the anti-doping movement and prompted Congress to take action.

The Legislation and Its Consequences:

In 1990, Congress passed a law that classified anabolic steroids, including synthetic variations of testosterone, as Schedule III controlled substances. This legal classification placed these substances in the same category as drugs like Vicodin and various recreational drug precursors. It was a significant development, as testosterone was the only hormone included in this category. A hormone that we all naturally produce in our bodies. The justification for this decision was primarily based on concerns related to doping in sports.

Testosterone being labeled as “Addictive”:

Amy Stuttle questioned the label of testosterone as “addictive,” as it did not align with the common understanding of addiction. Rick Collins explained that at the time of this legislative change, there was minimal evidence suggesting any addictive potential associated with testosterone. While acknowledging that almost anything could be theoretically addictive, he emphasized that testosterone abuse was not causing the kind of social problems seen with other illicit drugs. Most users obtained it illegally to improve their physical appearance and did not exhibit the behaviors typically associated with addiction.

Impact on the Criminal Justice System and Users:

Amy Stuttle inquired about the consequences of this legal change on both the criminal justice system and individuals who were already using testosterone. Rick Collins shared his unique perspective, having transitioned from the world of bodybuilding and fitness to a career in law. He highlighted that the sudden classification of anabolic steroids as controlled substances caught many by surprise, as these substances were not viewed as dangerous drugs prior to the law’s enactment. Users, primarily those seeking physical improvements, suddenly found themselves facing criminal charges, which he believed was an overly harsh response.

Challenges in Revising Testosterone’s Schedule III Status:

Amy Stuttle expresses her surprise at the persistent Schedule III classification of testosterone, given its crucial role in aging individuals. She highlights the absence of an FDA-approved version of testosterone for women, deeming it behind the times. Amy questions the trajectory of testosterone regulation, given the ongoing efforts by senators to reevaluate its status. These initiatives primarily stem from concerns related to transgender rights.

Rick Collins, Esq., observes the significant influence of the LGBT community on American culture in recent years. He underscores that transgender individuals, assigned female at birth, often utilize testosterone under medical supervision to align their physical appearance with their self-identity. Notably, senators from Massachusetts are advocating for a review of testosterone’s Schedule III classification, citing the various hurdles and impediments it imposes, especially on those seeking to transition from female to male. Their aim is to streamline access to testosterone for transgender individuals, making it more inclusive.

The differences between possessing and selling testosterone:

Rick explains that distributing or selling testosterone is a felony in most states, while mere possession without a valid medical prescription is generally a misdemeanor. He emphasizes the importance of avoiding the black market and recommends proper medical evaluation, including lab tests, before considering testosterone therapy. Possessing testosterone with a prescription is 100% legal. 


The podcast conversation provided valuable insights into the legal journey of testosterone and anabolic steroids, shedding light on the reasons behind their classification as controlled substances. It also raised questions about whether this legal framework effectively addressed the concerns surrounding these substances and their use.

Podcast- Women Want Strong Men

Guest – Rick Collins, Esq

Host – Amy Stuttle 

Episode Link

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