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Protecting Athletes and Consumers: USADA’s Fight Against Supplement Risks

UPDATED: April 19, 2023

Since its founding, USADA has been concerned about supplement risks and how poor supplement regulation could impact athletes. Supplements are regulated post-market, which means that neither the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nor any other organization, evaluates supplements before they hit shelves.

That’s why USADA has been supporting the following legislation and initiatives to protect athletes and consumers from the start. To learn more about the risks associated with supplements, visit Supplement Connect to complete the Reduce Your Risk Checklist.

1994

Before USADA was formed, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was signed into law. At the time, there were an estimated 600 dietary supplement companies manufacturing 4,000 products, with total annual sales of around 4 billion dollars.

2000

USADA was formed in 2000, and very soon began addressing the risks dietary supplements posed to athletes.

2003

USADA helps found the Coalition for Anabolic Steroid Precursors and Ephedra (CASPER) to regulate anabolic steroid precursors and ephedra in dietary supplements. This resulted in a Congressional Hearing on Abuse of Anabolic Steroids and their Precursors by Athletes .

2004

USADA successfully advocates for the Anabolic Control Act of 2004, which provides a clarified definition of anabolic steroids and supports research and education on steroids and steroid precursors. The bill is enacted on October 22, 2004.

2009

USADA launches Supplement Safety Now to educate consumers and rally support for new regulations to ensure dietary supplements are free of steroids and drugs. Supported by 17 other sports organizations, Supplement Safety Now prompted the Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010.

2010

Working with Senators McCain and Dorgan, USADA helped draft the Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010, introduced in the Senate on February 3, 2010. Key aspects of the legislation were ultimately incorporated into the Food Safety Modernization Act.

2010

Four key provisions from the Supplement Safety Act of 2010 were passed under the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010, including required registration of all dietary supplement companies and FDA mandatory recall for unsafe dietary supplements.

2012

Knowing that legislation alone could not protect athletes from dangerous supplements, USADA launched an educational website called Supplement 411 and a High Risk List of dietary supplements known to contain performance-enhancing drugs. The High Risk List originally contained about 30 products, but hundreds of products have since been added to the list.

2012

USADA worked with the dietary supplement industry and Senators Hatch and Whitehouse to draft the Designer Anabolic Steroids Control Act (DASCA), which would add designer steroids to the Controlled Substances and make it easier to schedule new steroids in the future.

2014

Reintroduced by Senators Hatch and Whitehouse, DASCA was signed into law on December 18, 2014. DASCA added 25 anabolic steroids and analogues to schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act, giving law enforcement more power to remove dangerous dietary supplements from the market.

2018

USADA helped draft the SARMS Control Act in collaboration with the Working with the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the Natural Products Association to make 9 SARMS (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators) schedule III controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act. Senators Hatch and Whitehouse introduced the bill to the Senate in April 2018. The bill was introduced again in 2019 by Senators Grassley and Whitehouse. As of 2022, there has been no further action on this bill.

2019

Following a summit hosted by USADA that included the UFC, Major and Minor League Baseball, and Operation Supplement Safety (Department of Defense), USADA formally recognized the NSF International Certified for Sport program as the dietary supplement quality assurance program best suited to protect athletes.

2022

USADA launched the new Supplement Connect website and the Supplement Connect High Risk List.

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