We are proud of our US Senator here in Iowa -- Chuck Grassley -- for his work on the HGH bill. USA Today carries this story:
Criticized for holding hearings on performance-enhancing drugs in sports just for the purposes of grandstanding, Congress is on the verge of passing legislation that might have stagnated had the hearings not occurred.
"I think it would have passed eventually, but the hearings sped things up," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who has co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, that would put human growth hormone on par with steroids as a controlled substance. "It certainly focused the issue."
Schumer said legislation could pass in the Senate by unanimous consent as soon as today. He then expects the bill to pass through the House and be signed into law by President Bush.
"There's very little opposition to this bill," Schumer said. "That doesn't happen too much these days."
HGH was a focal point of last month's House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing that featured seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens and his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, who has alleged he injected Clemens with HGH and steroids. While denying he used either steroids or HGH, Clemens said his wife, Debbie Clemens, had used the synthetic hormone that stimulates growth and cell production.
Moving HGH to a scheduled category will give the DEA more ammunition in the fight against PEDs on the street. Despite what you read in some articles, PEDs produce significant and dangerous side effects.
In addition, former senator George Mitchell said in his report on drugs in baseball released in December that players were increasingly turning to HGH because no urine test is available.
"Those hearings played a significant role in bringing the issue to the public's attention," said Don Hooton, whose 17-year-old son, Taylor, committed suicide in 2003 after taking steroids. "They heard about the serious problem steroids and HGH pose."
To distribute HGH without a prescription is felony, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. But the Schumer-Grassley bill also makes it a crime to possess HGH without a prescription and makes distributors and manufacturers register with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
There was a story on certain Senators blocking the bill; forget that -- let's get someone in here from the bullpen to push it through Congress. Senator Grassley: keep in the batter's box; you're about to hit one out of the park.