Since increases in muscle strength are proportional to increases in the cross-sectional diameter of the muscles being trained, the body must convert greater than normal amounts of amino acids available to it to increase size in athletes in training. When androgens became available in the 1930's they were used primarily to restore positive nitrogen balance in victims of starvation. Anabolic steroids, which were developed to avoid unwanted effects of androgens, were first given to weight lifters, but football players and weight throwers were soon using them. From 1965 to 1977, 25 clinical studies were published dealing with the administration of an anabolic-androgenic steroid to adult human males for evaluating changes in strength and, in 10 of these studies, in maximum oxygen consumption. In 12 of these studies, improvements were claimed from the use of these steroids; in the other 13 no improvements were observed. Other studies have shown that in healthy adult males these steroids reduce testosterone and gonadotrophin output, which reduces spermatogenesis. Alterations of normal liver function have been found in up to 80% of persons treated with C17-alkylated testosterone derivatives. Peliosis hepatitis, with liver failure and death, and fatal liver cancer have also been reported in adults so treated. Reliable methods for detecting anabolic steroids in the urine are now used in certain international competitions. Testing, announced bans, and disqualifications have not been effective in controlling the use of the drugs. The best hope for doing so lies in continuing education of athletes and their supervisors.