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What is our stance on questions asking about performance-enhancing drugs? Are they on-topic or off-topic?

  • Example 1 (newly posted): There exist some performance-enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids that help increase muscle mass. Do any performance-enhancing drugs help increase tendon strength?
  • Example 2 (score of 3, not closed): Is it safe to use nicotine to enhance performance?
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    Does this answer your question? Are steroids on topic?
    – Thomas Markov Mod
    Dec 12, 2022 at 11:31
  • @ThomasMarkov thanks, it seems to focus on illegal and/or dangerous drugs Dec 12, 2022 at 12:09
  • Also, asking about nicotine and asking about AASs should be two different discussions here on meta. It should be obvious why the things we need to consider for nicotine and what we have to consider for AASs are different.
    – Thomas Markov Mod
    Dec 12, 2022 at 12:12
  • @ThomasMarkov Both questions are asking about PEDs. Example 1 doesn't focus on AAs. Dec 12, 2022 at 12:23
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    Suggestions on PED use typically has been banned because aside from it usually being illegal, it's also tantamount to medical advice which is off-topic.
    – DeeV
    Dec 12, 2022 at 15:02
  • @DeeV not all PEDs are illegal everywhere. Dec 12, 2022 at 15:04
  • @FranckDernoncourt That's true, but when you start talking about drugs that drastically manipulate your hormone profile to achieve certain performance peaks, then that still falls under potentially dangerous medical advice.
    – DeeV
    Dec 12, 2022 at 16:07
  • @DeeV Not necessarily trying to achieve certain performance peaks. E.g., could be tendinopathy prevention. Dec 12, 2022 at 16:09
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    @FranckDernoncourt - I'm afraid that wouldn't go anywhere either, because even if the answer is "yes, steroids can prevent tendinopathy", that could be read as an indirect endorsement. Strictly speaking, this whole topic is borderline at best, and I would err on the side of caution and keep it clean.
    – Alec
    Dec 12, 2022 at 23:47
  • @Alec my hope is to get an answer is "yes, X can prevent tendinopathy", where X is legal in at least one country and doesn't have too many nasty side effects. (Up to the users to decide what to use based on the pros/cons). Dec 12, 2022 at 23:49

1 Answer 1

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First, to clarify, yes, there are places where drugs are legal that are illegal elsewhere. That isn't an issue at point here. For steroid and other typical "illegal PED" questions, there is a fine line. Traditionally they have been frowned upon, and questions about how to use and similar are closed pretty quickly.

My personal standard is the WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) list. Is it legal on WADA? Great, ask away. This includes such things as creatine, nicotine, caffeine, and similar. Most of these are legal, both in season and out, but there are limits to the amount that can be in the blood when tested. There are many questions already about these substances and their use. (Keeping in mind it still needs to be in the context of a fitness program of some kind).

Is it illegal according to WADA? Ok, then the second litmus test applies. Is it how to use it, how to cycle, best ones to use? Off topic (for me). Is it more academic in nature? Could be ok, but the community may say otherwise.

For the most recent question that has been asked, my inclination is to close it, as it isn't really furthering the purpose of the fitness site. It is currently sitting at 2 down votes, one up vote and one close vote (And keep in mind we have a 3 vote close threshold), so the community in general is of about the same opinion. It also could be closed just because there is no fitness component to it, simply a yes/no and a list if there is an answer.

I honestly think that this would be a much better fit on the Medical Sciences SE, but it's borderline enough to watch for a bit.

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