Legislation being introduced in Congress by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley today  is designed to cut access to muscle-building steroids while stiffening criminal penalties for using and selling the dangerous drugs. Grassley, a Republican, says the recent revelation that many professional athletes are still using and abusing steroids prompted what he calls this legislative "wake-up call" to the pro sports industry.

"The release of the Mitchell Report last week has really thrust the use of performance-enhancing drugs back into the spotlight," Grassley says, "as terrible as this report is, it has given us another chance to highlight the need to push for additional safeguards for our young people." He says he’s urging the other members of Congress to act quickly on the proposal in the wake of last week’s report by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, which named more than 80 current and former pro baseball players.

Grassley says: "One of the bills that we’re talking about today would make it illegal to sell the steroid precursor D-H-E-A to minors. It would also impose civil fines to anyone caught selling to minors. The second bill would address concerns about the widespread presence of H-G-H in professional sports." He says that human growth hormone has already been banned in all pro sports leagues but it’s still being widely used as there are no medical tests that can detect its use. The legislation would make H-G-H a controlled substance.

Grassley says: "Professional sports figures need to realize that they are, in fact, role models. They know that. They need to shape up then without the use of drugs and if they don’t, Congress is going to do a whole lot more than these two bills." He says the bills are not a remedy for all the problems society faces from the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs, but "they are a good step in getting at some of the issues that we’re seeing."