Sunday, April 24, 2005

Orrin Hatch - the arational defender of steroid abuse

The New York Times > Opinion > Editorial: Muscle Flexing in Congress
By all accounts, Senator Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican who is a proven power player in defending his home state's diet supplement industry, managed to keep DHEA on the shelves of nutrition centers. DHEA has been widely banned for Olympic and professional athletics. But an investigative report by The Times detailed the supplement's survival in the marketplace - even though it metabolizes into testosterone products banned under the law.

Senator Hatch defends DHEA as a special case, as an 'anti-aging pill' that deserves to be legal. Capitol Hill negotiators who saw no such virtue complain that Senator Hatch baldly threatened to block the entire steroid control proposal unless DHEA was exempted.

DHEA's Washington lobbyists happen to be the senator's son and a former longtime staff aide to Mr. Hatch. Asked whether he'd been lobbied by his son, Senator Hatch replied, 'Not that I know of.' Actually, the senator is such an aggressive defender of the supplement industry that lobbying him is a redundancy. Lawmakers should look to their bench in embarrassment and reconsider the exemption.
Hatch has been very consistent about this sort of thing for over 20 years. I don't think he's particularly corrupt, he's a simple man with some persistent delusions. Oh, and he has a lot of power. Blame it on Utah.

Update 4/24: After writing this, another angle occurred to me. Orrin Hatch is not a young man. He believes DHEA is an "anti-aging" drug and he believes it is harmless. It is thus rather likely that Hatch uses DHEA himself. Since most quality physicians would consider this a harmful act, Hatch may qualify as a steroid abuser. In particular, he may have become dependent on the mildly euphoric qualities of oral steroids. He's unlikely to approve legislation that may lead to limited access to his drug of choice.

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