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Norway: Amended Law Prohibits Purchase and Use of Anabolic Steroids

(July 9, 2013) <?Norway's Medicinal Products Act was amended on June 14, 2013, to make the use and purchase of anabolic steroids illegal. Formerly, it was illegal to import and sell these substances in Norway, but not to buy or consume them. (Julie Ryland, Illegal to Buy and Consume Anabolic Steroids in Norway, THE NORWAY POST (July 2, 2013).) The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation recently reported that a number of experts have found an increased use of drugs among Norwegian teenagers trying to build muscle. Minister of Health and Care Services Jonas Gahr Støre stated, “[w]e are now sending a very strong signal that these drugs are not ok.” (Id.)

According to a new section 24a of the Act, it is prohibited to unlawfully acquire, possess, or use a drug considered to be a doping agent under the Penal Code. The prohibition also applies to products containing such substances. (Lov om legemidler m.v. (legemiddelloven) [Act on Medicinal Products, etc. (Medicinal Products Act), Act No. 132 (Dec. 4, 1992, as last amended June 14, 2013, in force as of July 1, 2013), [note: an additional amendment, dated June 21, 2013, to insert a new § 30a, has not yet entered into force].)

The Penal Code stipulates that anyone who unlawfully manufactures, imports, exports, stores, sends, or conveys any substance deemed to be a means of doping, pursuant to provisions made by the King, is guilty of a doping felony and liable to fines or a prison term of up to two years (The General Civil Penal Code, Act No. 10 (May 22, 1902, as amended), §162 b, ¶ 1.) A list of permitted/prohibited drugs is found in the Regulations on Drugs (Forskrift om narkotika (narkotikaforskriften), Regulations No. 199 (Feb. 14, 2013, in force Feb. 14, 2013), LOVDATA.)

The amendment of the Act brings Norway into closer compliance with the Council of Europe (COE) Anti-Doping Convention, which states in its article 4(1):

The Parties shall adopt where appropriate legislation, regulations or administrative measures to restrict the availability (including provisions to control movement, possession, importation, distribution and sale) as well as the use in sport of banned doping agents and doping methods and in particular anabolic steroids. (Anti-Doping Convention, ETS No. 135 (Nov. 16, 1989), COE website.)

Norway signed and ratified the Convention on November 16, 1989; it entered into force in Norway on March 1, 990. (Anti-Doping Convention CETS: No. 135: Status as of July 9, 2013, COE website (last visited July 9, 2013).) The “Prohibited List,” in an Annex to the Convention, sets forth “the substances and methods linked with doping and thus prohibited by the relevant international sports organisations.” (What Is the Prohibited List?, COE website (last visited July 9, 2013).)

Among the List’s “Substances and Methods Prohibited at All Times (in- and out-of-Competition)” are anabolic agents, including anabolic androgenic steroids (both exogenous steroids, i.e., those not usually produced naturally by the body, and endogenous ones, i.e., those capable of being produced naturally by the body, when administered from outside the body) and other anabolic agents. (The 2013 Prohibited List (in force on Jan. 1, 2013), § 1, COE website.)