Founded in 2003, the Coalition for Anabolic Steroid Precursor and Ephedra Regulation (CASPER) is an American organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. The stated mission of CASPER is to work for the legislative control of anabolic steroids and ephedra that are sold as dietary supplements. CASPER also seeks to further the education of the American public concerning the perceived health risks presented by dietary supplements that contain either anabolic steroids or ephedra.
CASPER has a membership composed of high level American sports and medical organizations, including the American Council on Exercise, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Football League (NFL), the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and the United States Olympic Committee.
CASPER has publicly endorsed the efforts of various U.S. politicians to bring the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004 into law. This legislation prevents anabolic steroid precursors, also known as anabolic prohormones, such as androstenedione (or andro), from being sold as a dietary supplement. The legislation would classify all anabolic steroid precursors as drugs and subject them to more stringent control within the United States. Precursors are not themselves capable of promoting muscle growth, but like all hormones, they act to stimulate an organ into a particular action. Andro, dehydroepianrosterone (DHEA), and similar chemicals act to promote the release of testosterone, the male sex hormone, which itself will stimulate muscle growth.
Ephedra has been the subject of ceaseless controversy with respect to the regulation of its commercial sale in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States moved to ban the sale and distribution of all forms of ephedra and its inclusion in supplementation in 2004; this decision has attracted significant attention as various American interests sought legal action to overturn the ephedra ban. Ephedra, a well-known stimulant, is valued in many sectors of the public, among both athletes and non-athletes alike, for its claimed therapeutic qualities. Government authorities pointed to its apparent heightening of risk of heart attack through use as a basis for its ban. CASPER seeks to have ephedra regulated as a drug and not as a food supplement; the enforcement powers available to the government through the Anabolic Steroid Control Act are significantly more stringent.