Even though anabolic steroids do not cause the same high as other drugs, they can lead to addiction. Studies have shown that animals will self-administer steroids when they have the chance, just as they do with other addictive drugs. People may continue to abuse steroids despite physical problems, high costs to buy the drugs, and negative effects on their relationships. These behaviors reflect steroids' addictive potential. Research has further found that some steroid users turn to other drugs, such as opioids, to reduce sleep problems and irritability caused by steroids.
Crosland explains that while the substances aren't physically addictive, "psychologically, they can be difficult to walk away from". He blames a lazy social attitude for the boom among young men. "Everybody wants a magic pill. People don’t want to work hard, they want to take something that will fulfil their dreams. Steroids will give the results that are wanted if all other fitness considerations are in place, but the problem with this group is that everything else isn’t in place. The onus is on the drug use, not the training or the diet."
The legal status of anabolic steroids varies from country to country. In the ., anabolic steroids are listed as Schedule III controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act , which makes the possession of such substances without a prescription a federal crime punishable by up to seven years in prison.  In Canada, anabolic steroids and their derivatives are part of the Controlled drugs and substances act and are Schedule IV substances, meaning that it is illegal to obtain or sell them without a prescription. However, possession is not punishable, a consequence reserved for schedule I, II or III substances. Those guilty of buying or selling anabolic steroids in Canada can be imprisoned for up to 18 months. Importing or exporting anabolic steroids also carry similar penalties.  Anabolic steroids are also illegal without prescription in Australia,  Argentina, Brazil, and Portugal,  and are listed as Schedule 4 Controlled Drugs in the United Kingdom.