Let's focus on amphetamines for a moment, or "diet pills" as Verducci calls them. There's a reason that players took them: They enhanced performance. Whether for a hot August doubleheader, a day game after a night game at the end of a long road trip, or a season-long upper to keep players sharper and more alert for games, the idea in taking them was always to perform better than you would have without them. So if we're talking intent, amphetamines and the substances grouped under the broad heading of steroids are the same. Players want an edge, so they take 'em. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, and Mike Schmidt took amphetamines during their playing days. I have yet to read an argument by anyone, anywhere, advocating for kicking those four legends out of the Hall.
So we're OK with players taking substances to enhance their performance, and crossing gray areas when it comes to making themselves better. That leaves the argument that steroids are qualitatively different than other performance-enhancing substances, and that it's the specific choice of substance that should determine whether or not a player warrants induction. OK then — show us. Show us exactly how much better Barry Bonds was using performance-enhancing drugs than he would have been if he'd relied only on his otherworldly talent, hellacious workout routines, and strict health habits. I'd say do the same for Roger Clemens, except Clemens never tested positive for anything and has vehemently denied using PEDs. (We have no evidence that Mike Piazza used them other than Murray Chass's crusade to rid the world of bacne, or that Jeff Bagwell used other than that the guy lifted a lot, hit a lot of home runs in the '90s, and was bros with Ken Caminiti.)
Of course, no one can show us. Not doctors speaking in general terms about the effects of steroids without having any particular insight into these particular individuals, and certainly not baseball writers.