Men taking steroids may also develop breast tissue as excessive levels of testosterone are converted into the female sex hormone oestrogen. For many years steroids were linked exclusively with sports like athletics or competitive bodybuilding. But a report published by the ACMD suggests the drug is increasingly being used by teenagers and men in their early twenties as a way to build muscle quickly. Professor Iversen said: "It is becoming a big phenomenon in the UK. There is no question that the number [using the drug] for sporting reasons is now a minority.
Steroids sit in a legal grey area between a medicine and a banned recreational drug. As a class C substance they are illegal to sell or deal unless they are prescribed by a doctor for medical reasons. But it is not against the law to buy the drug as long as it is for personal use. Professor Iversen said there are no plans to recommend a change in its legal status as doing so would risk criminalising thousands of young people unnecessarily.
Instead the ACMD is calling for a ban on the sale of steroids from the hundreds of overseas websites which deliberately target British users and ship packets of drugs directly to the UK. The Council is concerned that drugs bought over the internet can often be contaminated, out of date or delivered with the wrong dosage instructions.
An import ban would mean packets could be stopped at customs and prevented from entering the country. Professor Iversen said: "If you search online you will see endless offers. The ACMD is the lone voice against this tide of promotion on the internet. It may be difficult to enforce but it would act as a simple deterrent.
The ACMD is also recommending an increase in the support available for users trying to stop using the drug. It is not thought that anabolic steroids are physically addictive in the same way as harder recreational drugs like cocaine or heroin. But long-term use may lead to a psychological form of dependency that makes it extremely difficult to quit. Police forces are promising to clamp down on dealers. Public Health Wales estimates there are about , male users aged who visit needle exchanges across England, Wales and Scotland.
But it points out there are many more who do not use exchanges as well as those who take steroids orally. It also adds that the figure excludes women as well as very young and older IPED users. The national IPED info report is considered the most in-depth study of usage. Joe Kean , who is the lead recruiter of steroid users for the report, said he was confident there were about , users in the UK.
Kean, who is based in Yorkshire, said users he had worked with included an imam and that members of the emergency services and military were a subgroup that more research needed to be done on. Lads are taking steroids, drinking and taking a bit of coke and they go out feeling hard and manly. Steroids, alcohol and cocaine are the holy trinity for heart issues.
The Guardian has spoken to several doctors who work closely with users and said they believed there were a million users in the UK. We need to get out the information so people can make an informed choice. Some claim the risks are exaggerated. Tom Maw, a steroid user and trainer who advises on the use of IPEDs, said he believed the media sensationalised their impact and called for more information to be published about how to use them safely.
This article is more than 3 years old. Health warnings as image culture drives usage of performance-enhancing drugs. Many face complications by mixing steroids with alcohol and drugs such as cocaine. Steven Morris. Sun 21 Jan What are the most common IPEDs?
Methandrostenolone Dianabol or D-Bol is taken orally. Testosterone enanthate Test E is injected. Human growth hormones are commonly taken.
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