The Guardian Online stated that Britain is experiencing an epidemic of anabolic steroid use among image-obsessed young men, according to experts, who warn the country faces a health timebomb from a problem which is significantly underrepresented in official statistics.
The Crime Survey for England and Wales estimates that just under 60,000 people a year take the drugs, which mimic the effects of testosterone and boost muscle growth. But people who work with steroid users say the real figure could be many times greater, with the vast majority of users injecting the drugs and many doing so at gyms.
“It is a big underestimate,” said Professor Julien Baker, an expert in steroid use from the University of the West of Scotland. “There are needle exchanges in Cardiff and Glasgow which say they’ve seen a 600% increase for steroid users over 10 years. The real figure is definitely in the hundreds of thousands.”
With this comes a growing health toll, including an HIV infection rate among steroid users which has reached 1.5% – as high as that for injectors of drugs such as heroin – and growing rates of hepatitis B and C infection.
As well as the immediate effects of the steroids, which can include high blood pressure and aggression, those who work with users say people are taking increasingly high doses and for longer periods, putting them at risk of depression, heart problems and even long-term cognitive damage.
Warwickshire’s Drug and Alcohol treatment service – The Recovery Partnership; can offer advice and information about steroids and also sterile injecting equipment, advice about safer injecting and alternatives to injecting and blood borne virus testing and immunisation.
You can also access sterile injecting equipment and safely dispose of used equipment at local pharmacies wherever you see this sign:
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If you’re worried about your or somebody elses’ drug use there is a range of free and confidential treatment and recovery services for adults and young people available across Warwickshire: