Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Anabolic Steroids

Via Drug World News I’ve seen a paper on steroids that I thought I’d bring to your attention.

People may remember that over the last few years there have been a number of stories expressing concern about young men’s use of steriods.

The paper, which is by Jim McVeigh & Michael Evans-Brown from the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, isn’t specifically about those concerns but it does point out:

Adolescence is a complex time of physical, emotional and psychological development which is mediated, in part, by the endogenous equivalents of commonly used performance- and image-enhancing drugs such as testosterone, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1. The use of supraphysiological doses of these drugs during this time in development could, potentially, disrupt the normal pattern of growth and behavioural maturation.

They also argue that understanding why someone may be using (or contemplating using) steroids may be important in determining the intervention.  They say:

A seventeen-year-old male who wishes to look good on the beach and is contemplating using anabolic steroids may be receptive to discussions relating to improved training and nutrition in order to attain his goals. However, for the competitive bodybuilder with ten years experience of anabolic steroid use, safer injecting advice and health monitoring may well be more appropriate and acceptable.

Download the paper here.

Filed under: Steroids


A piece in the The Education Guardian reports on a speech by Steve Sinnot, General Secretary of the NUT, which raises concerns about the abuse of steroids:

Mr Sinnott also warned that “size zero” models on television were leading some young girls to aspire to an impossible body image.

“In order to conform to what is perceived as the norm or that which is beautiful, young people can resort to some terrifying measures,” he said.

“In my home area of Merseyside some young boys are turning to the use of anabolic steroids – a drug previously to be found only among body builders – as an instant fix for a designer body.

“The NHS on Merseyside has said that boys as young as 14 are using steroids to grow faster and bigger.”

The same story – word for word – in The Metro.

Further reading:

Filed under: Drug Education Forum Members, Steroids,

When bigger isn’t better

The Guardian has a follow up piece on steroids, which includes an interview with Colin Hunt from Positive Futures:

“I would like to see stricter measures in gyms, more education in schools, an outright ban of the selling of steroids over the internet and a national awareness campaign that highlights the risks and the deadly side effects of performance enhancing drugs,” Hunt says.

It appears his wishes may be granted, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs met recently to discuss the issue and agreed to consider the legal status of a list of 26 steroids and other substances that are currently not banned in Britain.

Filed under: Steroids

Boys of 12 are abusing steroids

The BBC, Independent and Guardian all carry the story about the ACMD’s concern about the use of anabolic steroids by boys.

The BBC:

Boys as young as 12 and 13 are using anabolic steroids to beef up their bodies in a bid to “get girls”, government advisers have warned.

Latest figures show that 200,000 people in Britain have tried bodybuilding anabolic steroids – including an increasing number of teenage boys.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs called for a government awareness campaign on the health hazards.

The Independent:

Lord Adebowale, a member of the advisory council, told a meeting yesterday: “I am concerned by the lack of information about the risks they face in using them. This stuff isn’t being used just by people who want to be athletes, but by people who want to be in boy bands and get girls.”

Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, the council’s chairman, said steroids could make the testicles wither and cause acne, sterility and a form of breast enlargement. He added: “Even more worryingly, there is emerging evidence that anabolic steroids cause aggression. I’m really very worried about that.”

 The Guardian puts it this way:

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is to write to the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, voicing grave concerns about the growing abuse of anabolic steroids which are now being used by “tens of thousands” of bodybuilders and teenagers.

It had been estimated that there were tens of thousands of people using steroids to improve the results of training regimes to make themselves look more muscular, said Professor David Nutt, chairman of the council’s technical committee. Steroid users, rather than heroin injectors, were now the main clients of needle exchanges, the committee heard.

Looking back at previous stories about steroids I see that the Daily Mail, when they had the story back in May, were quoted 100,000 steroid users.

In September last year DrugScope produced their annual street price survey which raised the issue of steroid use amongst older teenagers as a concern.

Filed under: ACMD, Steroids, ,

Why steroids are the new teen drug

The Daily Mail had a lengthy article on young people’s use of steroids:

They’ve long been used by fanatical body-builders, but today thousands of ordinary teenage boys are abusing steroids – risking brain damage, heart disease and infertility. So how do you spot the danger signs?

The paper quotes Martin Barnes, the Chief Executive of DrugScope, who says there may be 100,000 people using anabolic steroids. Jim McVeigh, from the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, suggests there may be as many people using steroids as are using heroin.

What is less clear from the article is how many young people may be using the drugs.

DrugScope’s research on young people’s use of steroids came out a little while ago and we covered it here.

Filed under: Steroids,

Street Price Survey – DrugScope

Drugscope’s survey on drug prices receives widespread attention. You can see their press release here, download the Druglink article here, an additional article on speedballs here, and the survey findings here.

Here’s the press coverage that I’ve seen:

The Guardian focuses on the use of steroids:

The survey of the drugs illegally available in the UK and their prices, published in the charity’s Druglink magazine, found a big rise in the numbers of people aged 16 to 25 buying an array of steroids, which they inject to look good. Prices range from £15.25 for 10 1ml vials of testosterone suprinate to £55 for 20 2ml vials of Sustanon.<p>The steroid craze has come out of the gym culture. Bodybuilders, athletes and some gay clubbers have used anabolic steroids for some time. But the new users range from professionals and students to building site workers.

The Independent looks at the use of heroin and cocaine:

the most alarming development highlighted by the study for the drug charity’s Druglink magazine was the rise in “speedballing” or ” snowballing” which specialists fear will result in more overdoses, infections, and crime…A second study of 100 drug addicts revealed that speedballing was the main method of drug-taking for 80 per cent of those interviewed, compared with 25 per cent a decade ago.

The Times goes for the steroids angle:

TEENAGERS as young as 16 are turning to illegal anabolic steroids to transform themselves into their sporting heroes, according to a national drugs survey.

Researchers say that steroids have become a sought-after commodity on the drugs black market in 11 cities and towns: London, Blackpool, Birmingham, Middlesbrough, Nottingham, Torquay, Cardiff, Manchester, Portsmouth, Luton and Newcastle.

The BBC focuses on speedballing:

DrugScope looked at 20 UK locations and found many users were “speedballing” for a stimulant-sedative effect.

It warned the practice could lead to rising crime, saying, on average, speedballers have three times as many convictions as heroin-only users.

It found they spent an average £500 a week on drugs compared with £110 for heroin users.

The Telegraph highlights the findings on steroid use:


Drug workers said they were increasingly seeing a wide cross-section of society, from young professionals to labourers to students aged between 16 and 25, using the drug to achieve the muscled, toned physique of their sporting heroes.

Although the dealing of the drug is illegal, possession is not. However the drug charity gave warning of very serious side effects, including reduced sperm count, kidney and liver problems, high blood pressure and increased aggression. The injection of the drug also increases the risks of blood-born diseases including HIV and hepatitis.


The Mirror carries a Reuters account of the report.

In terms of the drug education, there is clearly a role for teachers, youth workers and others who deliver health education in understanding the trends in drug taking and the risks that young people might encounter.

They need to use that knowledge to make sure that young people’s education is relevant and timely.

Filed under: illegal drugs, Steroids,

About this blog

This blog tries to pick up relevant media and research stories about drug education. It mainly focuses on information in England as this is the geographical remit for the Drug Education Forum. We welcome comments that are on topic.

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July 2021