TweetIllegal steroids more likely to be used by young men at your gym than pro athletes
EXCLUSIVE BY MEDICAL REPORTER SOPHIE SCOTT AND NATIONAL REPORTING TEAM'S REBECCA ARMITAGE
UPDATED ABOUT 2 HOURS AGO
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A selfie taken in a bathroom shows a man, with his head out of frame, flexing his muscles.
PHOTO Amateur weightlifter "Bjorn" says he was aware of the risks when he started taking steroids.
Twenty-three-year-old "Bjorn" from Brisbane started taking performance-enhancing steroids two years ago.
Young men pumping iron are more likely to use steroids than athletes
A lack of medical help fuels a reliance on 'bro-science'
Health risks include heart attacks and impaired fertility
But it was not a decision the gym-goer and university student took lightly.
"I probably spent 18 months to two years considering and learning about them before I started," he said.
Australian researchers say it is regular gym goers like "Bjorn", and not athletes, who are likely to be using performance- and image-enhancing drugs.
Anthropologist Mair Underwood from the University of Queensland said steroid use in young men was primarily driven by body image and had potentially serious health consequences.
"Long-term use of performance- and image-enhancing drugs can lead to side-effects including heart attacks and liver damage," she said.
Users of one powerful steroid called trenbolone reported nightmares, aggression and sexual difficulties.
"Bjorn" said it was extremely easy to buy the illegal steroids.
"You can get performance-enhancing drugs quicker than you can get a shipment of clothes from an online retailer," he said.
"It is unbelievably easy. One day at most.
"Anyone in law enforcement who says their actions are making it more difficult for people to get performance drugs is either wilfully ignorant or a fool."
As a science student, "Bjorn" said he was aware of the risks, including that his hormone production could shut down permanently.
"So when I decided to start taking them, I knew it was very possible I'd have to do this for the rest of my life," he said.
"You do have to ensure you go to a doctor and have blood tests done, have your heart monitored."
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'Bro science' fuelling young men to pump steroids
Many young bodybuilders said they had sought help from doctors about the harms of steroids, without success.
Matthew Dunn from Deakin University said gym-going steroid users wanted to access health services to learn how to minimise the risks of steroids.
Why do you think regular gym goers are more likely to use performance steroids? Join the discussion.
Doctor prepares to inject patient
PHOTO Many young men rely on so-called "bro science" to educate themselves on steroid use.
"But a lot of them do report a lot of stigma, they speak to the GP and the GP might send them away," Dr Dunn said.
"So they've just learnt to not trust medical professionals and that's not good."
Instead, the men relied on so-called "bro science", where the anecdotal reports of body builders were considered more reliable than reputable science.
"They're relying on other people whether they're online forums or in the gym, and the advice and the tips and the knowledge that they've developed over the years," Dr Dunn said.
"That's not to say that advice isn't good, or isn't correct as far as we know, but it's not medical advice.
"So we really want to ensure that if people are experiencing harm or want to reduce harm, then they can do so in a safe manner."
Dr Underwood said more help was needed to minimise the risk of harm of the drugs.
"We support heroin users to maintain their health and we're happy to give blood tests to people who use other illegal drugs," she said.
"I don't see why we can't have the same level of support and understanding for people that are using steroids."
Dr Underwood and Dr Dunn presented their research on the issue at the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs
Disclaimer: Steroid use is illegal in a vast number of countries around the world. This is not without reason. Steroids should only be used when prescribed by your doctor and under close supervision. Steroid use is not to be taken lightly and we do not in any way endorse or approve of illegal drug use. The information is provided on the same basis as all the other information on this site, as informational/entertainment value.
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TweetOn a whole, the vast majority of MFD's know jack or less about juice. And if they weren't so ignorantly stigmatized and "illegal", maybe some would take the time to educate themselves. Think that there's no money to be made at this point in time might be a factor? Absolutely. Arrogance too. Now as far as pro athletes go, these two authors are downright naive to say the least. Pro athletes aren't acquiring products from the local peddler nor are they pinning in the gym locker room.