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Spiralling Anabolic Steroid Use Leaves UK Facing Health Timebomb, Experts Warn
- May 11, 2018 -

Spiralling Anabolic Steroid Use Leaves UK Facing Health Timebomb, Experts Warn

       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.”

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.

Steroid users are also increasingly young, with one adviser seeing a 15-year-old who had injected the drug into his chest to try to bulk up, and anecdotal reports of boys as young as 13 using it.

Teenagers and young men feel increasingly pressured to match lean and muscular physiques portrayed in the media, experts say, making steroid use, once limited to sportspeople or obsessive bodybuilders, a mainstream choice. Many steroid injectors also use other substances, such as human growth hormone, insulin and other drugs to burn fat.