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Are Anabolic Steroids Legal In The UK in ? (Yes and No)
Up to 1 million people in the UK are taking anabolic steroids and other image- and performance-enhancing drugs IPEDs to change the way they look, public health experts and doctors have said. This ranges from teenagers seeking the perfect physique to elderly men hoping to hang on to youthful looks. Research suggests that appearance rather than sporting performance is the reason for a majority of those now using anabolic steroids and other IPEDs.
Anabolic steroids are class C substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act The most common age to begin is between 20 and 24, but users range from 13 to mids. The vast majority are male and in work or fulltime studies. More than half say they want to change their body shape for image or cosmetic reasons. Some take them to increase chances in bodybuilding competitions, as hormone replacement therapy, to retain youthfulness or increase confidence.
Testicular atrophy, change in sex drive, sleep difficulties, aggression, mood swings, acne, injection site pain, depression, hair loss. Long-term effects may include disease and dysfunction of the liver and both acute and chronic cardiovascular pathologies. Users are not believed to become physically dependent, but may become hooked on the way the drugs make them look and feel. Many also face complications by mixing steroids with alcohol and drugs such as cocaine. The rise of social media has made it easier to swap both information and products.
Josie Smith, the head of the substance misuse programme at Public Health Wales , said there had been extraordinary changes in both the profile of people using IPEDs and the availability of the substances. In Wales, which has long been seen as a hotspot for steroid use, boys as young as 13 were known to be using IPEDs. Frank Atherton, the chief medical officer for Wales, said steroid use was a significant issue. 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.
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. Who are the users? Why do people take IPEDs? What the possible complications? Do users take other drugs and drink alcohol?
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Wigan forward Rhys Pugsley handed two-year ban for steroid use.