VIOLENT offenders must be given mandatory blood tests after assaults to establish whether steroids and illegal drug use are fuelling the state’s cowardly punch epidemic.
The state’s top criminologist, Dr Don Weatherburn, believes using offenders as guinea pigs would reveal whether rage from mixing performance-enhancing drugs with alcohol was leading to an increasing ferocity of random assaults which have left dozens hospitalised and dead.
Dr Weatherburn said links between anabolic steroids and violence and alcohol and violence were well established, but little was known about the effects of both combined.
Dr Weatherburn said he had a “suspicion” that both steroids and methamphetamines were contributing factors to the wave of punch assaults.
“If you’re full of steroids and aggro and drunk, you lose your self-control – it’s a toxic brew,” he said.
Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch backed Dr Weatherburn’s call for testing to provide a better understanding of what police were “up against” on Sydney’s streets.
Police believe bikie gangs are behind a growing black market of performance- and image-enhancing drugs, including steroids and hormones such as testosterone and human growth hormone.
Associate Professor Peter Miller from the psychology department of Deakin University has examined the significantly increased risk in violence when energy drinks are mixed with alcohol, and agreed research was needed into mixing them with performance-enhancing drugs because it was clear many young men now used them regularly.
“We’d love to look at the link between steroids and alcohol. I mean you walk around and you can see them – that guy is on steroids, that guy is, you can spot the people who are taking some form of performance-enhancing drugs because they are massive, like 18-year-olds who are massively over-developed,” Prof Miller said.
An American study which looked at anabolic use in violent behaviour in young men found “the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids is related to heightened levels of violent behaviours.”
St Vincent’s Hospital endocrinologist Professor Katherine Samaras said there was a “high level of criminality” linked to anabolic steroid use.
“One US study showed 20 to 30 per cent of all female homicides were committed by men using anabolic steroids,” Prof Samaras said.anabolic steroids > banned substances > drugs > roid rage > steroids > Taylor Hooton Foundation