Rampant steroid abuse in many of Gloucestershire’s gyms is creating a new generation of artificially enhanced “monsters”, it has been claimed.
Steroids are just a quick phone call away from most county gyms, according to one personal trainer in Gloucester.
In just one needle exchange centre, more than 50 syringe packs are handed out. Most are for steroids.
A personal trainer who has worked in the county said “steroids are everywhere”.
“I can pick up the phone and have a delivery within 10 minutes,” he said.
“Twenty years ago it was an underground industry and it was obvious to recognise those who were taking them.
“Users had all the signs – bad skin, aggression and they looked as though they had been blown up by a foot pump. Now, a chemistry graduate can knock up a batch of steroids for his own personal use or to sell. It is everywhere.
“Steroids are dangerous. You are putting something in to your body that has been created in a laboratory. They speed up regeneration and that can actually make it harder to pack on muscle.
“Needle exchanges are a good idea, but the long term effect of taking steroids is not yet fully understood. It will have long-term implications for this generation of young people who want to look a certain way.”
Conservative estimates from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence suggest 59,000 people aged 16-59 are using steroids in England and Wales.
It suggests outreach programmes should be set up in gyms to try to warn users of the dangers.
Speaking at a health and sport seminar at the University of Gloucestershire, GB Olympic rowing doctor Ann Redgrave said she fears the trend could have huge future health implications.
“In terms of open access to steroids, the internet is unbelievable,” she said. “If you have young people in gyms and they see steroids being used, it has a dangerous effect. The question now is how you can get between them and the source to stop them taking these drugs. Steroids today are very different to the steroids of 20 years ago. Drugs now are even more potent that they were then.”
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