Substance abuse service offered to bodybuilders for their steroid use

Bodybuilders who inject steroids are being urged to engage with a Kirklees substance abuse service amid a rise in muscle boosting drug use

Bodybuilders who inject steroids are being urged to engage with a Kirklees substance abuse service amid a rise in muscle boosting drug use.

Lifeline Kirklees, has already extended its service to help steroid and “image enhancement” drug users, including the establishment of a needle exchange service at one north Kirklees gym.

And the group is now warning about the risks of serious damage after it found the majority of people using its needle services admitted they were on steroids.

Chris Lawton, of Lifeline Kirklees, said: “The use of these enhancement drugs is by no means a new phenomenon for us, but needle and syringe exchange programmes across the country are now reporting a significant increase in clients reporting the use of these drugs.

“The level of harm involved with enhancement drugs, particularly those which are new, is mostly unknown, however research is showing there may be links to damage to the heart, liver and bladder and an increase in the instances of HIV, Hepatitis B and C and other blood viruses due to the use of needles.

“The number of steroid users using the Lifeline Kirklees needle exchange has increased to over 60% of clients in 2014 and continues to rise.

“We have worked pro-actively with a range of private gyms and key members of the bodybuilding community across Kirklees to offer support as the number of recorded clients is expected to be the tip of the iceberg.”

Anabolic steroids are categorised as class C drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971).

Lifeline Kirklees’ work has been highlighted nationally by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as it made changes to guidelines covering the issue of steroid use within needle exchange schemes.

These changes included making sure users are made aware of the harmful effects and dangers of the drugs.

Tony Cooke, Kirklees Council Head of Health Improvement, Public Health, said: “There is significant research that suggests that those who use anabolic steroids are at a higher risk of HIV and viral hepatitis along with serious wider health implications for themselves, their partners and ultimately the wider community.

“We must maintain and strengthen public health interventions focused on reducing the risk behaviours associated by injecting users.”

North Kirklees gym owner, Mohammed Abid, said: “The service provided by Lifeline Kirklees has been a Godsend. It’s been a positive relationship and the gym users can’t get enough of the service provided, but it’s been a long time coming.

“I don’t know and understand why other gyms don’t adopt the same relationship we have with Lifeline.”

Kevin Taylor, a personal trainer and four times British Amateur Body building Champion, said: “It’s been fantastic working with Lifeline over the past year.

“I’ve had the chance to deal with people at gym floor level and hopefully helped individuals with their goals without resorting to drug abuse.

“The structure of the Lifeline’s approach adds credibility and purpose to this issue.”

Kelly Potts, Physical Activity Manager at Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL), said: “KAL and Lifeline Kirklees working in partnership is great because we are able to raise awareness of this growing issue within our centres. The lifeline team have delivered excellent staff training which has given our instructors more confidence to enable them to educate our members and try and tackle it rather than it possibly being an area that is brushed under the carpet”.

Lifeline Kirklees offer an open access service so people can call in and talk to someone.

Huddersfield Lifeline – 01484 353333. Dewsbury Lifeline – 01924 438383. Web:www.lifelinekirklees.org.uk

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