Teens Hooked on Steroids

Youths in the NSW Hunter region are increasingly taking huge cocktails of steroids, human growth hormones and over-the-counter energy supplements in a bid to carve out the perfect body.

The black market trade in performance- and image-enhancing drugs  has become part of the region’s high school drug culture with teenagers as young as 15 admitting to ordering products online.

One teenager said he used a website that marketed itself as Australian, was run from Thailand where steroids are readily available, and goods were shipped through Europe to avoid suspicion.

Users said the Hunter’s gym trade was also flourishing like never before with a ready supply of anabolic steroids available to people in the know.

Others are opting to traverse the minefield of over-the-counter energy supplements to increase muscle.

A Newcastle Herald investigation has found gym owners, psychologists and users reporting a spike in the use of anabolic steroids, human growth hormones and other agents in the past year.

More than $80 million was spent by Australians last year on sports foods, an increase of 27 per cent compared to 2011.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration  has issued safety alerts and recalls for numerous imported supplements over the past three years after tests revealed they contained prescription medications, banned drugs and undeclared substances.

The Herald can reveal  at least two Hunter supplement stores were selling a banned fat-burning product as recently as last week.

Toby* has been using a combination of supplements, protein shakes and anabolic steroids for 18 months and says he knows dozens of people who use steroids, including high school students.

The 19-year-old buys drugs from a ‘‘friend at the gym which works out more expensive’’, because ‘‘mum has a tendency to be snoopy with the mail’’.

He claims to have suffered no side effects from injecting the drugs besides a slight increase in acne on his shoulders and arms.

‘‘It’s like we’ve all gone back to the glamour times of the 1980s, when everyone looked up to Arnie’s [Arnold Schwarzenegger] bulging muscles,’’ he said.

‘‘Most of the guys I hang around with are really big into the gym and when you use, the results are just so much better.

‘‘It’s really hard to say no when you see the results.

‘‘There are kids that are 15 and 16 who talk all the time about the great internet deals they find, they use their part-time job money. A few of them are bigger than me.’’

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/1447641/teens-hooked-on-steroids/?cs=2452

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