THEY offer a quick fix for young men craving the muscle-bound body of a movie or sporting hero.
But as well as boosting muscle, anabolic steroids can wreak more sinister havoc with both mind and body.
They cause severe mood swings, depression and chronic physical illness – evenÂ DEATH.
And steroids have recently been linked to some brutal crimes that shocked the nation – including crazed gunman Raoul Moat’s murderous rampage.Tragedy … Moat shootings reported in Sun
Moat, 37, shot and seriously injured his ex-girlfriend, fatally blasted her new lover and shot and blinded a policeman in a two-day spree earlier this month in Northumbria.
The ex-doorman with a record of violent outbursts was a known steroid user and “roid rage” is believed to have helped fuel his attacks.
Yesterday The Sun also reported how steroid user Jonathan Vass had been held on suspicion of murdering his ex-girlfriend, nurse Jane Clough.
Ex-doorman Vass, 26, was last night still being quizzed over the murder of 26-year-old Jane, whose throat was cut as she walked to her car after a shift at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Sunday night.
It also emerged he had been charged with raping Jane nine times, although he was freed on conditional bail despite objections from police.
Anabolic steroids are a Class C drug, which users inject or take as tablets, but are illegal to own and use unless with a medical prescription.
They make the body over-produce testosterone, so increasing muscle size and strength in a matter of weeks.
For many young men they are seen as the only way to achieve the same body as their sporting or screen idols.
The 2009-10 British Crime Survey estimatesÂ 226,000Â people in the UK have used steroids. But experts warn these official figures are too low.
Dr Ken Checinski, consultant psychologist for drugs information charity FRANK, says: “I do a lot of work with needle-exchange services, run by Addaction, the UK’s biggest drug-treatment charity, and half of the needles now requested are steroid packs – which is a huge increase.
“It used to be mostly needles used for injection of drugs like heroin.
“Steroids definitely make people who are already prone to mood issues worse, and can make a placid person irritable, depressed and violent in extreme cases.
“Even when used for legitimate medical reasons they cause what is known as Mood Disorder, which can be depression or anger.”
Roy Jones, of drugs charity Turning Point, agrees that needle-exchange programmes in the UK are flooded with steroid users, often more than by heroin addicts.
He says: “We’re seeing more and more people come in with steroid use – from all walks of life, including doctors and lawyers.”
Worryingly, he adds: “Their average age used to be around 34 but now a lot of users are in their late teens or early twenties.
“We also have a young people’s service that goes into schools, and kids around the age of 12 are aware of these drugs. A colleague of mine came across a child of 12 who wanted to take steroids.”
Steroid expert Dr Jim McVeigh, at Liverpool John Moores University, adds: “We’re now seeing a much higher proportion of people turning to anabolic steroids as a quick fix. They take them too lightly. The number of users is definitely greater than stated in the official statistics.” Please read the rest of the article which can be found at: Â http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/3071634/The-dangers-to-mind-and-body-of-taking-steroids.htmlÂ