July 20, 2015
Scotland: Glasgow sees surge in steroid users. Street "product" mixed with olive oil and after shave!
STEROID users are gambling with their lives, according to experts who today called for a crackdown on the dangerous habit. The number of people signed up to the Glasgow’s Performance and Image Enhancing Drug Clinic has surged by more than 300 in the last year, with almost 3,000 people now registered with the service. In 2013/14, around 2500 people had registered at with the clinic for help managing their drug use. Although steroids were one of the main substances used by attendees, they were also be found to be injecting growth hormone, tanning agents and fat loss drugs in some cases. Along with severe mood swings and acne, there can be other serious side effects to using the substances. People can develop muscular abscesses, splayed teeth or an overgrowth of the forehead. Men who inject testosterone for a long period of time also lose the ability to produce it naturally, which could never return to normal. Women face developing a deep voice, losing their hair and their breasts. Professor Julien Baker, of UWS, has been researching steroid use for 20 years and has warned that users are gambling with their lives when they take the substances, particularly those ordered online. After analysing some of the products commonly seen on the internet, Professor Baker found a large number to be counterfeit including ones which contained a mix of olive oil and aftershave. He said: “It’s the same consistency so when you inject a steroid you get a sting at the end sometimes, that was coming from the aftershave. It’s a real con. It had perfect packaging. “You don’t know what you’re going to get and you don’t know how safe it is.” The academic has also called for more action to be taken to counter the problem, including educating people about the dangers of the drugs and teaching people who are using them how to do it safely. He said: “We need to make sure there are safety recommendations, we need to educate people how to inject properly and teach people how to dispose of needles properly. “I don’t think it’s going to go away as it’s linked in to our society quite powerfully.” John Campbell, manager of Glasgow’s needle exchanges, works with many of the people who are registered with Glasgow’s performance enhancing drugs clinic. He said young men under the age of 30 are the most common group of people who attend, as well as bodybuilders and professional strongmen. Women who need support for their use of injectable tanning agents and growth hormone also attend, although female attendees are much less common. Mr Campbell warned users about the dangers of the drugs and said often with steroids the substances advertised are not those contained within the viles people buy. He said: “The problem is underground labs producing medicinal products… the quality control just isn’t there. “It is now an offence to import steroids through the mail system. “They are legal to posses and use as an individual but illegal to sell, so since they tightened up the law people tend to buy them from other people at the gym or in a way you’d expect to buy street drugs.” Glasgow’s performance enhancing drugs clinic is a non-judgemental service, and works closely with clients to provide them with the best care they can to manage their drug use.