Scotland: Soldiers' steroid abuse scandal uncovered as bodybuilding cult Op Massive leads to troops failing drug tests
SOLDIERS are said to be taking muscle-building supplements and combining the sometimes illegal drinks with gruelling workouts.
SUPER-FIT Scottish soldiers have been caught taking deadly steroids as they are gripped by a bodybuilding cult nicknamed Op Massive.
They combine obsessive exercising with taking muscle-building supplements – some of them illegal.
It has hooked troops in the Royal Regiment of Scotland
, leading to some failing random drug tests.
Across the Army, about 30 soldiers a year test positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Figures obtained under freedom of information revealed between four and 16 Scottish soldiers faced discharge for steroid abuse. Army chiefs refused to release exact figures for fear of identifying individuals.
In the last three years, troops from three RRS battalions – The Royal Scots Borderers, The Royal Highland Fusiliers and Balaklava Company – have tested positive for steroids.
Steroids expert Dr Rob Dawson said: “There is an increase in the number of people in law enforcement, the military and jobs like that, who feel they have to bulk up to intimidate or get bigger in order to be able to help others.
“People just don’t know what they are taking.”
British Armed Forces Federation chairman Douglas Young said: “The cult of bodybuilding – or Op Massive – is quite widespread in the Army for various reasons, one reason being that soldiers want to make the best of themselves.
“Banned steroids and stimulants don’t make anyone a better soldier.
“They make them more prone to injury or even death under heavy physical stress and can lead to mental issues like increased anger and anxiety levels
Senior officers have aired fears about the rise of steroid use. Brigadier John Donnelly, director of personal services, said: “In some parts of the Army there appears to be an increased use of steroids.
“We put out warnings on a regular basis reminding people about the dangers because they have significant physical and psychological side-effects that are incompatible with military service.
“As drugs go, they are every bit as bad as recreational drugs. But you can only go so far. We recruit risk-takers. That is what being a soldier is about.”
It is feared the bodybuilding trend may have cost lives. Dyfed Powys Police looked into the Army’s bodybuilding culture as part of an inquiry into the deaths of three reservists during an SAS selection test.