February 18, 2013
Steroid import siezures triple in Austrialia
THE number of steroids and hormones seized at Australia’s borders is at a record high – more than tripling in the past two years, new figures show. Ten days after the Australian Crime Commission report into drugs in sport was released, a Customs and Border Protection report shows the number of detections of steroids continues to grow. The ACC report refers to a 255 per cent increase in hormone and steroid seizures between 2010 and 2011, but the Customs report for 2012 reveals detections continue to skyrocket and are at a record high. According to the Customs report, most black market drugs found by Customs officers were in shipping containers and in the international mail system. The updated seizure figures follow criticism of the ACC report by sports bosses and players who argue it has stirred controversy and tarnished their reputations unfairly.
ÂCustoms detected 2696 parcels of the drugs in 2010 and this tripled to 8721 in 2012. According to the Customs annual report, steroids and hormones are sometimes smuggled into the country by air passengers and crew, but this made up less than 5 per cent of seizures last year. The report states that steroids and hormones are the most commonly detected of all illegal drugs at our borders, followed by cannabis, amphetamines and other precursors. The increased detection rate is due to both a spike in demand for such drugs among young men as well as improved scrutiny and search methods by authorities. Those caught importing steroids are charged by the aviation branch of the Australian Federal Police. A two-year jail term and a $2200 fine is the maximum penalty for possession of anabolic steroids without a prescription. Steroids are increasingly popular because they are a quick-fix way to create a muscular physique and can boost sex drive, confidence, energy and motivation. They allow athletes to recover from muscle injuries quickly and to boost their body mass and strength, without spending hours pumping iron and adhering to a strict diet. Steroids – which are a synthetic version of the naturally occurring male hormone testosterone – are illegal if they are used without a doctor’s prescription. They can cause aggression, known as “roid rage”, and an increased risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, while injections of naturally occurring hormones have been linked to some forms of cancer. One of the hormones which is commonly imported is DHEA, a naturally occurring hormone produced in the adrenal glands, testes and brain. Drugs considered more serious, such as cocaine, are detected less frequently by Customs staff.