Taylor Hooton Foundation > Hoot’s Corner > General > UK: Illegal steroid users offered needle exchange by pharmacy
December 10, 2014
UK: Illegal steroid users offered needle exchange by pharmacy
'SWEPT UNDER THE CARPET':   Pharmacist Anthony Onuchukwu at Wilberforce Pharmacy in Storey Street, Hull. The chemist is set to launch a scheme to provide clean needles for steroid users.  Picture: Peter Harbour
‘SWEPT UNDER THE CARPET’: Pharmacist Anthony Onuchukwu at Wilberforce Pharmacy in Storey Street, Hull. The chemist is set to launch a scheme to provide clean needles for steroid users.
A PHARMACY is set to offer a needle exchange to steroid users injecting the drug to build up their muscles. Wilberforce Pharmacy is launching the scheme in the new year to tackle increasing numbers of people injecting anabolic steroids in the city.
Pharmacist Anthony Onuchukwu said he often deals with steroid users who come into the chemist in Story Street, Hull city centre, looking for needles. He said they are reluctant to use established needle-exchange centres set up for heroin addicts in the city.
Mr Onuchukwu said: “Steroid use is partly to do with self-confidence and a young man who feels too slim and wants to develop muscles has already made up his mind to do it.
“But if they decide to do it, we need to make sure they are doing it right to keep them safe.”
Anabolic steroids are prescription-only medicines, often taken illegally to increase muscle mass and improve athletic performance.
 The manufactured drugs mimic the effects of testosterone, but can cause serious side effects, including high blood pressure, strokes, blood clots or heart attacks. They can also lead to a range of physical conditions, including infertility, baldness and breast development.
Mr Onuchukwu said a young man recently came in with his mother to ask for advice about steroids. He said: “I was trying to convince the young man not to do it, but he had already made his mind up. I told him about the side-effects and the problems he could experience as he got older.
 “He left the shop with his mother, still intent on doing it, but he had a leaflet with him outlining all the risks.”
The pharmacist said people addicted to steroids needed to be protected from the risks of hepatitis or other serious conditions linked to sharing or using dirty needles in the same way as people abusing heroin are through needle exchanges.
 “This is a problem that is being swept under the carpet because the Government isn’t interested in it in the same way as the opioid problem, as it’s not linked to crime in the same way,” he said.
“While opioid users are given needle exchanges, when it comes to steroid users, they are left to their own devices.
 “When I’ve directed people on steroids to needle exchanges in the past, they are reluctant to go because they don’t want to be associated with heroin users, but it is putting their lives at risk.
“While people are buying their needles online, there is a risk of them using a dirty needle or sharing one if they have to wait and this will stop that.”
 The chemist is planning to start selling needle-exchange kits to steroid addicts from early next year. Costing under £5, the kits will include a needle, syringe, a swab and a leaflet on how to prevent serious muscle damage by injecting in more dangerous sites. The leaflet will also outline the health risks and the symptoms of steroid addiction.
Read more: http://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/Illegal-steroid-using-muscle-seekers-offered/story-25446784-detail/story.html#ixzz3LX6evdMv