One Million Brits Abusing Steroids and Other PEDs

By John Lavitt 02/19/15

Steroids have gained widespread acceptability in British society.

man injecting steroids.jpg

According to a recent study, a million people in Great Britain are illicitly abusing steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs on a regular basis.

Uncovered in a Sky News investigation, which combined statistics gathered from interviews with drug workers, current and former users, and academics, the study shows a major shift in steroid abuse and its acceptability in British society.

Once relegated to the sub-culture of muscle gyms, steroid and performance-enhancing drug abuse has moved into the mainstream. Given the vanity orientation of modern consumer society, young men from all walks of life are looking for a chemical shortcut to build their bodies into ideal form.

Societal pressure to look like their sports heroes and movie stars generates the desire to take anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing supplements. Despite the health risk, the drugs are not illegal in the United Kingdom. Selling steroids, however, is illegal, but they are easy to find online. What is so scary is that overseas pharmacies ship the class C drugs to customers regardless of age.

Side-by-side with the dramatic increase in the number of users, the long-term health risk of steroids worries the medical community. Beyond the organ damage and psychological issues caused by the drugs, the use of needles necessary for administration come with a high risk of infection from blood-borne diseases, like HIV and hepatitis C.

Drug workers in sites across England said that pressure to conform to a preferred body type was a factor in the rise of the popularity of steroids. Compared with the previous year, individual seizures of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs increased by 35% in 2014.

Peter Burkinshaw of Public Health England expressed the burgeoning concern. “More does need to be done, this is a growing issue, there are significant health harms associated with steroids," he said.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.