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Anabolic steroids used for enhancement can be especially dangerous when used without supervision. Shutterstock

Spike in the importation of illegal anabolic steroids causes health fears

The seizure of such drugs almost tripled last year.

THERE WAS A significant decrease in the amount of illegal prescription drugs seized last year, but the importation of illegal anabolic steroids appears to be on the rise.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) has totted up the amount of illegal medicines that were held by the authorities last year.

It found that a total of 673,906 doses of the various drugs were seized last year, down significantly from the 1.1 million that were detained in 2015.

The most common illegal products seized last year were sedatives but the overall number of sedatives seized was down significantly.

Despite accounting for 40% of all the illegal medicines seized, the dosage units of sedatives taken by authorities last year fell by two-thirds from 726,164 to 271,545.

Anabolic steroids were the next most popular illegal drugs seized after their number increased significantly from 38,049 units to 109,006.

Illegal erectile dysfunction medication was the next most common drug seized by the HPRA.

The authority says the overall decrease in products seized can be partly attributed to their ongoing detection efforts that are carried out in conjunction with An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Commissioners.

Despite that, the HPRA’s director of compliance John Lynch says that it is worrying that people are still sourcing prescription drugs from illegal sources.

“It is particularly noteworthy that anabolic steroids accounted for 16% of products detained, a significant increase compared to 2015,” Lynch said.

The misuse of anabolic steroids has been linked to a range of significant side effects including blood clots, headaches, depression, irritability and stomach pain. People are sourcing these products for purposes of performance enhancement and are either unaware of or ignoring the significant dangers posed by these prescription medicines in the absence of medical supervision.

In total there were six cases where people were formally prosecuted for the provision of illegal medicines last year and there were also 13 formal cautions handed out.

Read: Steroids, growth hormones and erectile dysfunction pills worth €2 million seized in Donegal >

Read: Steroids: ‘I thought that the only way I could beat my addiction was to end my life’ >

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