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Dublin: 4 °C Friday 15 November, 2019
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More and more men are receiving treatment for steroid abuse

They’re all men and many of them are more aggressive because of it.

Image: Steroids via Shutterstock

THE NUMBER OF people receiving treatment for steroid abuse has risen dramatically, a new report shows.

The study from drug treatment service Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) says that users of the drugs are at risk from physical, psychological and behavioural impacts.

The report highlights what the service calls the “relatively new phenomenon” of users of performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) presenting at Irish drug treatment services.

The focus of the report is on exploring this emerging trend and examining ways in which to address the associated risk.

The report worked with a sample of 89 individuals who were using PIEDs and were attending Merchants Quay Ireland’s Dublin-based needle exchange programme.

The report revealed that:

  • The all-male sample ranged in age from 18 to 40, with an average age of 24
  • 50% had never tested for HIV or Hepatitis C, but of those who had tested, 10% were Hep C positive
  • The level of other drug use was high with use in the past month showing 62% used alcohol, 40% used cannabis, 23% used benzodiazepines and 17% used cocaine
  • Users reported a range of negative side effects including increased aggression (38.2%), sudden mood changes (31.5%), anxiety (19.1%), and depression (18%)
  • The progression of PIED use most commonly reported was “starting using oral steroids and then progressed to injecting steroids” (38%)

Speaking At the launch, Tony Geoghegan, Director of MQI said that the phenomenon needed to be tackled.

“The use of PIEDs is associated with a wide range of adverse impacts, which may manifest in physical, psychological and behavioural problems. The varied needs of this group require integrative approaches, with emphasis on developing inter-agency links and establishing care pathways between general health services, harm reduction services, and mental health services.”

Read: Doctor’s corner: The biggest problem with a zero tolerance approach to drug use

Read: What drugs are in your life? Global Drugs Survey 2015 wants to know

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