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Steroid abuse: Simon Harris wants gym owners to help combat problem

Steroid addiction is on the rise in Ireland.

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Image: Shutterstock/KorArkaR

HEALTH MINISTER SIMON Harris has said that he wants gym owners across Ireland to help battle the scourge of steroid use.

Over 72,000 units of the bodybuilding drug have been seized this year alone – with many of the orders being made through online drug portals.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) said that there has been a large increase in the number of seizures as it – along with gardaí and Revenue – conducts more intelligence-led operations. The HPRA said collaboration between State bodies has meant an increase in the number of medicines recovered.

Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, Harris said that there is a “job of work for our gyms to do” to promote healthy living amongst its clientele.

Addressing the increasing number of steroid seizures, Harris said: “It is a cause of concern that people are going online to procure steroid medication. You are risking your own health doing this.

There’s an irony there when you’re trying to get fit and health and then you’re putting something in your body that you don’t know what it is.

Asked specifically if he thinks gyms should do more to address the culture of steroid use, Harris added: “We’ve seen a significant number of steroids being seized, many of which [are] likely linked with gym goers so I think that would be useful.”

The trend of widespread steroid use began in Ireland around five years ago, according to Mark Kennedy of Merchant’s Quay Ireland (MQI).

The outreach centre sees around 350 people a year looking for new needles for steroid use – and this figure is increasing by 10% each year.

Criminality

As reported by TheJournal.ie earlier this year, former members of a Dublin crime gang are now dealing steroids in city centre gyms.

In one case gardaí are investigating, it is understood a premises was turned into a gym at the behest of the gang so they could start selling the steroids.

“We see people using steroids all the time. A lot visit more than once a to pick up syringes for friends or social circles or networks,” continued Kennedy.

Your safest bet would be not to use these products. If you’re looking to build muscle, the number one option is to focus on training and diet. That’s what the experts in the area are saying.

The steroids that many Irish people are injecting can often be contaminated, according to Kennedy. Others share needles which can lead to contraction of viruses like HIV.

“Users don’t know the quality of the steroids they’re receiving. Our advice would be not to use them. I’ve seen people can become dependent. It can be expensive also. It can cost people €200 a month,” Kennedy added.

Gardaí, as well as customs officers, are aware of the illegal trade of steroids in the capital and authorities on both sides of the border have been told of specific routes through which the drugs are being transported.

Gardaí believe about a dozen gyms in the city centre and northside have been used as selling points.

Read: Viagra, steroids and antibiotics among €850,000 worth of medicines seized this year >

Read: Gardaí investigating sudden death of a man in Cork >

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