Illegal drugs rife in body image epidemic
MEDICAL professionals in Warwick are warning of a growing and dangerous underground culture of steroid use among men searching for body perfection.
The users are increasingly turning to drugs such as steroids and peptides to achieve a desired look in a body image epidemic that has been compared to eating disorders in women.
Warwick Indoor Recreation and Aquatic Centre dry-Area co-ordinator Brendan Iles said there were always people aiming to be bigger and stronger than the person next to them.
"There's definitely a body image issue out there," he said.
"People don't look at the long-term effects of steroids
on their body."
Queensland Health Needle and Syringe Program statistics show use of anabolic steroids has risen from 2% in 2008 to 8% in 2012/13.
Doctor Ross Hetherington from the Condamine Medical Centre said it highlighted increasing body image problems among young men.
"The needle exchange program statistics show that there are a lot of people using steroids," he said.
"The internet makes it easy to find the drugs and develop a program for using them."
Mr Iles said the use of steroids was not only afftecting men but was also an issue for women.
"At WIRAC we have a zero-tolerance for the illegal use of drugs and steroids," he said.
"While it's not something we see here, I'm certain it's out there."
Mr Iles said there are lots of side effects from using steroids.
"Some of the effects include baldness, aggressiveness, heart problems, permanent liver damage and high cholesterol," he said.
"There's nothing good for your health."
In the past people were using veterinary products as steroids, according to Dr Hetherington.
"Those products did weird things to people's heads," he said.
"Nowadays we don't see steroid rages as much."
Dr Hetherington said he would encourge anyone abusing steroids or even contemplating steroids not to use the dangerous drugs.
"Why would you risk your health?" he said.
"Steroids mess with your fertility, your liver and your mind."
Warwick police Acting Senior Sergeant Shane Reid said steroids are treated like any other illegal substance.
"Steroids are an illegal drug that are present in the community," he said.
"Police are always mindful and people can expect to be prosecuted."