Warning as steroid use increases

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ONE of Wigan’s top health chiefs has warned about the dangers of taking anabolic steroids.

Glen Berry, Assistant Director of Health Development at Ashton, Wigan and Leigh PCT has spoken out over fears that a growing number of young men are running risks as they seek to get the perfect body.

He said: “We do know that it is a problem in Wigan with steroids, which by law are a Class C drug. They can be given by doctors on prescription for some medical conditions – and should not be used by people to enhance their bodies for sporting reasons, or just because people think they will look better with an enhanced body.

“Health problems for people using anabolic steroids can include high blood pressure, liver problems, increase in cholesterol and acne. Young men using anabolic steroids can also experience infertility, testicular shrinkage and a reduced sperm count.

“Women using these drugs can suffer from the growth of facial hair, deepening of the voice, male pattern baldness and menstrual abnormalities.”

A report by the Advisory Council on the misuse of drugs published in September last year revealed that in many other European countries, such as the Republic of Ireland, steroids are now banned. It also said that counterfeit steroids are widely available on the internet, rasing more concerns as they do not know what some of them are made of. The report recommended that they should be sold only on prescription.

Mr Berry is also worried about how difficult it is to get a definite figure on how many users there are.

He added: “The local drug services that they are aware that there is a lot of anabolic steroid misuse in Wigan – but many people will not be in touch with local services. This also means many people who are injecting steroids will not be aware of the real health dangers.”

Other members of the sports nutrition industry are also warning people about the dangers, saying their is no need to use anabolic steroids any more.

Bernard Long, who runs Longy’s Sports Nutrition store in Wigan, said: “We still get a lot of young men asking about steroids but I tell them all the same thing. Not only is it dangerous, but it’s not needed these days. Sports science and nutrition has come on so much that the natural products available today are not only better for you but more effective.”