Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids mimic the effects of naturally occurring hormones. First synthesised in the 1930s, anabolic steroids are now used therapeutically in the treatment of wasting conditions, for example when treating bedridden patients whilst recovering, and for those with cancer and AIDS. They are also used to stimulate bone growth and appetite.

Testosterone is a naturally occurring anabolic steroid but now there are many chemicals of a similar structure manufactured. Nandrolone (19-nortestosterone) was the first synthesised anabolic steroid and has been the most commonly used. Nandrolone has a less potent effect in androgenic tissue than testosterone, thus giving more of the wanted effects (anabolic, muscle building) rather than the unwanted (androgenic, increased male characteristics) side effects.

Anabolic steroids include clenbuterol, nandrolone, testosterone, trenbolone, stanozolo and oxymetholone. Taken regularly, they act as body builders by increasing muscle mass. These drugs are addictive, requiring an increase in dose over time to give the same effect and have withdrawal effects if suddenly stopped.

Eating

Eating

Tablets are eaten daily as the effects are much shorter lasting than injecting.

Injecting

Injecting

The liquid form of the drug in injected and the effects last longer than tablets. Therefore it is normally injected two or three times a week.

Physical effects in men:

  • Increases muscle mass
  • Reduced sperm count
  • Infertility
  • Shrinking of testicles
  • Baldness
  • Breast development
  • Increased risk of developing prostate cancer
  • Splayed teeth
  • Overgrowth of forehead

Physical effects in women:

  • Growth of facial and body hair
  • Loss of breasts
  • Swelling of the genital area
  • Deepened voice
  • Increased sex drive
  • Problems with menstruation
  • Hair loss
  • Short tempered and violent
  • Increased risk of heart attack or stroke
  • Liver or kidney tumours
  • High blood pressure
  • Blood clots
  • Fluid retention
  • High cholesterol
  • Severe acne
  • Risk of blood borne virus infection from injecting
Paraphernalia for the use of anabolic steroids

Structure

Molecular structure of testosterone

Street Names

gym candy, roids, stackers, weight trainers, gear

Legal Status

Class C Substance

Possession of the drug can lead to up to two years in jail, an unlimited fine or both. Supplying the drug can lead to up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

For more information about drug classifications and the associated penalties visit the Home Office website.