Finally a sane writeup on usage...

  1. Finally a sane writeup on usage...

    The truth on the juice
    The typical steroid user might not be who you think

    Jill Barker
    Canwest News Service

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    While high-level sports are back in the doping scandal spotlight just as the Olympics get underway, the leading users of anabolic steroids are quietly going about their business. Contrary to popular belief, athletes are not the most prevalent users of this muscle-building agent. According to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, the office, not the playing field, might be a better place to spot steroid users.

    "The typical user was a Caucasian, highly educated, gainfully employed professional approximately 30 years of age, who was earning an above-average income," the authors state in their article published in October, 2007.

    The U. S. National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that as many as three million Americans use steroids for non-medical purposes -- a figure that far exceeds the number of elite athletes in both professional and amateur ranks. So, while the World Anti-Doping Agency concentrates its efforts and millions of dollars (a single urine test can cost upwards of $400) trying to catch the relatively small number of elite athletes who use banned substances to enhance performance, the majority of steroid users go undetected.

    The authors of the study acquired their data by polling male users found though websites dedicated to bodybuilding and the sale of dietary supplements. More than 80% of the almost 2,000 people who answered the authors' questionnaire stated that their motivation to use steroids came from a desire to look good, not to stand on an Olympic podium. In-creased muscle mass, greater strength and improved appearance were the primary motivators.

    Where does the average 30-year-old white guy find out about steroids?

    "Most are getting their information from the internet," said Jay Cohen, a doctoral student and one of the study's authors.

    Unlike athletes forced to listen and abide by the rules of their sport, this group of users seems to have little regard for WADA's message regarding the ethical implications of steroid use.

    "The vast bulk of [anabolic steroid] users are not athletes and, hence, are not likely to view themselves as cheaters, but rather as individuals using directed drug technology as one part of a strategy for physical self-improvement," the authors say in the conclusion of their article.

    When it comes to health concerns, WADA's pitch also falls on deaf ears. For these thirtysomethings, realizing their aesthetic goals is more important than the risk to their health, especially since those risks may not be as serious as the medical community suggests.

    "A lot of people take steroids and we have not clearly seen any corresponding rise of incidence in cancer or other illnesses among them," said Francois Peronnet, emeritus professor in the department of kinesiology at the Universite de Montreal.

    Peronnet says that if the number of users is as high as suggested, medical professionals should have spotted a pattern of early death or chronic illnesses linked to the use of steroids.

    While short-term side effects like shrinking testicles, premature baldness, acne and liver toxicity have been noted, no prevailing patterns of death or illness has been found among male athletes, bodybuilders or any other group of male steroid users. Once the use of steroids stops, most of the side effects seem to disappear.

    The same cannot be said of women and adolescents, however. While the scientific data is scant, anecdotal evidence suggests that long-term side effects from steroid use can harm growth and reproductive systems.

    Peronnet says very few good studies have chronicled the longevity of athletes, which if documented, could provide valuable information. And while there is some data suggesting that cyclists die early, he points out that they are known for trying a variety of performance enhancing substances including erythropoietin (EPO) and corticosteroids that have been linked to early death and a depressed immune system.

    In fact, that's where the subject of steroids and performance enhancing drugs gets a bit sticky. Users often combine banned substances, and in dosages far greater than studied in any lab. So what science there is, isn't necessarily providing information particular to the designer drugs of choice or the way in which they are typically used.

    That being said, Cohen notes that the average steroid user researches how to best administer the drugs for maximum results with the least amount of risk. They even go to the length of injecting the drug, which decreases liver toxicity when compared with taking steroids orally.

    There is some irony here, because the 30-year-old gym rat who chooses to use steroids clearly cares about his health. Those who participated in the study claimed to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly, something many people can't seem to manage.

    Both Peronnet and Cohen are quick to point out that they don't support the use of steroids among any group of users. But hoping to curb use by preaching the ethical or medical concerns of steroid use has proved ineffective in a population that doesn't worry about losing a gold medal, being banned from competition or the health risks outlined by the medical community.

    "Effective policy, prevention or intervention should address the target population and their reasons for use while utilizing their desire for responsible use and education," the team of authors said.
    National Post 2008

    Now, don't get me wrong here. There are still some points in that article that need some clarification. And the author is definitely not pro-steroid but at least she had the balls to print the facts on the "risks" of steroid use and not just the media hype surrounding the so called "dangers".....oh no, not acne!!!

  2. There is some irony here, because the 30-year-old gym rat who chooses to use steroids clearly cares about his health. Those who participated in the study claimed to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly, something many people can't seem to manage.

    ...good find!!!

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