Fianna Fáil: Rise of illegal anabolic steroid use "worrying"

It follows several significant seizures in Donegal last week

Fianna Fáil: Rise of illegal anabolic steroid use "worrying"

Image: Andreas Gebert/DPA/PA Images

A Fianna Fáil spokesperson has warned of Health minister Simon Harris of the upsurge in seizures of anabolic steroids - up 187% increase on last year.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for National Drugs Strategy Jack Chambers TD has warned that the Minister highlighted increased use among young men in particular.

Commenting on the issue Deputy Chambers said that although the problem has grown in recent year, it's not a new concern.

“Those that are sourcing these products are either unaware of or ignoring the significant dangers posed by abusing these substances," he said. "The wide range of side-effects can manifest in physical, psychological and behavioural problems. The misuse of anabolic steroids has been linked to a range of significant side effects including blood clots, headaches, depression, irritability and stomach pain.

“Those that are hooked on steroids may not present like other chaotic drug addicts but it is in addiction in the very same sense. It is difficult to reach this group as they often don't see themselves as IV drug users but are in fact exposed to the same risk of blood-borne disease."

Merchants Quay Ireland, which runs one of the largest needle-exchange operations in the capital, reported a rise in the number of users of performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) presenting at Irish drug treatment services over the past two years.

The Deputy concluded by saying: "While a HSE policy on prevention and education for steroid use does exist, prevention and harm reduction measures lag far behind those for alcohol and other illicit drugs."

Donegal seizure

Last week, a joint operation between An Garda Síochana, Revenue and the HPRA saw the seizure of over 60,000 vials labelled as anabolic steroids in Co Donegal.

In Ireland, it is illegal to procure anabolic steroids without a prescription or from anywhere other than a pharmacy. According to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), anabolic steroids were one of the most popular illegal drugs seized in Ireland last year after their number increased significantly from 38,049 units to 109,006.