Other names: Gear, Juice, Roids, Hype, Arnolds, Gym Candy, Stackers, Deca, Var, Drol, Dbol, Tren, Test, Winny

Anabolic steroids are used as image and performance enhancing drugs. Unlike most drugs, after using anabolic steroids there is no sudden change in the user’s mental or physical state.

Anabolic steroids intended for oral use are supplied as oral tablets. Anabolic steroids intended for injection are usually supplied in a glass ampoule or vial.

Unlike other drugs covered here, anabolic steroids do not have psychoactive effects (they won’t get you high or stoned, etc.). Desired effects of using anabolic steroids include developing stronger muscles more quickly, enhancing training, reducing recovery time from strenuous exercise, as well as building muscle mass.

Unwanted effects include erectile dysfunction, acne, hair loss, mood swings, shrunken testicles, liver malfunction, gynecomastia (enlarged breast tissue), high blood pressure and water retention.

Anabolic steroids in tablet form are intended to be taken orally.

Anabolic steroids is an oil based solution (and less commonly water based solution), are prepared for intramuscular injections. Injecting into the veins can cause an oil embolism, which is potentially fatal.

• Risks will vary dramatically dependant on products, user’s age, method of use, quantity of products, and safety precautions taken.

• Anabolic steroids can seriously damage the liver; certain products and methods of use will increase this risk.

• Sharing injecting equipment risks infection with Hepatitis B or C viruses, as well as HIV.

• Anabolic steroids can interrupt a user’s own testosterone production. Therefore, once the use of anabolic steroids is stopped, users can experience side effects such as, depression, reduced libido, impotence, loss of muscular development and shrunken testicles.

• Male anabolic steroid users can develop breast tissue, known as gynecomastia. This is because excess testosterone in the body is converted into the hormone oestrogen.

• Male users can also be at risk of acne, hair loss, kidney damage, water retention, high blood pressure, heart problems and mood swings.

• Female users can be at risk of developing facial and chest hair, reduction of breast tissue, lowering of the voice and reduced periods.

• Young people who use steroids can be at risk of premature sealing of bones, leading to restriction of their height. Anabolic steroids could also interfere with completion of pubescent development.

• Ensure other aspects of your training programme are at their prime, e.g. training, rest and food intake.

• If injecting, DO NOT share or re-use equipment, seek safer injecting advice from your local needle exchange.

• Research substances used and Post Course Therapy (PCT).

• If using injectable steroids, check ampoules and vials for impurities.

• If injecting, rotate sites.

• If injecting, use alcohol swaps to reduce the risk of infections.