Steroids are a group of synthetic drugs similar to the male hormone, testosterone, which is predominantly secreted in the testes of males and ovaries of females; small amounts are also secreted by the adrenal glands. It is the principal male sex hormone and is an anabolic steroid. It assists the male sexual function, enhances libido and increases production of red blood cells.
Anabolic is the term for steroids with a more bulking increase in muscle tissue and strength- hence the use of these drugs by athletes. Androgenic means that the hormone also affects tissue growth and increases the definition and masculinity of the body. All steroids are both androgenic and anabolic to varying degrees; it is the balance of effects which make them more or less desirable for users, depending on the effect the user is seeking.
Steroids are readily available in many gyms and are sold in two main types of products: tablets/capsules (which is often the form in which bodybuilders are introduced to this drug) or ampoules which are designed for injection into muscle. Injectable ampoules are either oil-based or water-based and often users are stacking and working in cycles of at least six weeks on/off.
Anabolic steroids are class C, schedule 4(ii) drugs. Possession is lawful as long as the drug is for personal use. Importation and exportation for personal use are lawful where a person himself carries out that importation or exportation. Unauthorised supply or production is an offence and carries a maximum of 14 years’ imprisonment and a fine.
Free, confidential information and advice is available by calling the Release Drugs Helpline on 0845 45 00 215