Con­cerns raised about steroid use

Com­mu­nity lead­ers, po­lice sus­pect an in­creased preva­lence of the mus­cle-build­ing drugs

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BILL BOW­MAN

Com­mu­nity lead­ers and law en­force­ment of­fi­cers in the Car­bon­ear area are rais­ing con­cerns about what they be­lieve is an in­creas­ing preva­lence of steroid use among a small group of young males.

Const. John Hedges of the Trinity Con­cep­tion District RCMP con­firmed last week that an ac­tive in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing into the traf­fick­ing of steroids in the re­gion.

“Dur­ing the past year we have seen a rise in steroid-re­lated oc­cur­rences in the Trinity Con­cep­tion district, some of which did in­volve high school stu­dents in the area,” Hedges stated.

The Com­pass started ask­ing ques­tions af­ter a com­mu­nity leader in the re­gion raised se­ri­ous con­cerns about the is­sue.

The source asked to re­main anony­mous, but sug­gested it was time to make the pub­lic aware of the sit­u­a­tion.

In­creased ag­gres­sion

In a writ­ten state­ment to the pa­per, the source wrote the fol­low­ing: “en­hance­ments have al­tered the stu­dents’ mood, in­creased ag­gres­sion, re­sulted in loss of at­ten­tion and fo­cus of stu­dents dur­ing school stud­ies. Stu­dents have been known to gain large amounts of weight and over­all phys­i­cal size in short pe­ri­ods of time, which is not the norm with con­ven­tional strength and con­di­tion­ing pro­grams.”

The source added: “there is an in­creased use of cre­a­tine, pro­tein and other per­for­mance en­hanc­ing drugs in the CBN area.”

Hedges said the is­sue is be­ing treated “very se­ri­ously,” though he couldn’t say if the prob­lem is any greater than in any other re­gion of the prov­ince.

He said there have not been any ar­rests or charges, but added: “We have iden­ti­fied in­di­vid­u­als be­lieved to be re­spon­si­ble in the traf­fick­ing of steroids. As with any other type of drug traf­fick­ing, po­lice are ded­i­cated to in­ves­ti­gat­ing and ar­rest­ing those re­spon­si­ble.”

An­abolic steroids and their de­riv­a­tives are clas­si­fied un­der the Con­trolled Drugs and Sub­stances Act as Sched­ule IV, mean­ing it is il­le­gal to ob­tain or sell them with­out a pre­scrip­tion.

No proof

At Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate, the is­sue has been on the radar of the school ad­min­is­tra­tion. Prin­ci­pal Ed­die Rus­sell said con­cerns have been raised that “some teens may be ex­per­i­ment­ing with il­le­gal steroids.”

But Rus­sell was quick to point out that he has no proof.

“We have 450 stu­dents here in school, and I can’t say for sure there’s none of it. We’re con­cerned about a small num­ber of stu­dents who may be ex­per­i­ment­ing with steroids. And when I say small, I mean very small. You’re talk­ing not even one per cent.”

Rus­sell added, “We have no ev­i­dence or wit­nessed any­thing (in) re­gards to changes in stu­dents here at the school.”

Rus­sell said the dan­gers of steroid use is com­mu­ni­cated to stu­dents, sim­i­lar to the pit­falls of other drugs, in­clud­ing al­co­hol.

The En­cy­clo­pe­dia of Sports Medicine and Sci­ence web­site out­lines the risks of us­ing steroids.

“An­abolic steroids are ef­fec­tive in en­hanc­ing ath­letic per­for­mance. The trade- off, how­ever, is the oc­cur­rence of ad­verse side ef­fects, which can jeop­ar­dize health. Since an­abolic steroids have ef­fects on sev­eral or­gan sys­tems, a myr­iad of side ef­fects can be found.

“One of the prob­lems with ath­letes, in par­tic­u­lar strength ath­letes and body­builders, is the use of oral and par­enteral an­abolic steroids at the same time (“stack­ing”), and in dosages which may be sev­eral (up to 40 times) the rec­om­mended ther­a­peu­ti­cal dosage. The fre­quency and sever­ity of side ef­fects is quite vari­able.

“An­abolic steroids may ex­ert a pro­found ad­verse ef­fect on the liver. This is par­tic­u­larly true for orally ad­min­is­tered an­abolic steroids,” the En­cy­clo­pe­dia of Sports Medicine and Sci­ence web­site states.

“We’ve had one-on-one in­for­mal group dis­cus­sions with teach­ers or with stu­dents. Coaches (also) have (talks) with stu­dents and ath­letes all the time. If the pos­si­bil­ity is there I say, ‘Guys, this is a health risk.’ It’s no dif­fer­ent than speak­ing about drugs and al­co­hol that (are) more preva­lent in the com­mu­nity and school. If (stu­dents) do make that choice, they need to un­der­stand what pos­si­ble long-term health risks are as­so­ci­ated with it.”

Health risks

The Com­pass raised the is­sue with a group of Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate stu­dents hud­dled un­der the shade of trees in a small clear­ing across the road from the school last week.

They all agreed if any fel­low stu­dents are us­ing steroids, it is an iso­lated case in­volv­ing no more than one or two stu­dents.

Hedges said young peo­ple should be very aware of the neg­a­tive side ef­fects of tak­ing per­for­mance en­hanc­ing drugs.

“Steroids can take a heavy toll on a per­son’s health. Abuse of oral or in­jectable an­abolic steroids is as­so­ci­ated with in­creased risk of heart at­tacks and strokes, and the abuse of most oral an­abolic steroids is also as­so­ci­ated with in­creased risk for se­vere liver prob­lems, in­clud­ing he­patic can­cer.”

Photo by Bill Bow­man/the Com­pass

An­driol (testos­terone) is a pre­scrip­tion steroid which comes in cap­sule form. A sy­ringe is used to in­ject pre­scrip­tion steroids which also come in liq­uid form. Un­der the Con­trolled Drugs and Sub­stances Act, an­abolic steroids and their de­riv­a­tives are il­le­gal to ob­tain or sell with­out a pre­scrip­tion.

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