Increased numbers of steroid-users are seeking out needle exchange services in Limerick, according to an addiction service which offers outreach support in the city and surrounding counties.
The increase observed by Ana Liffey Drug Project Mid-West reflects a nationwide trend. A number of indicators point toward a rise in unregulated use of anabolic steroids across Ireland in recent years.
“We’re definitely seeing more people – whether that’s because of better education and better engagement because of that, or whether it’s an increase in people using steroids I’m not sure,” Rachel O’Donoghue, team leader of ALDP Mid-West, said.
The organisation, which has operated in Dublin since the early 80s, set up in Limerick six years ago. And while there had been a handful of steroid users who sought out the service for clean injecting equipment, there’s been a steep rise in demand over the last two to three years – particularly from a younger age group.
Said O’Donoghue: “I think it’s always been there – but I think that people weren’t as open to engaging with the services for their needle exchanges. You always had a few people that were into the power-lifting and the competitions – people that were using them a long time. Definitely, recently, we’re seeing more young people arrive for an exchange.”
Around 20 different men who use the injecting equipment solely for steroids and body-enhancing drugs now engage with the outreach team regularly.
Some are in their early 20s and play GAA or rugby, while other regular users are weightlifters aged in their 30s or 40s.
Source: Daragh Brophy, 09/09/18