Rising Steroid Use Among Young People Raises Need for More Awareness Campaigns

Steroid Use Rising Among Young People

Data released recently show that an increased number of young people in Ireland are using illicit substances, with this leading to call on the Government to begin fresh public awareness campaign on inherent risks.

Steroids
Steroids

It was reported by the Irish Examiner in August that one person officially sought urgent medical care for serious health problems that have a link to steroid use or abuse this year. The figure was based on cases seen in just the first four months of 2019. It raises fears of increasing use of these illegal substances, especially by young people who engage in sports.

For comparison, back in 2011, doctors or hospitals only had to attend to an average of one person having health problems from steroid use in every 33 days. That’s according to data from Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE).

In 2015, medical professionals treated a case in every 13 days. It appears this year is well on the way to exceeding that figure.

Need for action

In addition to more reports of serious health issues from steroid use, figures from Garda and Revenue further highlight the seriousness of the problem. These reveal an increasing use of the banned substances, something Health Minister Simon Harris also confirmed.

Customs officials impounded slightly over 38,000 illicit anabolic steroid pills in 2016. The total seizure was drastically up to 449,411 pills or capsules in 2018.

These figures have raised fears of serious steroid abuse among young people, particularly young men. They have caught the attention of Sinn Fein, which is calling for more action to check the ugly trend.

Ms. Louise O’Reilly, Sinn Fein health spokeswoman, wants the Government to launch a fresh campaign to increase public awareness on the dangers of steroid use. Actions should be aimed at gyms and schools, especially at young men, she said.

“There’s been a lot of talk in the media about women’s health, we believe it is time to focus on young men,” Ms. O’Reilly said. “They are a cohort that doesn’t really talk.”

The Sinn Fein health spokeswoman disclosed she has already had discussions with both the Minister for Health and the Minister for Justice due to the rapid rise in the use of illicit substances.

She said steroid abuse has a connection to a form of body dysmorphia known as bigorexia. There is need for more counseling services being available for young people having delusional belief about how their body looks.

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