Anabolic steroids


Contact if you’d like to organise drug training for your organisation.

Street names

roids, various product names (e.g. Anadrol, anavar, dianabol, durabolin, equipose, finajet, maxibolin, primobolin, stanozolol, testosterone, winstrol etc.)


Anabolic steroids are based on hormones which occur naturally in the human body and are responsible for the development and function of the reproductive organs. Anabolic steroids promote the build up of muscle tissue and are used by some athletes and body builders. They’re meant to be used to treat anaemia and muscle weakness after surgery. Not to be confused with other kinds of steroids, such as corticosteroids (that’s a different drug often used to treat asthma, eczema and skin inflammations).

They are tablets which are swallowed, or liquids which are injected.
Used by some athletes, body builders (and indeed young people) to increase muscle size and aggression.

Some people use anabolic steroids to improve their appearance, and feel good about their body.
Some users report that the drugs make them feel more aggressive and they can train harder. In young people, use of these drugs over a period of time may stunt their growth.


Approximately £20 for 100 tablets.

Paraphernalia / what to look out for

  • Medicinal looking drugs. Possibly as tablets or small phials, ready for injection.
  • N.B. Counterfeit steroids pose additional risks.

Possible longer-term indicators/main risks

  • Liver abnormalities and a rare form of hepatitis.
  • Hypertension – steroids encourage the body to retain water and raise blood pressure.
  • HIV, hepatitis B or C and other infections if users inject and share injecting equipment.
  • Stunted growth in young people.
  • Changes in male reproductive system. Sperm output and quality is reduced and can take 6 months to return to normal. Sex drive may at first increase but then be lowered. Some men have also experienced over-development of their breast tissue, and a shrunken penis.
  • Changes in the female body. Women report increased sex drive, menstrual problems and enlarged clitoris. They also run the risk of developing ‘male’ features such as growth of facial and body hair, deepening of the voice and decreased breast size. Once these happen they are usually irreversible even when steroid use stops. Problems such as sleep disorders, confusion, depression and paranoia. These tend to lessen once steroid use is stopped.

Harm reduction

  • Teaching bodybuilders how to use anabolic steroids safely and responsibly.
  • Discussing the contraindications of anabolic steroids use in order to avoid exacerbating any health problems with them .
  • Teaching users how to cycle drugs and avoid continuous use of anabolic steroids for extend periods of time.
  • Educating athletes regarding the inhibition and recovery of natural testosterone production.
  • Discussing the pharmacological differences among commercially-available anabolic steroids
  • Teaching proper injection technique along with the importance of sterile needles/syringes
  • Informing bodybuilders of the lowest possible dosage of anabolic steroids to produce their desired effects.
  • Educating athletes about the questionable strength and purity of illicit androgens

Originally from:

Legal status

  • Anabolic steroids are Prescription Only drugs under the Medicines Act. They can only be sold by a pharmacist on the presentation of a doctor’s prescription.
  • Anabolic steroids are also class C drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act. It is not an offence to possess anabolic steroids for personal use, unless they are counterfeit.
  • It is an offence to supply them. Therefore police tend to arrest for steroid possession only if they can prove the drugs are counterfeit (and therefore not prescribed by a doctor).
  • It is illegal to allow premises to be used for their supply or production.
  • It is illegal to possess them without a prescription if they are in the form of a medicinal product.