Muscle men opt for boost of steroids
IT SEEMS men have caught up to women when it comes to obsessing about their looks - in a big way.
A 2012 national survey found two-thirds of young men using steroids now made up the majority of injecting drug users.
The fear of testicular shrinkage, baldness and increased risks of testicular cancer are not enough to deter these young men from going to these extremes to get the body they so desperately desire.
Look around any music festival, work or mine site and chances are you'll spot someone who's using them - begging the question: are steroids the breast implants for men?
Kay Nyenuh, of Muscle Garden Personal Training, said steroid use was an issue in Mackay. He said it wasn't surprising when you looked at the advertising targeted at young men today.
"It's marketed at the moment, that in order to appeal to girls you have to put on muscles," he said.
"I can definitely see guys and know they're doing steroids, it is really obvious."
Mackay Criminal Investigation Branch OIC, Detective Senior Sergeant Rodd Carroll said while steroid use was more prevalent in the Whitsunday and Moranbah areas, it also had a place in Mackay, with 10 seizures in the past financial year.
It's marketed at the moment, that in order to appeal to girls you have to put on muscles. I can definitely see guys and know they're doing steroids, it is really obvious.
He said there had been a noted increase in use since 2009 - particularly at the Gold Coast and in North Queensland (which included Mackay).
Mr Nyenuh said while "bulking up" was a bonus of training, he encouraged his clients to put their health and fitness first. He said many who opted to use steroids were not seeing results in the gym because they were not working with an expert.
"There is some level of expertise and experience you have to apply when you're in the gym," he said.
And while appealing to the opposite sex may be a driving factor for some, Mr Nyenuh said steroid culture was also about showing up your mates.
"Trying to be bigger than the guy next to you, trying to lift more than the guy next to you." He recommended men put their money to better use and hire a trainer.
Do you know anyone who has used steroids?
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Police deal with 'roid rage'
STEROID use in Mackay is an issue far greater than a few muscle-hungry young men, from a police perspective.
Mackay Criminal Investigation Branch OIC, Detective Senior Sergeant Rodd Carroll said steroids often caused moods swings - more commonly called "roid rage".
He said the same people that dealt other illicit substances were often the same people who dealt in steroids - with many illegally imported from overseas.
Do your homework first, find out exactly what it is you're taking, what benefits you're going to get and then investigate a safer way of doing it
He said while "party drugs" like ecstasy were deemed acceptable by some young people, injecting yourself with an illicit drug like steroids was considered crossing a line.
"Young people will readily put a tablet in their mouth but won't as readily put a needle in their arm."
Det Sen Sgt Carroll warned against this kind of thinking, saying both substances could be just as life-threatening.
He said in some circumstances there was also a correlation between the type of young person who took party drugs and steroid use.
"I don't think that's wide-ranging ... but there is definitely anecdotal evidence to suggest a correlation."
"Do your homework first, find out exactly what it is you're taking, what benefits you're going to get and then investigate a safer way of doing it."
Side effects can be life threatening
THERE'S a reason so many young people are turning to steroids - because despite the side effects, they work.
CQUniversity lecturer in exercise and sports science Dr Vin Dalbo said studies had found steroids could increase strength by 85%.
He said for many choosing to go down this path, the perceived benefits often outweighed the risks.
"Just like people who risk cosmetic surgery," Dr Dalbo said. This being said, he wouldn't recommend it.
While steroids were rife for obvious reasons among elite athletes - for your "average Joe" in Mackay it was generally for cosmetic use.
With the side effects potentially life threatening, Dr Dalbo suggested anyone who goes down this path should get regular blood tests.
"The negative thing that most people don't know about if they don't take a treatment to increase their own natural testosterone levels (when they stop using steroids), they could end up potentially smaller than before they started."