With Love Island back on our screens, young people are warned not to resort to steroids in their attempt to emulate the “ripped” physicists they see on TV.
UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has developed a new report on the dangers of drugs that improve image and performance (IPED) to coincide with the popular reality show, which got underway another series last week,
The organization is concerned that the bodies promoted on these programs and social media, along with the struggles people have to stick to gymnastics regimes and New Year’s diets, can make drugs tempting.
CEO Nicole Sapstead said: “Young people are bombarded with images of the ideal sculpted body on social media and through high-profile television programs.
“However, not everyone has the motivation or indeed the physiology to achieve this type of body through exercise and healthy eating – and some of these individuals may believe that the use of IPED, and in particular steroids, is the only or fastest way to achieve your goal. “
According to a 2016 IPED survey, 56% of people who adopted them did so for body image or cosmetic reasons.
The most common demographic group for steroid use was males aged 20 to 24 years.
And in 2019, research for UKAD’s Clean Sport Week program found that one third (34%) of UK gym users knew of other members taking drugs, with almost a sixth (14%) who knew someone who he suffered from the effects.
About 14% confirmed that they had taken an IPED at some point, with a quarter of that number (27%) still in use.
The new report states that the most commonly used IPEDs include testosterone, nandrolone and stanozolol.
These anabolic steroids can lead to potentially dangerous medical conditions such as heart attack, stroke, liver and kidney failure, hypertension and blood clots, reports the report.
It is not illegal to have Class C drugs for personal use, but a prescription is required to purchase them.
However, they are increasingly being sold without online regulation.
Trevor Pearce, president of UKAD, said: “The growing availability and ease of acquiring anabolic steroids via social media and the Internet is extremely alarming.
“UKAD recently spoke to several people who get anabolic steroids through Facebook or WhatsApp.”
He added: “This highlights the need for a greater multi-agency approach between government, anti-doping agencies, law enforcement agencies, public health bodies, educational institutions, sports and social media companies, to look at the current landscape of illicit trade in IPED and ultimately increase action to address this problem. “
Last year, nutritionists to hit on social media platforms like Instagram to help increase eating disorders, including anorexia, as people tried to improve their body image with dieting.
Some reports have been accused of fueling a mental health condition called orthorexia, which is when someone becomes obsessed with eating healthy to the point where they can become dangerously ill.
In September, Instagram and Facebook imposed age limits on content dietetic products and plastic surgery deemed potentially dangerous for those seeking quick body corrections.
These posts have been hidden from users under the age of 18 and some have been completely banned.