A harm reduction clinic catering specifically to users of anabolic steroids has opened in Scotland. Steroid use is decriminalized in the United Kingdom and government officials recognize that steroid users are demographically different from traditional recreational drug users. The steroid harm reduction clinic was designed for this distinct group of individuals who use performance and physical appearance enhancing drugs.
Research indicates that the typical anabolic steroid user is a highly-functioning, highly-educated, health-focused, goal-oriented, professional earning an above-average income who attempts to use anabolic steroids responsibly in order to improve muscle strength, body composition and physical appearance. It is no surprise that steroid users do not see themselves as drug addicts and do not wish to seek harm reduction services alongside cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine users.
A harm reduction nurse explains the objectives of the clinic:
“We are aware, as is the case throughout Scotland, that there is an identified group of people who use performance and image enhancing drugs.
“They don’t see themselves as drug users and for this reason they may not be keen to access services that are historically known as being for drug users, which is why we have set up this clinic.
“The clinic will be run out with normal hours, hopefully making it easier for them to attend – bearing in mind that this client group will mostly be working and will not find it easy to get away during the day.”
The harm reduction approach in the United Kingdom is clearly based on science as administrators even recognize that most steroid-users, unlike drug abusers, are highly-functioning and fully-employed individuals who must schedule harm reduction appointments before or after work.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officials in the United States seem content to ignore the steroid use demographics and treat steroid users as no different than cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine users. The troubling ignorance regarding the demographics, motivations and patterns of use by steroid users highlights the unfortunate underpinnings of current flawed steroid law enforcement policy. Law enforcement officials seemed more interested in promoting morally-based anti-steroid propaganda than actually developing services that promote the health of steroid users.