Steroids Are a Public Health Issue According to World Health Organization

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The anti-doping movement scored a major victory after a representative from the World Health Organization (WHO) identified the use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone (hGH) as a “public health issue”. Timothy Armstrong, a coordinator for WHO’s Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion, made the anti-steroid proclamation at the “Doping as a Public Health Issue” symposium in Stockholm on September 22, 2012.

“Substance abuse in any shape or form has a physical and mental health aspect to it,” said Armstrong. “The WHO, being the lead UN (United Nations) agency on health matters, takes this issue quite seriously.”

Armstrong’s speech apparently put the World Health Organization and the United Nations on the anti-steroid bandwagon committed to the elimination of performance-enhancing drugs in sports and society.

The conference was organized by Arne Ljungqvist. Ljungqvist, the chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) medical commission, identifies himself as a “doping hunter” who has made his fight against steroids in sport a lifelong moral crusade. While Ljungqvist claims that he is motivated by his concern for athletes’ health, his concern for the “moral pitfalls” of steroid use seems to take precedent.

“They [elite athletes] are the role models of youngsters and if they are drug takers that is not the right role model for the coming society,” said Ljungqvist. “I am so happy today to see these international authorities coming together and sharing these concerns that are being expressed and I hope that we can find common ways to deal with them.”

Armstrong not only cited steroids as a public health issue but also proposed greater cooperation with law enforcement in the moral crusade against steroids in sport. Armstrong suggested that law enforcement and customs officials around the world work more closely with organizations such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), IOC, WHO, UNESCO and other anti-steroid groups committed to the ridding sport and society of steroids.


O’Connor, P. (September 22, 2012). Doping is now a public health issue, conference told. Retrieved from