British bodybuilders who order anabolic steroids over the internet will be considered criminals beginning today – April 23, 2012 – under a new amendment to the British steroid law. Fortunately, the possession of anabolic steroids for self-administration remains perfectly legal under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (“MDA”). However, the new amendment makes the importation of steroids illegal.
The only exception involves cases of “personal custody”. For example, athletes attending the London Olympics this summer can legally bring steroids and performance-enhancing drugs with them in their luggage. But everyone else living inside the United Kingdom is prohibited from importing them via mail.
The amended steroid law reflects the recommendations made by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (“ACMD”) last summer. The recommendations reflect a blatant disregard for the health and safety of anabolic steroid users.
The primary beneficiary of the new steroid laws are “underground labs” (UGLs) that illicitly manufacture anabolic steroids within the United Kingdom. In fact, UGLs could not have dreamed of crafting legislation that would have been any more beneficial to them!
The ACMD did a few things that will directly and dramatically increase business for domestic UGLs.
- They recommended the removal of references to “medicinal products” in the old steroid law. Courts had previously interpreted this to mean that the possession of non-medicinal UGL steroids was illegal. The new law makes UGL steroids unambiguously legal to possess for personal use.
- By banning the importation of steroids, the new law effectively eliminates ALL competition from internet sources or international sources.
- The new law essentially directs bodybuilders to obtain their steroids exclusively from domestic sources i.e. underground labs if they wanted to follow the law.
Harm reduction organizations are warning Needle-Syringe Program (NSP) workers to be prepared for an increase in the number of bodybuilders who may suffer adverse consequences from the increased use of UGL steroids.
Nigel Brunsdon, the director of Injecting Advice LTD and a planning committee member at the National Needle Exchange Forum, issued this notice for NSP workers involved in steroid harm reduction:
Part of the conversations with steroid users have always been about their knowledge of the law and the sources of their steroids. Previously these have been two separate topics, but with importation being illegal this now means that for at least the next few months this becomes one discussion.
After that of course we’ll start seeing the fallout from the increased underground production, at a guess this will be a rise in bacterial infections, abscesses and issues relating to variable strengths of products produced.
Last year, MESO-Rx wrote about the ramifications of the ACMD’s steroid-related recommendations:
What impact will this have on steroid use in the United Kingdom?
The production of anabolic steroids by UGLs within the United Kingdom will likely explode accompanied by a concomitant increase in the use of UGL steroids by British bodybuilders. Bodybuilders will switch from pharmaceutical steroids to lower-quality UGL steroids.
Unfortunately, this seems largely at odds with the efforts at “harm reduction” by the government. The quality control standards of UGLs are generally inferior to those of legitimate pharmaceutical products (that have been legally obtainable over the internet prior to the current pending amendments.)
Brunsdon also discussed the effect of the new steroid law with Martin Chandler, the Inter Agency Drug Misuse Database Manager at Liverpool John Moores University, during the Welsh National Drugs Conference last week. Chandler confirmed the negative consequences for steroid harm reduction.
This will cause a rise in home produced products by illicitly sourced raw testosterone powders, so we’ll see a rise in underground products produced in the UK, this is likely to decrease the quality and increase the risk….. and this year in particular there is a crackdown on raw materials as the government have to be seen to be preventing the importation and production of anabolic steroids prior to the Olympics.
The environment for steroid users in the United Kingdom is likely to become increasingly risky as the London Olympics approach. At least Britain has resisted the increasing pressure by the World Anti-Doping Agency to criminalize the personal use of steroids. Nonetheless, the passage of legislation that takes a major step backwards from the goal of steroid harm reduction is reason for significant concern. Bodybuilders looking for steroids in the months ahead should proceed with caution as law enforcement seeks to crackdown (or at least give the appearance of a crackdown) on steroids before the Olympics.