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RESERVISTS - Know your rights and obligations
Army September 17, 2009
Is bulking up with steroids worth your military career or even your life?
WO1 Greg Pearson* and Lt Rob Orr say the answer is a no-brainer.
Side effects of anabolic steroids:
Increased risk of liver and cardio-
High blood pressure
Aggression and mood swings
Infections from unsafe needle use
HEN you are looking
for that edge and strong
coffee isn’t enough, you
might turn to any of the
countless products and equipment
claiming to offer short cuts to rapid
physical gain. Most of these are harm-
less and more likely to lighten your
wallet than bulk up your body.
Alternatively, you might be tempted
by “stronger” products, such as anabolic
steroids. Resist these illicit drugs at all
costs. Not only could they end your mili-
tary career, they could end your life.
What are anabolic steroids?
Developed as a medical treatment in
the late 1930s, anabolic steroids are syn-
thetic substances related to male sex hor-
mones. Abuse of these drugs surfaced in
the 1950s among Olympic weightlifters.
Anabolic steroids can also be found
in some protein supplements. Research
commissioned by the International
Olympic Committee a few years ago
analysed 634 nutritional supplements
and found nearly 15 per cent contained
prohibited substances not declared on the
label. Confirming the status of any sup-
plement products remains a problem.
What is safe to use?
No anabolic steroid is safe or, for that
If you are considering supplements,
be wary of:
overseas products available only via
the internet, as they may contain sub-
stances that are not legal in Australia;
products containing androstenedione,
19-norandrostenediol, 19 -norandros-
tenedione DHEA, ephedra, strychnine,
tribulus terrestris and other herbal tes-
tosterone supplements, which, accord-
ing to the Australian Institute of Sport,
are banned or at risk of being contami-
nated with banned substances; and
products using terms such as “anabolic
agent”, “increase testosterone levels”,
“steroidal” or similar wording.
What harm can they do?
As anabolic steroids mimic natural
hormones, they disrupt normal hor-
monal function and, as such, can have
unwelcome side effects, as outlined
in the Australian Sports Anti-Doping
Authority’s Prohibited Substances and
Acne, aggression and mood swings
are the more widely recognised side-
effects. Libido problems, addiction, high
blood pressure and increased risks of
liver and heart disease are other seri-
ous dangers. There is also the danger of
spreading diseases such as HIV/AIDS
and Hepatitis C from unsafe needle use.
Additional problems for men can
include anything from shrinking testi-
cles, impotence and infertility to kidney
and liver dysfunction and baldness.
Women, meanwhile, may develop
more masculine features, deeper voice
and hair growth. Their menstrual cycles
may also be affected and there is an
increased risk of foetal damage.
On top of all this is the unknown dan-
ger of taking impure versions of a drug.
Some people are prepared to trade off
some of these side effects for improved
performance in the mistaken belief the
effects are reversible. In fact, much of the
damage is permanent.
And, in case you were still wavering
there is no such thing as a safe dose
and Defence has a zero-tolerance policy
For Defence-specific information, go to www.
Steroids.pdf. Further help can be found on the
ADF Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs website at
*WO1 Greg Pearson is from the Army Prohibited
Substance Testing Program Cell
No short cuts: If you think
steroids might give you an
edge, be warned the cons far
outweigh the pros.
Photo by LAC Kim Eager
Only a dope would do i
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