Everyone around the world knows this simple fact that steroids are openly being used in sports, especially in non-Olympic sports like bodybuilding, powerlifting,strongmen competitions etc. They have even entered the common gyms in a big way, and even teenagers are made to experiment with them. But it’s not these teenagers who are at fault. It’s the coaches who lure them into taking steroids.
Generally, the source of procurement of these steroids used to be through gym coaches and mainly your next door supplement store. Then as the internet became more easily accessible, websites selling steroids, sprouted up overnight.But now these shady distributors have found newer platforms to sell and distribute their drugs, i.e. social media platforms. They are using platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to promote and sell their stuff, openly, without any fear.
Acc. to a Jan 2018 report on the British website The Sun,boys as young as 13 years, are experimenting with steroids to look like celebrities on the social media; and experts are blaming social media on pressuring youngsters to achieve a certain body shape.
When we talk about performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), the picture we often paint in our minds is of pro athletes and bodybuilders. But today, these PEDs are being used extensively by a range of diverse users, from athletes to from people trying to replicate the physique of a celebrity or social media influencer.
In a 2019 report titles “Digital Platforms on Steroids”,suggested that online markets are now among the most popular places to buy these drugs. Celebrities use social media sites such as Instagram or YouTube to create the image of modern glamour that increasingly leads men and women to buy PEDs online.
In the report, group called Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA), a non-profit organization focused on educating the public and policymakers on the threats that consumers face on the Internet; carried out a 6 months investigation online to check the sales of online PEDs. They found hundreds of examples of drug dealers selling performance and appearance enhancing drugs.
The investigators carried out a real time study, wherein they contacted the operators of the Landmark Chemicals (also known as Landmark Nutraceuticals Co., Limited) Facebook page, about the HGH and steroids they offer for sale. A man representing Landmark offered a wide array of illicit drugs. They purchased two vials (200iu) of HGH from the dealer.” In addition, DCA also purchased three vials (300iu) of Deca Durabolin.” The $360 payment was made using Venmo, a mobile service owned by PayPal.
After the drugs arrived, the investigators sent the two unopened packages to Illinois-based lab Microtrace for testing. Microtrace reported the first package contained three 10mL vials of Nandrolone Decanoate with labels from Elixicor Pharmaceuticals.
Microtrace reported that the second package contained two boxes consisting of 10 total vials of alleged HGH powder. Microtrace noted that boxes and vials alleging to contain HGH were not labelled or have any marking.
Investigators found that, authentic HGH costs significantly more than the $200 the group paid for it. That means the would-be buyers from this dealer have no idea what they are putting in their body.
For further investigation, the investigators joined several groups promoting the use and sale of PEDs to learn more. They uncovered the similar activities.Similarly, they found similar accounts offering open steroids and even dosages on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Similar researchers have been carried out earlier too. In a 2016 study in the American Journal of Men’s Health, a US research team, led by Dr. J. Abram McBride, from, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, determined the availability and ease of purchase for anabolic steroids, testosterone, and other non-steroidal therapies on the Internet from the perspective of a typical consumer. A Google search was performed and the top- ranking sites offering anabolic steroids for sale were individually evaluated for selection of anabolic steroids offered, the purchasing process, and additional consumer information to support steroid use. The current results revealed that 87% of sites offered commonly used forms of anabolic steroids,injectable testosterone, and non-steroidal hormone therapies. Seventy-five percent offered at least one post-cycle recovery agent and 62% offered at least one erectile dysfunction medication. No site required a prescription for purchase of any substance, 75% accepted common forms of payment including credit card,and all sites were supplied by unregulated international pharmacies providing shipment to home addresses with disclaimers that consumers are liable to local laws. Seventy-five percent of sites provided specific cycle and stacking recommendations, 62% provided post-cycle recovery information, but only one site offered information on non-steroidal alternatives. In conclusion, anabolic steroids, injectable testosterone, and other non-steroidal therapies are readily available and remarkably easy to purchase on the Internet without a prescription.
In a 2013 study in the American Journal of Addiction, a Harvard Medical School research team, led by Dr. Brian P. Brennan, found thousands of sites involving anabolic steroids and other PEDs. Most sites presented an unabashedly pro-drug position, often openly questioning the qualifications and motivations of mainstream medical practitioners. Offers of anabolic steroids and other PEDs for sale, together with medical advice of varying legitimacy, was widespread across sites. Importantly, many sites provided detailed guidelines for exotic forms of PED use, some likely associated with serious health risks, which are probably unknown to most practicing clinicians.
n a 2012 study in the journal Substance Use & Misuse, a US research team, led by Christen L. McDonald, from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine;evaluated the degree to which anabolic-androgenic steroids are proffered for sale over the Internet and how they are characterized on popular websites. They found that the Internet acts as a source of information about anabolic steroids,their side effects and how to minimize them, as well as a resource for obtaining anabolic steroids and for the tools necessary to use AAS. Therefore it may also serve as an important avenue through which the natural barriers to anabolic steroids use may be overcome. Searches for specific steroid product labels (e.g.,Dianabol) between March and June, 2006 revealed that approximately half of the websites advocated their “safe” use, and roughly one-third offered to sell them without prescriptions. The websites frequently presented misinformation about steroids and minimized their dangers.
In a 2011 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, an Italian research team, led by F.G. Cordaro, from University of Insubria, Varese,Italy, identified and examined 30 websites offering androgenic anabolic steroids. Most websites sold other anabolic/ergogenic product(clenbuterol, 76.7%; GH/ IGF, 60.0%; thyroid hormones, 46.7%;erythropoietin, 30.0%; insulin, 20.0%) or products for anabolic steroids-related adverse effects (mainly: estrogen antagonists, 63.3%; products for erectile dysfunction, 56.7%; 5a-reductase inhibitors, 33.3%; anti-acne products, 33.3%).Anabolic steroids were sold as medicines (69.6%) or as dietary supplements(30.4%). AAS in medicines were mainly: nandrolone (20.4%),methandrostenolone (18.4%), and testosterone (12.2%). Dietary supplements contained mainly DHEA and included several fake compounds. Manufacturers were declared for 97.9% of medicines and 66.7% of dietary supplements; however, several manufacturers were not found on the Internet. Described benefits were usually few adverse effects and no estrogenicity. Toxicity was seldom reported and presented as mild. Recommended doses were two–fourfold higher than current medical recommendations. In conclusion, misleading information and deceiving practices were common findings on anabolic steroids-selling websites, indicating their deleterious potential for public health.
Now, let’s search for our own country, India. just type of Google, buy steroids online in India, and lots of pages open up. The primary being of a website under the name: steroidkart
The website, without any worries or fear, is openly selling anabolics and peptides, of different brands like: Alpha-Pharma, Leo, Elite-Pharma, Thaiger Pharma etc. similarly, on Facebook, I found a page named Online Steroids India,which has a phone number mentioned on the main page.
Similarly I searched on YouTube, and I found a large number of Indian channels,openly prescribing steroids, the cycles and dosages to be used, and even which brand and place to buy from. Here is the list of those channels:
YouTube has clear regulations and has even tried to remove certain videos from these channels for violating the laws. But there are way too many videos and regulation becomes a task for YouTube, till someone reports about these malpractices, and then they are taken off.