UK Anti-Doping Calls for Legislative Change Against the Importation and Use of IPEDs

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) will be giving evidence before The Image and Performance Enhancing Drugs (IPEDs) Working Group of the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs at the Kia Oval on 26 September, and will be calling for the importation of some IPEDs to be made illegal.

UKAD, along with other organisations, will be giving evidence on IPEDs, including androgenic anabolic steroids and Human Growth Hormones. This evidence will include the use and misuse of these drugs by professional sportspeople, as well as usage at an amateur sports level and in public gyms.

Pat Myhill, Director of Operations at UKAD, says:

“Steroids are now so widespread that they aren’t just the preserve of the sporting community anymore – the pursuit of ‘the body beautiful’ means that steroid use is increasing particularly amongst younger men and teenage boys. There are significant harms associated with the use of IPEDs, including heart disease and liver damage, as well as those related to mental health, including aggression and depression.  We believe the importation and possession (outside of medical use) of these drugs should be made illegal, not only to protect clean sport but a young generation from the serious side effects they can cause.

“We need a strong partnership between government, public health and sport agencies to better educate the public about the harmful aspects of these substances.”

UKAD, together with its partners, the National Crime Agency and UK Boarder Force, have seen 35% rise over the last year in the importation of steroids from countries such as India, Hong Kong and China as well as Eastern Europe, with Testosterone (43%) and Growth Hormones (16%) being the most common substances seized. Intelligence also suggests that the use of IPEDs is increasing amongst amateur athletes and gym users with 55% of reports relating to amateur and low level athletes.

UKAD will recommend to the IPEDs Working Group that:

• The importation of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids should be made illegal (even when they are intended for personal use). However, the possession of these drugs for genuine therapeutic use would remain legal.
• The Growth hormone releasing factors (GHRFs) should be banned as their use is becoming more widespread at elite and amateur sports level, as well as at public gyms and within the bodybuilding communities.
• The setting up of a cross organisational working group to educate the sporting community as well as the general public about the dangers of steroid use should be a priority, as well as a longer-term initiative to tackle the issues.