Calls to work together on increasing use of Image and Performance Enhancing Drugs by young people

In 2016, Fast Forward, an organisation that works with and supports young people, surveyed Scottish young people on their experience and use of image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs), such as anabolic steroids.

IPED use by young people in Scotland has become more prevalent in recent years with Glasgow needle exchange in 2015 reporting a 600% rise in IPED use since 2005. The Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, Catherine Calderwood, has highlighted the risks and harms surrounding IPED use and emphasised that the rise is due in part to young men taking IPEDs for cosmetic rather than sporting reasons.

The findings of the survey, published in November 2016, implied that IPED use is more widespread than existing literature and research would suggest.

For example, the National Steroid Survey by NHS Public Health Wales found that there are up to one million adult male IPED users across Britain, or 3% of the male population.

Fast Forwards’ survey reported significant levels of IPED use (6%) compared to previous estimates. This parallels the views of adult practitioners of whom 22% said they worked with young people misusing IPEDs. However, the overall sample of Scottish young people (1156) is not large enough to draw conclusive results.

Fast Forward are now enquiring as to how best to deal with this perceived increase in young people using IPEDs and are extending an invitation to people who work in the field to feedback on the report, and also to discuss possible future cooperative work to address the issue.

This can be sent to and it is appreciated if this is done so by the 31st of May 2017.

Scottish Drugs Forum recently hosted ‘More Than Steroids’ Scotland’s Image and Performance Enhancing Drugs Conference in February 2017 – conference slides can be viewed here. IPEDs will continue to be a future focus of work for Scottish Drugs Forum.

Cicck here to view Fast Forward’s IPEDs Research Report