Forum on performance and image-enhancing drug use in Australia



Consumption of performance and image-enhancing drugs (PIEDs) is increasing in Australia and elsewhere, raising questions about health knowledge and needs for those involved. The SSAC team is currently conducting research on the meanings and practices associated with the injecting of PIEDs by men in Australia, and preferred ways of accessing information and advice is among the questions we are asking the men who take part.

As part of our research activities in this area the SSAC team  recently collaborated with La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society to run a forum on PIED use and the social, health, legal and other issues that relate to it. Also involved in the event was the Monash University Law School. Held on Friday February 15, the event attracted over 100 participants, most of whom attended in person at Monash University’s Melbourne city centre Law premises, while some joined us by webinar. A report on the event, including slide shows and key points covered in the discussions is now available: Final report.

Key issues the event covered were:

  1. gaps in knowledge about PIED use, and needs for further research,
  2. the role of NSP workers in helping people who inject PIEDs to access sterile equipment and develop their knowledge of health issues such as blood-borne virus prevention,
  3. the challenges GPs and other health providers face in caring for people who consume PIEDs where stigma may impede disclosure, and
  4. the place of industry bodies such as those that serve the fitness industry in educating about PIEDs and tackling issues such as unrealistic body ideals that may feed into some PIED use
  5. The general effects of stigma surrounding PIED use and strategies for tackling it.

The day comprised a range of presentations by researchers and stakeholders, as well as a panel discussion and feedback session. Presenters were:

Dr Andrea Waling, ARCSHS, La Trobe University
Dr Mair Underwood, University of Queensland
Dr Aaron Hart, SSAC, National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University
Dr Patrick Keyzer, Law School, La Trobe University
Dr Matthew Dunn, Deakin University
Dr Steven Angelides, ARCSHS, Reader of anonymous lived experience account
Kay Stanton, Health education worker
Finn, St Kilda Needle and Syringe Program, Salvation Army
Dr Beng Eu, Prahran Market Clinic
Bill Moore, Fitness Australia
A/ Professor Kate Seear: Monash Law School, discussant


The full program can be viewed here:

Time  Presentation  Presenter
10.30 – 10.40 Welcome & Introduction Professor Suzanne Fraser, SSAC, Curtin University
10.40 – 11:00


Muscling Up project: Accounts on men contemplating a transition to PIED use Dr Andrea Waling/ Dr Duane Duncan, ARCSHS, Latrobe University
11.00 – 11.20


PIEDs and recreational bodybuilders Dr Mair Underwood, University of Queensland
11.20 – 11.40


‘Projecting the right image: Consuming PIEDs and working in the fitness industry’ Dr Aaron Hart, SSAC, Curtin University


11.40 – 12:00


PIEDs: The law and medico legal considerations Dr Patrick Keyzer, Law School, La Trobe University


The health of PIED users: What do they want, where do they want it, and how? Dr Matthew Dunn, Deakin University
12.45 – 1.25 Lunch
1.25 – 1.35


The everyday lives of PIED injectors Account from a person with lived experience (read by Dr Steven Angelides)
1.35 – 1.50 Steroid Education Project Kay Stanton, Health educator
1.50 – 2.05 NSP and PIEDs Finn: Salvation Army, St Kilda NSP
2.05 – 2.20 PIEDs and medical encounters Dr Beng Eu: Prahran Market Clinic
2.20 – 2.35 The fitness industry and PIED use Bill Moore: Fitness Australia
2.35 – 2.55 afternoon tea
2.55 – 3.55 Panel


Bill Moore, Beng Eu, Sally Finn, Kay Stanton, Sam Jones
3.55 – 4.25 Group discussion


4.25 – 4.45 Discussant and close Associate Professor Kate Seear


This event was supported by the Australian Research Council, the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, and the Monash University Law School.