SSAC’s ARC-funded research on performance and image enhancing drug use in Australia is well underway. After a successful recruitment period in Victoria, the SSAC team is interviewing in New South Wales and Queensland, and has recently begun recruiting in Western Australia as well.
Lead investigator Professor Suzanne Fraser explained that ‘steroid use among men is an emerging public health issue, but we know very little about how the men involved understand and manage risks, or how they come into contact with relevant health information.’
Many men interviewed for the project explained that a key motivation for taking part in the research was their own difficulties in accessing information about safe consumption and injecting, and the hidden nature of PIED injecting. Ryan [not his real name] said:
I just think the information is something that people need… I think the part that appealed to me [about being involved in the research], is that it’s not an easy thing to talk about. It’s like a taboo subject. You know, like everyone’s in the gym and probably at least half the males in there are using performance-enhancing drugs, I reckon, and everyone’s using all different things. People are using all the time, but no one really says anything about it.
According to Professor Fraser, the insights collected in the research will help inform the development of new targeted harm reduction responses to improve the experiences and health of men who inject PIEDs.
‘Instead of relying on older information about steroids, forums, or messaging designed for people who inject other drugs, these men need current, relevant resources designed for them. This research will help inform the creation of more targeted, more up to date advice’ Professor Fraser said.
The team is now recruiting in Western Australia. To find out more about the project, or participate in it, email project research officer Renae Fomiatti at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 0413 952 169.