POLICE in one of Scotland’s largest police forces have snared dozens of dealers selling performance enhancing drugs.
Almost 50 people have been arrested by Lothian and Borders police in the last three years.
The figures, uncovered by a Freedom of Information request, have sparked concern from drugs charities.
The Class C drug can often be sourced on the internet before being sold on.
Amongst the haul was the anabolic steroid nandrolone, as well as methandrostenolone and oxymetholone, both used by body-builders for muscle growth, and testosterone.
Police chiefs today pledged to continue to crack down on steroid dealers, with 46 people charged with dealing the substances, or possession with the intent to supply, since January 2009.
Martin Barnes, chief executive of DrugScope, the drug policy and information charity, said: “For several years we have seen evidence of a growing steroid problem, particularly among young men who want to achieve a muscular physique. People who use anabolic steroids for non-medical purposes are at risk of a number of extremely unpleasant side effects.
“Prolonged use of anabolic steroids can damage the liver and increase blood pressure. Men often find that their sex drive is reduced and they may also develop heavier breast tissue – a condition called gynecomastia but more commonly known as ‘man boobs’.”
A police spokesman said: “Lothian and Borders Police are committed to removing drugs from our communities and bringing those involved in the drugs trade to justice, The increase in those arrested for the possession and supply of steroids is testament to the force’s pro-active approach in tackling the distribution.”
NHS Lothian has put measures in place to help patients who take steroids.
Dr Dermot Gorman, consultant in public health, said: “NHS Lothian offers a range of services. These include psychological therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and one-to-one support.
“We also provide advice and clean injecting equipment.”
Earlier this year Restarant boss Vito Algoni, 52, tried to smuggle the drugs into prison by telling the guards they were sweets.
The Italian was teaching inmates at Addiewell Prison to cook when he was caught with tablets worth £75 during a search.
Later that May, 28-year-old body-builder Michael Coates, a former George Watson’s College pupil was caught picking up diazepam from a friend’s postbox.
He claimed the he thought the package contained his usual batch of steroids.