Background: Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) have long been used by body-builders seeking to increase muscle size, strength and beauty. AAS are sometimes used together with narcotic agents and are thought to serve as a gateway to narcotic substance use, but this theory has not yet been substantiated clinically or sociologically.
Methods: Mandatory interviews were carried out with individuals (n=56) suspected of infringement of the narcotic laws in Sweden with confiscated and/or confirmed use of AAS. Data were collected over 12 months.
Results: Seventy-three percent of subjects with confirmed use of AAS were also using narcotic substances. The use of AAS was preceded by the use of narcotic agents in 55% of subjects. Only one-fifth of the subjects in the study had used AAS before using narcotic agents.
Conclusion: Co-use of AAS and narcotics agents is frequent among young people taken into custody for criminal activity and investigated by the police in Sweden. The study does not lend support to the hypothesis that AAS are commonly a gateway drug to narcotic use.
Copyright (c) 2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.