Is there an association between the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids and criminality?

Eur Addict Res. 2010;16(4):213-9. doi: 10.1159/000320286. Epub 2010 Aug 26.


Aims: The aim of this study was to improve our understanding of the proposed association between anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) and criminality.

Methods: The study was based on interviews and criminality data involving 32 users of AAS who had sought treatment for AAS-related problems at a psychiatric addiction clinic in Sweden. A score derived from the number of crimes, their level of severity and the relevant time periods was computed to allow comparisons between subgroups sorted according to type and timing of drug use.

Results: The criminal activity level increased for 69% of the individuals after having started to use drugs. This was particularly obvious in the group who had started its involvement with drugs by using AAS. Crimes of violence and weapon offences showed a great increase in incidence after drug use had been initiated. The study also showed a significant decrease in criminality after treatment, particularly among individuals who had started their drug use with AAS.

Conclusion: The results suggest that there is an association between the use of AAS and criminality, especially with regard to crimes of violence and weapon offences, and that this criminality may be enhanced when AAS are combined with other drugs of abuse.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anabolic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Crime / psychology*
  • Criminals / psychology
  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Male
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Sweden
  • Violence / psychology*


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Illicit Drugs