"Will steroids kill me if I use them once?" A qualitative analysis of inquiries submitted to the Danish anti-doping authorities

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Background: The Danish strategy for fighting the use of anabolic androgenic steroids in fitness centres is likely the most comprehensive of its sort in the world. It is instituted in the national anti doping organisation, Anti Doping Denmark (ADD), and consists of doping controls, educational campaigns, and anonymous counselling through a web-based email service. Aim and method: Inquiries that were submitted to ADD's web-based counselling service over an 18 month period were explored with the aim to identify and analyse differences in concerns and approach to the counselling service. Two categories of inquiries were the focus of attention: 1) those addressing side effects of anabolic steroids, and 2) those addressing concerns for receiving a positive doping test after the use of supplements. Results and discussion: In the first category four different types of approaches were identified and inquirers' concerns analysed: a) those that lacked knowledge on anabolic steroids, b) those that had experienced side effects, c) those that expressed knowledge of anabolic steroids, and d) those that presented potential harm reduction dilemmas for the counselling service. The second category revealed noteworthy concerns as a result of the legislation on the issue. Conclusion: The approach to the counselling service and the knowledge of health consequences of the drugs consumed differed substantially between the two categories and groups of inquiries. Implications: In order to educate the target group about anabolic steroids there is a need for the involved organisations to consider harm reduction policies in adjunct with the often applied zero tolerance approach.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPerformance Enhancement & Health
Pages (from-to)39-47
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012

    Research areas

  • anti-doping education, recreational athletes, doping controls, harm reduction, Denmark

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