Swedish study links steroid use to crimes, fraud
Yahoo News, November 7, 2006
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
Using anabolic steroids is linked to antisocial behavior
such as illegal weapon possession and fraud, according a
Swedish study published on Monday that provided a fresh
warning about the dangers of the muscle-building drugs.
But the researchers said they
were somewhat surprised to find that steroid users were no
more likely than nonusers to commit violent crimes such as
murder and assault. Sexual offenses such as rape and
property crimes also were not linked to steroid use, they
The researchers examined the
relationship between steroids -- already associated with
increased aggressiveness and impulsive violent outbursts
sometimes dubbed "roid rage" -- and criminal behavior. They
looked at people using steroids without a doctor's
"Our findings indicate that
the use of (anabolic steroids) is associated not only with
impulsive antisocial behavior but also with an antisocial
lifestyle involving various types of criminality," some
requiring advance planning, the researchers led by Dr. Fia
Klotz of Uppsala University in Sweden wrote.
The study appears in the
journal Archives of General Psychiatry.
Among 241 Swedes who came up
positive for steroid use out of a sample of 1,440 tested for
the drugs from 1995 and 2001 at a laboratory in Huddinge,
Sweden, the study found a strong connection to some criminal
acts but not others.
The steroid users were
roughly twice as likely to have been found guilty of a
weapons crime and 1-1/2 times as likely to have been found
guilty of fraud.
Anabolic steroids are drugs
related to male sex hormones and can be taken through
injections or orally. Many athletes, bodybuilders and
others, both male and female, use steroids without a
prescription to build muscle bulk and strength to look
SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS
Steroids can lead to serious
side effects, including liver cancer, kidney disease and bad
For men, steroids can shrink
testicles, lower sperm count, raise prostate cancer risk and
cause infertility and baldness. For women, they can cause
facial hair growth, male-pattern baldness, menstrual
problems and a deeper voice. They can stunt the growth of
Researchers also have seen
among steroid abusers extreme mood swings, impulsiveness,
depression, paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability,
delusions and impaired judgment.
The people in the Swedish
study, whose average age was 20, were referred to the
laboratory for drug testing by police, customs agents,
substance abuse clinics and psychiatric facilities. Only
three of the 214 steroid users were women.
As for the statistical
association between steroid use and convictions for weapons
offenses, the researchers wrote that people committing armed
robberies or collecting crime-related debts might feel the
need to be more muscular or heavier.
When the researchers excluded
steroid users who had been referred for testing by a
substance abuse clinic, the statistical link between
steroids and fraud disappeared. The researchers wrote that
this suggested steroids combined with other drugs might make
a person more prone to commit fraud.