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The modes of administration of anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) users: are non-injecting people who use steroids overlooked?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Katinka van de Ven, Renee Zahnow, Jim McVeigh, Adam Winstock

Original languageEnglish
JournalDrugs: Education, Prevention and Policy
Early online date16 May 2019
Accepted/In press15 Apr 2019
E-pub ahead of print16 May 2019

King's Authors



There is increasing public health concern about the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS). Understanding of drug use patterns and practices is important if we are to develop appropriate risk-reduction interventions. Yet, much remains unclear about the modes of administration adopted by AAS users. 


We used data from a sub-sample of participants from the Global Drug Survey 2015; males who reported using injectable or oral AAS in their lifetime (n = 1008). 


Amongst our sample, approximately one third (35.62%) reported using only injectable AAS during their lifetime while 35.84% reported using only oral, with less than one third (28.54%) using both. 


These findings suggest there may be a sub-population of individuals who only use AAS orally. Needle and syringe programmes (NSPs) are currently the primary point of health service engagement; forming the main healthcare environment for medical and harm reduction advice on steroids. Yet, NSP-based resources are unlikely to reach or be appropriate to those who do not inject AAS. While there is a general need for health services to be more accessible when it comes to AAS use, non-injectors are an overlooked group that require attention.

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