Support for people who use Anabolic Androgenic Steroids: A Systematic Scoping Review into what they want and what they access / Orlanda Harvey, Steve Keen, Margarete Parrish, Edwin van Teijlingen. - (BMC Public Health 19 (2019) 1024 ; p. 1-13).
- PMID: 31366349.
- PMCID: PMC6670144.
- DOI: 10.1186/s12889-019-7288-x
Since there is a paucity of research on support for people using Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS), we aimed to identify and synthesise the available evidence in this field. Gaining an understanding of the support both accessed and wanted by recreational AAS users will be of use to professionals who provide services to intravenous substance users and also to those working in the fields of public health and social care, with the aim to increase engagement of those using AAS.
A systematic scoping review of the literature to explore and identify the nature and scope of information and support both accessed and wanted by non-prescribed AAS users. Any support services or information designed to help people who use AAS were considered.
We identified 23 papers and one report for review, which indicated that AAS users access a range of sources of information on: how to inject, substance effectiveness, dosages and side effects, suggesting this is the type of information users want. AAS users sought support from a range of sources including medical professionals, needle and syringe programmes, friends, dealers, and via the internet, suggesting that, different sources were used dependent on the information or support sought.
AAS users tended to prefer peer advice and support over that of professionals, and access information online via specialist forums, reflecting the stigma that is experienced by AAS users. These tendencies can act as barriers to accessing services provided by professionals.
Support needs to be specific and targeted towards AAS users. Sensitivity to their perceptions of their drug-use and the associated stigma of being classified in the same sub-set as other illicit drug users is relevant to facilitating successful engagement.