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An exploratory study of image and performance enhancement drug use in a male British South Asian community

Van Hout, MC and Kean, J (2015) An exploratory study of image and performance enhancement drug use in a male British South Asian community. International Journal of Drug Policy, 26 (9). pp. 860-867. ISSN 0955-3959

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Background: Consumerism of image and performance enhancement drugs (IPEDs) is a world-wide public health concern. Given anecdotal reporting of increased normalisation of IPED use and uptake of British South Asian male IPED users at UK needle and syringe exchange services, the study aimed to explore use of IPEDs among this under-researched ethnic group.
Methods: 20 in depth interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of British South Asian males attending harm reduction outreach in the North East of England. The interviews explored motives for use of IPEDs, sourcing routes, information seeking, injecting behaviours and cultural and community sensitivities around IPED use among this group. The data was collected and analysed using the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis approach (IPA).
Results: Motives for use centred on the achievement of enhanced definition and density of muscle, and improved recovery from training and injuries. All participants reported initial stimulation of interest and triggers to seek information on IPEDs due to social media, community and peer messages. Diverse forms of IPED use were described, with rational and moderated use common among older participants. In contrast younger participants adopted more excessive use in seeking short cuts to attaining muscle size. Sourcing of androgenic–anabolic steroids (AAS) and growth hormones from originating countries (Pakistan, India) was reported, along with diversification of entrepreneurial activity into IPED dealing networks. Sellers were generally reported to provide effective and reliable products and mentoring to inexperienced users. Group injecting practices were common. IPED use was observed by some as health promotion medium within religious contexts. Crime deterrence and drug abstinence occurred for some while involved in AAS cycles.
Conclusions: The study is intended to contribute to health policy and practice debate around the targeting of dedicated education, outreach and harm reduction for ethnic groups engaged in IPED use.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 11 Medical And Health Sciences, 17 Psychology And Cognitive Sciences, 16 Studies In Human Society
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Public Health Institute
Publisher: Elsevier
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2018 10:11
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2023 12:31
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2015.03.002
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/9682
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