Bodybuilders Who Use Steroids are Different from Cokeheads Who Use Steroids

Bodybuilders who use anabolic steroids are categorically different from cocaine users who use steroids according to a new research study out of Australia. A new study may not have been really needed to prove the obvious differences between steroid-using bodybuilders and steroid-using cokeheads. But for the sake of science, we now have empirical proof that this is the case.

The study was conducted by researchers affiliated with the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). The researchers analyzed data obtained from the annual Australian Needle and Syringe Program Survey. The survey data is collected from steroid users who utilize the services of the 50 needle and syringe programs (NSPs) located throughout Australia.

The results revealed that steroid users can not be so easily stereotyped into a single homogeneous group. The stereotype of the hypermuscular bodybuilding meathead is not accurate and does not reflect the diversity and variability seen within this group.

First of all, it should be noted that steroid users who seek the services of NSPs are much more likely to be involved with recreational drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin to begin with. The study revealed that 59% of the steroid users who attended NSPs had recently used a psychoactive drug like cocaine.

NSPs were originally established with the primary goal of providing services to users of traditional recreational drugs of abuse. Steroid users have only recently started attending NSPs in increasing numbers over the past several years. So it makes sense that NSPs attendees are skewed towards the use of psychoactive drugs too.

The study revealed that psychoactive drug users were qualitatively different from bodybuilders who didn’t use psychoactive drugs. As a group, the cocaine users were less educated, more sexually promiscuous, younger and more likely to have injection-related side effects such as redness at the injection site.

These differences are of crucial importance to the treatment and services offered by NSP. The UNSW researches urged NSP staff to focus on individualizing treatment for steroids users based upon whether their steroid use is part of a lifestyle geared towards bodybuilding or whether their steroid use is part of lifestyle that involves several other drugs of abuse and/or other risky behaviors.

“There is a need to improve and tailor risk-related information and health messages and to build the capacity of the health sector, including NSP staff, to better meet the health needs of this diverse group,” according to UNSW researchers.


Bedo, S. (July 8, 2018). Study finds steroid users who also take ‘cocaine’ are younger, less educated and more promiscuous. Retrieved from

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