Ireland Does Not Have a Major Steroid Problem Contrary to Government Reports

The quantity of anabolic steroids seized by Irish customs dropped dramatically in 2018.

The Irish Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) revealed that customs seizures of anabolic steroids dropped dramatically in 2018. Irish Customs seized almost 80% fewer muscle-building drugs than the agency did in 2017.

The Irish Revenue’s Customs Service and An Garda Síochána seized 98,055 units of anabolic steroids in 2018. The steroid units included all forms of anabolic steroids including tablets, capsules and vials.

The quantity was no where near the 449,411 units of steroids seized in 2017. In fact, it was about 78% less. The 2018 steroid seizures were comparable to the 2016 seizures of 109,006 units.

If more steroids seized means a bigger problem, less steroids seized should mean a smaller problem.

The data clearly suggest that the huge haul in 2017 was an aberration rather than a true indicator of any dramatic increase in steroid use. In fact, the 2017 numbers were elevated in no small part due to a single large seizure of steroids.

The Irish government used the eye-popping 2017 increase to justify the need for spending a ridiculous amount of money on the “Zero Gains” national steroid education campaign.

The Zero Gains campaign was launched in October 2018. The HPRA specifically cited the record 449,411 steroid seizure as justification for the campaign. This allowed government officials to sensationalize a 10-fold increase in steroid detentions since 2015.

The HPRA was not willing to back down from the urgency of the steroid “problem” now that the steroid detentions have dropped so precipitously.

HPRA director of compliance John Lynch cautioned that the misleading 2017 statistics did not change anything. Steroids were still dangerous and the “Zero Gains” campaign was still needed.

“We remain concerned that members of the public are continuing to put their health at significant risk by buying medicines from unverified and unregulated sources,” Lynch insisted. “Analysis of the figures shows that there is a continuing and worrying trend of consumers in Ireland seeking to source illegal prescription medicines.”

An objective analysis of the figures is more likely to indicate that steroid seizures are a very poor indicator of the actual steroid use in Ireland.


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