Congratulations to Orlanda Harvey, PhD student in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences on her PhD publication “Support for people who use Anabolic Androgenic Steroids: A Systematic Scoping Review into what they want and what they access” in the Open Access journal BMC Public Health . Since there is a paucity of research on support for people using Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS), this article searched and synthesised 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.
This systematic scoping review 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.
The authors argue that AAS users tended to prefer peer advice and support over that of professionals , and access information online/specialist fora, reflecting the stigma that is experienced by AAS users. These tendencies can act as barriers to accessing services provided by professionals. The paper concludes that 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.
- Harvey, O., Keen, S., Parrish, M., van Teijlingen, E. (2019) Support for people who use Anabolic Androgenic Steroids: A Systematic Literature Review into what they want and what they access. BMS Public Health 19: 1024 https://rdcu.be/bMFon
Congratulations to Orlanda Harvey on the publication of her paper ‘Shades of Grey’: The Ethics of Social Work Practice in Relation to Un-prescribed Anabolic Androgenic Steroid Use. Orlanda Harvey is a PhD student in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences with a research interest in image and performance enhancing drug (IPED) use. Her paper will be published in Practice: Social Work in Action.
This paper highlights ethical dilemmas that social workers face when assessing risk in relation to those using substances. It explores how legislation and societal factors can impact not just on people’s choices and decisions but also on their ‘vulnerability’ and access to services. Vulnerability, a contested term, is linked, in this paper, to assessment of risk. There are ethical issues that arise when assessing risk with people who use Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) from both service user and professional perspectives. These ethical issues concern a person’s right to choose whilst making potentially harmful decisions. The paper argues that using substances such as AAS in and of itself does not suffice to make a person vulnerable but this does not mean that people using AAS are not in need of support. It suggests that there may be some groups of people who are more at risk to starting AAS use and that social workers should be aware of these. It also recommends the need for further qualitative research to understand the reasons for starting use and support to help people stop using AAS.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen