Westminster clinic for steroid users responds to changing client demographic

News item posted: 19 June 2017

Turning Point runs the only specialist clinic in London for those who use performance and image enhancing drugs (such as steroids). The Smart Muscle clinic, part of the South Westminster Drug and Alcohol Service, provides advice, support, and a needle exchange. This can do much to prevent the spread of HIV and other blood-borne viruses, which are amongst the most serious risks faced by those who misuse these substances. 

Recently, Smart Muscle has seen a significant rise in the number of younger adults attending its services. This is in contrast to previous users of the services, who have generally been older men, engaged in body-building or similar activities. Some of the young adults who visit the service now lack the knowledge needed to control the risks associated with taking steroids and other similar substances. However, the service also offers advice on natural training and nutrition, and finds that many young adults are able to achieve their goals without using steroids or similar substances.

In a recent interview with the BBC, the service's Medical Team Leader, Roy Jones, agreed with recent calls, including from NICE, for sharps bins to be provided in gyms, but cautioned that this was not a complete answer to the issue of steroid use and that education was needed to combat the problems posed by the misuse of these substances:

 "Young people are often not even aware of the names of the drugs they are using. That's when there is the potential for side effects, so it's really important that the right information is easily available to them."

The Smart Muscle clinic is open every Wednesday night, from 6pm until 9pm., at 32a Wardour Street, W1D 6QR.