Steroid dealer dishes facts on industry
A dealer in illegal anabolic steroids has revealed the ins and outs of the black market trade.
The dealer runs his business through a public Facebook account and has been supplying anabolic steroids to customers in New Zealand and Australia since October last year. He agreed to speak on the condition that he would not be identified.
"I am using a number of host masks that change every 30 seconds and over 100,000 IP addresses, but I am still wary of the risks involved," he says.
His operation is a well-oiled machine. His Facebook page is updated regularly with new products, advice and discount offers such as the 20 per cent off Christmas special.
Customers pay him via a secure Western Union transaction.
"I have people asking to meet up so they know I am legitimate. I say ‘take the risk, I am'."
He says he went from using gear (steroids) to dealing when black market prices proved too expensive.
"I researched for months on end, but the prices were ridiculous so I imported from overseas for less than a quarter of the price."
Steroids in pill, patch, cream and injectable forms are readily available in countries with poorly enforced drug policies.
Clandestine labs have also been uncovered by police both here and in Australia.
He says the most reputable manufacturers come from Thailand, Mexico and Britain.
"The stuff I get is genuine pharmaceutical product. I wouldn't trust any UGL (under ground lab) products. To me that's unsafe and you don't really know what they are putting into it. I have been overseas twice to visit my supplier and the pharmacy."
While the illegal trade is well established in most Western countries, he says dealers in New Zealand are still charging big dollars.
"I am talking 300 per cent mark up.
"Locals here are robbing people plainly as an earner."
A standard vial of Sustanon, an injectable form of testosterone, is being peddled for up to $300, but he says the cost to purchase direct from the supplier is just $25.
Judging by demand, he says steroid use is becoming more and more common.
"I am not into doing ridiculous orders, I'm only doing enough with a marginal profit so that I can cycle [use] myself for free."
Massey University exercise prescription lecturer Matthew Barnes believes the rise in steroid use here may be linked to the impact of social media.
"There is this whole aesthetics movement - similar to bodybuilding.
"Guys are posting photos and almost homoerotic videos of themselves and their friends working out on YouTube and Facebook."
Online depictions of muscular young men and women bragging about their gym routines are putting pressure on others to reach the same level, he says.
"They follow their role models on the internet, many of whom talk openly about their steroid use.
"If they want to look like them they too are going to take that risk."
Part of the appeal, Dr Barnes says, is that steroids seem like a quick fix.
"Guys just need to do the work. It's common sense as with any drug. Like alcohol, it's great when you're using it, but it can have horrific long-term effects on your health."
Side effects and horror stories are not enough to put him or his customers off, the dealer says.
Unlike other recreational drug users, he says steroid users tend to be more health-conscious.
"I don't class it as I am being a druggie.
"I am healthy, I don't smoke, drink or take any other drugs. Getting big is a bug, once you get to the size you aimed for it's like ‘I want to get bigger'. I call it ‘not-big-enough-itis'."
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- © Fairfax NZ News
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