fbpx The use of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) and other performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs): Patterns of use, motivations and opportunities for intervention | NDARC - National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre

The use of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) and other performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs): Patterns of use, motivations and opportunities for intervention

image - Istock 000011155366 Square
Date Commenced:
Expected Date of Completion:
Project Supporters:

Australian Government Department of Health

Project Members: 
image - Briony Larance Square
Adjunct Senior Lecturer
Ph 02 9385 0333
image - Lucy Burns Square 0
Honorary Associate Professor
Ph 02 9385 0258
image - Michael Farrell 0
Ph EA Tori Barnes: 02 9385 0292 / t.barnes@unsw.edu.au
image - Jcopeland Pb Award 1
Honorary Professor
Ph 02 9385 0231
image - Ndarc 018
Ms Ranira Moodley
Research Assistant
Project Main Description: 

This project aims to describe patterns of AAS and PIEDs use; where people are sourcing them from and why; users' experience of harms; and users' utilisation of health services. 


There are indicators that the small group who use PIEDs may be growing. There have been recent increases in number of Australian Needle and Syringe Program Survey (ANSPS) respondents reporting PIEDs as last drug injected.  

There have also been recent increases in detections of PIEDs at the Australian border – detections are now at the highest levels reported in the last decade. In addition, national steroid seizures and arrests have also increased and are the highest on record. 

  1. Describe the current patterns of AAS and other PIEDs use; 
  2. Examine how PIEDs users are currently sourcing these drugs and their views of current trends in price, purity and availability; 
  3. Examine the motivations for use and PIEDs users’ perceptions of benefits and risks; 
  4. Document current health service utilization and information-seeking; and 
  5. Examine the correlates of risky patterns of use and experience of harms. 
Design and Method: 
This study has two components:
  1. A literature review:  A review of recently published literature (2004 to date) will be conducted to inform the development of the questionnaires.  
  2. A quantitative survey of PIEDs users: There are two methods of participating in the survey. An in-depth quantitative survey will be conducted either face-to-face or by telephone with 150 people who have recently used AAS (outside a doctor’s prescription and/or for non-medical purposes) in New South Wales. To capture a wider range of the population, participants can fill out a brief quantitative internet based survey. The link to the survey is found below. 
To facilitate study recruitment and refine the survey tool, an Advisory Committee will be convened early in the project, made up of key stakeholders including NSP workers, interested researchers, personal trainers and regular gym goers. 

The survey of users is now open to participants at: http://www.surveys.unsw.edu.au/f/159500/100a/

This study will have the following outputs: 
  • Literature review published as a NDARC technical report 
  • PIEDs user survey findings published as an NDARC technical report 
  • Additional peer-reviewed publications will be submitted following the completion of the project; 
  • Findings will be presented at national conferences. 
Project Status: