New Brunswick

Steroid use a growing trend in N.B.

The quantity of anabolic steroids seized in a recent Fredericton drug bust is creating a lot of buzz in local weight rooms.

The quantity of anabolic steroids seized in a recent Fredericton drug bust was no shock to people who work out in local weight rooms.

Last week, police seized anabolic steroids, along with cocaine and marijuana from a number of businesses and homes as a part of Operation Jellybean, a two-year investigation by the RCMP and Fredericton police into cocaine trafficking operations in New Brunswick.

Gym-goer Jason McVicar, who's been lifting weights for six years, said he's not surprised police found steroids in the city and that it's easy to spot peoplewhotake steroids to build muscle.

"You never say, 'Oh are you doing steroids?' But you can pretty much tell," McVicar said, "You always have the jokes: You can tell who does steroids because their head is too big for their body."

McVicar says the drug can be tempting to those who want to quickly beef up.

"I've known guys I've gone to high school with, who have been my size pretty much throughout their whole lives, and then one year, all of a sudden, they're like three times the size, they're lifting three times the weight you can lift," McVicar says.

"The only thing that's on their mind is the immediate future— you know, 'How good can I look this summer?'"

But this quick fix can have long-term effects, such as liver problems, high blood pressure, baldness and impotence.

Despite the dangers, police say there is a significant black market steroid trade in the region.

Sgt. Luc Breton, Drug Awareness Co-ordinator with the New Brunswick RCMP, says bodybuilders who take steroids use between two and 10 times what doctors might prescribe, powerful doses their bodies can't absorb properly. For those starting at a young age, the effects are even worse.

"A young person at the age of Grade 12 that uses steroids, that would probably stop them from growing because of the steroids they're using," Breton said.

It's only illegal to traffic steroids, and steroid users caught without a prescription could have the drug seized, Breton says, but they wouldn't face charges for simple possession.

Still, gym-goer Lee Clayworth says his reasons for not taking steroids are health-related.

"I have no aspiration of being big and large," Clayworth said. "I could never inject anything into my own body, if you're taking intravenous steroids and I don't want a failed liver by taking pill forms of steroids."

No charges have been yet been laid in Operation Jellybean, as police continue to investigate.