London, Nov 30 (UNI) In order to make themselves attractive to girls, teenagers as young as 12-year-old have started taking muscle building steroids without realising about health hazards they become exposed to, experts have warned.
School children who regularly abuse the drugs, traditionally associated with athletes, bodybuilders and security guards, have no idea that they can make their testicles wither, enlarge their chests or cause acne and sterility, Advisory Council on the misuse of drugs suggest.
About 200,000 people say they have used steroids, with 42,000 taking them at least once a year and 20,000 taking them every month.
Sports administrators fear there will be a boom in use in the run-up to the Olympic Games in London in 2012.
Lord Adebowale of the council said yesterday, ''I am concerned by the lack of information about the risks they face in using them.
This stuff isn't being used just by people who want to be athletes, but by people who want to be in boy bands and get girls.'' The council's chairman Michael Rawlins said there was emerging evidence that anabolic steroids were causing aggression. ''I am really worried about that,'' The Independent quoted him as saying.
Mr Rawlins explained that just a teaspoon-full of gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), known as ''club drug'', can leave a victim heavily sedated and vulnerable to sexual assault. Its effects are similar to gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), the ''date-rape'' drug which was outlawed in 2003.
The Council has planned to alert the Government about its ''grave concerns'' about the issue.