When *Stan tried to stop using steroids he found professional advice to help make this happen was lacking, and the laws aimed at deterring people from using steroids was only making things worse.
I first started using steroids when I was 17 years old, after weight training for five years.
I used a whole range of anabolic steroids because I knew they worked and would allow me to achieve my goals of getting bigger, stronger and faster.
I was 18 years old the first time I was arrested for simple possession of steroids, which resulted in me being placed on a good behaviour bond.
I had also been diagnosed with body dysmorphia or “Bigorexia”, which is a reverse form of anorexia. Instead of seeing a muscly person in the mirror, all I would see was someone who was not big, strong and lean enough.
A condition of my good behaviour bond was that I receive mental health counselling for this disorder but I discovered there was no mental health program in place for recovery from steroid use.
Prior to my arrest I had sought help from doctors. I had been using steroids for six months and was happy with my body. I had tried quitting steroids “cold turkey” and found that I was suffering serious side effects such as depression, loss of libido and a lack of energy.
So I spoke to a local GP to see if he knew of any way I could wean myself off and come off for good. The doctor simply told me to quit cold turkey, despite me informing him that I had already tried this to no avail.
This doctor was unhelpful and put a note on my file that he did not want to see me in future as I was taking steroids.
The second time I was arrested for steroids, I was 19 years old. I was involved in the importation of steroids, which resulted in a suspended jail sentence.
After my second arrest I could not risk taking steroids again, so I sought the help of a new doctor who was able to monitor my hormone levels and allow me to restore my hormone function back to normal.
I cannot thank this doctor enough for helping me. After this protocol I have not noticed any negative health effects and I am back to my normal self, years later.
I am currently a successful member of the business community. I pay a large amount of tax and employ multiple people.
Had I been arrested in a state with harsher penalties, I would have been serving a three to four year long sentence and I would have gone down a negative path in life. Society would have spent money incarcerating me rather than being able to benefit from my success via the creation of new jobs and tax revenue for the government.
My opinions on steroids now are not negative in terms of the substances themselves, but rather on the way steroids and steroid users are treated in Australia.
Steroid users are different to other drug users in that they are taking steroids to enhance themselves and to better their life via the use of a substance as an aid or enhancement, as opposed to chasing a high.
The current situation in Australia where the drugs have been reclassified in QLD and NSW so they are in the same category as drugs such ice and heroin is a great miscarriage of justice, especially as there is no mental health program or support network available for those who are arrested.
Note: *Stan's name was changed. SBS does not endorse the use of illegal drugs.