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      are steroids legal in australia

      Are Steroids Legal in Australia?

      The question of whether steroids are legal in Australia has gained prominence in recent years due to their increased popularity.

      Each state and territory have specific laws governing the possession, use, and distribution of anabolic and androgenic steroidal agents, generally classifying them as prohibited or controlled substances with varying penalties for offences.

      These penalties can range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the quantity involved and the nature of the offence.

      What are anabolic steroids?

      Anabolic steroids are synthetic hormones that mimic male hormones, particularly testosterone. They are also scientifically known as anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS).

      These drugs are commonly used to promote muscle growth, enhance strength, and reduce recovery time after injuries. It is available in forms such as oral tablets, gels, or liquids. Anabolic steroids differ from corticosteroids, which are used to treat conditions like arthritis or asthma.

      Are Steroids Legal in Australia?

      Steroids are illegal in Australia without a prescription. Doctors can prescribe anabolic steroids to treat medical conditions such as delayed puberty, low testosterone levels, muscle loss due to cancer or AIDS, and certain types of breast cancer and anemia. However, some people use them illegally to improve athletic performance, appearance, or body image. In these contexts, anabolic steroids are referred to as performance and image-enhancing drugs and are sometimes called ‘roids,’ ‘gear,’ or ‘juice.’

      Anabolic steroids are prohibited in competitive sports, and their use can lead to fines, suspensions, or permanent bans.

      Penalty for Possession of Steroids

      The penalties for possession of anabolic steroids are:

      • NSW: 2 years of imprisonment or a fine of up to $2,200 under section 10 of the Drug (Misuse and Trafficking) Act 1985 (NSW);
      • Queensland: less than 50 grams carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment; 50 grams or more carries 20 years jail; and 5kg or more carries 25 years jail under the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987;
      • Victoria: one-year imprisonment and/or a $5,769.30 fine pursuant to the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981;
      • South Australia: 2 years imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine under the Controlled Substances Act 1984;
      • Western Australia:  2 years imprisonment and/or a $2,000 fine pursuant to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981
      • Tasmania: 2 years imprisonment and/or a $9,750 fine under the Misuse of Drugs Act 2001;
      • Northern Territory: 50 penalty units for less than the traffickable quantity (depending on the type of steroid this can be from 2.4g to 32g); 14 years imprisonment for a commercial quantity under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1990;
      • Australian Capital Territory: 6 months imprisonment and/or an $8,000 fine under the Crimes Act 1900 (ACT).

      You can contact an experienced drug possession lawyer if you have been charged with an offence involving steroids. In some circumstances, you can avoid a conviction even if you plead guilty.

      Penalty for Supply and Importation of Steroids

      The penalty for supplying steroids is based on the quantity:

      QuantityMaximum Penalty
      Less than 50 grams15 years imprisonment or 2000 penalty units or both
      Not more than 50 grams15 years imprisonment or 2000 penalty units or both
      Not more than 500 grams15 years imprisonment or 2000 penalty units or both
      Not more than 750 grams15 years imprisonment or 2000 penalty units or both
      Not more than 5 kilograms15 years imprisonment or 2000 penalty units or both
      More than 5 kilograms15 years imprisonment or 2000 penalty units or both
      Supplying prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis20 years imprisonment or 3500 penalty units or both

      Importing steroids is an offence punishable by imprisonment for 5 years and/or 1,000 penalty units under s233BAA(4) of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth).

      Defences

      Defences to possession and supply of steroids include;

      • You had a valid prescription;
      • Identification: police cannot prove you were the offender;
      • Illegal search: police searched you without authority;
      • Exclusive possession: police cannot exclude another person having custody and control of the steroids;
      • Duress: you were forced to commit the offence;
      • Necessity: your actions were necessary in the circumstances.

      A specialist lawyer for drug charges will be able to assess your case and advise you whether you have any defences available to you.

      Can a doctor prescribe steroids?

      Yes, a doctor can prescribe anabolic steroids to treat various medical conditions. These include hormone-related issues such as delayed puberty in males and low testosterone levels in individuals with testicular disease or pituitary failure.

      Anabolic steroids may also be prescribed to replace muscle loss due to conditions like cancer or AIDS and to treat certain types of breast cancer and anemia.

      While some athletes, bodybuilders, and individuals seeking enhanced physical performance or improved body image may misuse anabolic steroids for muscle growth, strength increase, and faster recovery, it is important to use them correctly under a doctor’s guidance to ensure safety.

      Why are steroids illegal?

      Steroids are illegal in Australia due to the numerous negative physical and psychological health consequences associated with their misuse.

      Excessive and inappropriate use of steroids can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, acne, skin infections, liver damage, tendon ruptures, premature baldness, and stunted bone growth in adolescents.

      Psychologically, steroid use can result in addiction, mood disorders, and body image issues. Additionally, many illicitly manufactured steroids are sourced from the black market, posing risks of adverse reactions due to tainted products.

      Steroid Use in Australia Statistics

      The Australian National Drug Strategy Household Survey revealed that non-medical anabolic steroid use nearly tripled over an 18-year period.

      Australian high school surveys of self-reported anabolic steroid use report rates ranging from 1.2 to 3.2 per cent for males and 0.2 to 2.0 per cent for females.

      Steroid use statistics reveal that:

      • 0.8% of Australians aged 14 years and over have used steroids one or more times in their life.
      • 0.2% of Australians aged 14 years and over have used steroids in the previous 12 months.
      • 2% of 12 to 17-year-olds have tried non-prescribed performance-enhancing drugs to improve sporting ability, increase muscle size or improve appearance.

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