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Anabolic Steroids May Boost Crime Rate

But study finds no increase in violent criminality linked to their use

TUESDAY, Nov. 7, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- People who use anabolic steroids may be more likely to commit crimes involving weapons and fraud, but they don't seem to be more likely to commit violent crimes, Swedish researchers report.

The use of non-prescription steroids has been linked to changes in behavior and a number of psychiatric conditions, according to background information in the study.

"Case reports or survey studies of groups using anabolic androgenic steroids (e.g., bodybuilders) have described hypomania or manic episodes, depression or suicide, psychotic episodes and increased aggressiveness and hostility," writes a team from the University of Uppsala. "This aggressiveness appears to occasionally trigger violent behavior, sometimes even including homicide."

Their study, published in the November Archives of General Psychiatry, included 241 people averaging about age 20 years of age who tested positive for steroids, and another 1,199 people who tested negative.

Those who tested positive for steroid use were nearly twice as likely to have been convicted of a weapons-related crime and 1.5 times as likely to have been convicted of fraud.

Both groups had similar levels of convictions for violent crimes, sexual offenses or property crimes, such as theft and receiving stolen goods, the researchers found.

More information

The U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy has more about steroids.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Nov. 6, 2006
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