Drug labs churn out anabolic steroids; “Major health risk,” says prosecutor

Performance-enhancing drugs seized by police in the Hague on Oct. 16, 2014 (photo: Politie)Steroids seized by police in the Hague on Oct. 16, 2014 (photo: Politie)

It seems that drug criminals are now also making anabolic steroids. A drug lab the police dismantled in Rotterdam in April was found to contain banned hormones used in bodybuilding drugs. A spokesperson for the Public Prosecutor called it a "major health risk".

"The materials were mixed under unsanitary conditions. If you produce anabolics in that way, it is a major risk to the health of the users. They ultimately do not know what they are injecting or swallowing", the Public Prosecutor spokesperson said to broadcaster NOS. "We have not previously encountered this combination."

According to the broadcaster, the police came across the drug lab by chance during an investigation into stolen cars used in assassinations. This investigation led them to a resident of Spijkenisse. The police discovered that this man and another Spijkenisse resident were running a drug lab in a warehouse on Kaasmakerstraat in Hoogvliet.

The police raided the lab on April 18th It was initially believed that the lab only produced ecstasy and amphetamines, but further investigation by the Netherlands Forensic Institute found that the suspects were also making anabolic steroids.

The suspects were distributing the steroids through seven websites. The Police discovered extensive records on hundreds of customers.

Herman Ram of the Doping Authority is shocked about the discovery. "It is always concerning if these types of drugs are made illegally, but now you see a mix of crime and possibly also a mix of substances." he said to the broadcaster. He believes that tackling the trade in anabolic steroids should be given higher priority.

According to Ram, the health risks associated with illegally produced anabolic steroids are substantial. "As user you run a risk. Sometimes it involves higher concentrations than stated on the packaging, or simply contains very different substances. This can lead to severe heart and liver problems."