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The deadly rise of dangerous drugs

Used to achieve a better body

Dylan Vox | March 09, 2007

Many countries are obsessed with body image and physical fitness. Whether it's endless dieting, chronic trips to the gym, or new wave workout plans, as a culture we are constantly striving to reach that perfect body.

But there is a new trend quickly rising up through the gay community in the quest to achieve the goal of a great body that may be dangerous. The drug culture has been almost commonplace as a recreational pastime, but now drugs are being used as a means of sculpting a perfect physique.

This begs the question: How far are we willing to go to improve the look of our bodies if for even for a short time, and what are some of the long term consequences if this new trend takes hold of our community?

Watching the models in magazines and in films has made people think that they have to be perfect to keep up. The bone thin girls have always given women something to compare themselves with and eating disorders are very prevalent among today's youth, but two of every ten people with eating disorders are men, which has demonstrated women no longer own the market on negative body image.

Steroid use has become increasingly more popular in athletic and gay culture as a means of enhancing performance in competition and more recently as a means of weight loss and body sculpting.

The International Olympic Committee has outlined strict guidelines about what sort of drugs will not tolerated during sanctioned events including everything from steroids to cough syrup, and the guidelines have been harshly enforced. Ironically, the Gay Games, which was established on the same basic principles as the Olympics, seems to apply a different standard when choosing to exercise its anti-doping policy.

The FGG has stated that it "does not condone the use of banned substances to enhance athletic performance in the Gay Games or for recreational purposes," however, the FGG is yet to apply the standards to participants across the board. One Gay Games athlete who wished to remain anonymous commented, "if drugs were prohibited at the competition there would not even be a competition." This statement seemed to reflect that the drug culture in the gay community is rampant.

Doctors have agreed that when artificial steroids are introduced into a male body, side effects are inevitable such as liver tumors, cancers, and high blood pressure, with resultant heart attacks and strokes, and prostrate problems. Men who abuse steroids can experience dramatic increases in their libido, and then, later, atrophy of testicles, enlarged breasts, reduced sperm count, and hair loss. Steroids also trigger fits of anger and violence that are popularly referred to as "roid rage." These are the side effects of steroids that people are familiar with, but the problem goes further than that.

Have you ever seen someone get to a point where their body is sheer perfection and then a few months later they have gotten so big that you wonder why they didn't just stop? This is a side effect which is not as documented that doctors warn about. Once a person starts using steroids they get bigger at a more rapid pace and their skin and organs are working harder to keep up with the growing muscle mass.

Unfortunately, when you end a cycle, your body naturally wants to return to its natural shape so you begin to lose size just as dramatically. As with any rapid weight loss the older you are the less resilient your skin is and once it has been stretched out it looses it's elasticity which leads to a hollow face and sagging appearance across the body. To combat that wasting look, models and athletes have to continue using the drug to avoid the shrinkage.

" It's a trap," says Dr. Trenton who has documented steroid use in body builders. "Maintaining a specific size is hard to do without abusing the steroids."

One of the popular drugs on the rise that help achieve the ripped body is known as "Clen". Clenbuterol is a beta-2 agonist and is used in many countries as a treatment for asthma. It is not FDA approved for medical use because it is a central nervous system stimulant, which acts like adrenaline. It shares many of the same side effects as stimulants like ephedrine.

Clen is used post cycle to aid in recovery. It allows the user to continue eating large amounts of food, without worrying about adding body fat. It also helps the user maintain more of his strength as well as his intensity in the gym or in a competition. Canadian Olympic Runner Ben Johnson was stripped of his medals because traces of a similar drug were found in his system.

Some bodybuilders and athletes swear by the drug, but as Dr. Trenton cautions there are risks involved. "Not everybody has the same body constitution, metabolism, etc� and abuse of any drug can have damaging and irreversible effects on a body."

Tom Katt Famed adult film star and sculpted beauty Tom Katt began body building in Atlanta, Georgia and his amazing physique was featured in over a dozen erotic videos. He also won several bodybuilding competitions in his career, but steroid use seemed to be a hindrance rather than help. "Ironically, all the years I competed taking steroids, I never won," he told the Dallas Voice. At 5-foot 7-inches tall and at one time bulking up to 255 pounds, the steroids detracted from his aesthetic appeal making him too big and too thick to compete.

Besides steroids, certain recreational drugs are also being used for body shaping. Crystal meth use has reached epidemic proportions in much of the country, and has been a growing problem in the gay community. Typically, people try it because they're looking for a higher high than they've found with other drugs. It's also emerging as a drug of choice among those seeking alternatives to over-the-counter weight loss aids.

A porn star, that we will call Johnny M for anonymity, discussed with me, his encounter with the dangerous drug, and his remarks were very typical of what seems to happen to those who begin using it.

"There is a lot of pressure to look great in this industry because there is always someone out there that is younger and looks better, " he said.

When asked about his first time using, Johnny told me that he had seen other stars who had used the drug and after a few months had suddenly developed a great set of abs because of the weight loss associated with the drug. "When you are on crystal you don't wanna eat and you wanna stay active which can quickly melt off the pounds."

The problem with this powerful drug is that it is dangerously addictive and benefits of great abs are greatly outweighed by the terribly destructive side effects. Ironically the drug which some are taking to enhance beauty has exactly the opposite effect. Sunken cheeks, missing teeth, bad skin, massive muscle loss, and frequent mood swings are all inevitable effects of the drug.

With the recent crack downs on internet sales of illegal drugs, which have implicated such major league sports stars as Evander Holyfield, Gary Matthews Jr., Jose Canseco, Jason Grimsley and Olympian Richard Rydze, there needs to be some alternative. There are websites, which offer legal alternatives, vitamins, and creatine supplements along with helpful advice, and training techniques to help get the body you want.

The glamour of the great body is also something that Hollywood has perpetuated that is even unachievable by the people in the pictures. I have seen images of myself and my friends airbrushed to the point that we are almost unrecognizable. Images are distorted, lines removed, skin tone evened, fat is replaced and even abs are drawn in which is great for the model, but for those looking at the picture the image can be extremely intimidating. Most importantly remember that everyone has flaws even the boys in the Abercrombie ads.

The key is to embrace those imperfections and realize that beauty and sexuality are both truly in the eye of the beholder.

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