Heavy Metal Gear by William Llwellyn
Anabolic Research Update
By William Llewellyn
Heavy Metal Gear
Underground gear is everywhere these days. In fact, these drugs are so widely available, they have changed the dynamic of illicit steroid trade itself. Up until several years ago, most of the steroids traded were either legitimate drug products that reached the market due to the efforts of gray market international traders and smugglers, or were copies of said-legitimate products foisted onto consumers by counterfeiters. These products were all very bulky, difficult to conceal and compared to other illicit drugs, far less profitable to smuggle for the volume and risk involved. Underground labs did exist decades ago, but they tended to be very small in number, and large in scale. The concept of the deep underground (homebrew lab) gear was almost unheard of 10 years ago.
The underground steroid business is thriving today, and is truly a cottage industry. Many smart dealers are finding there is much more money in producing these products themselves, even if on a small scale, then dealing with bulk shipments. Depending on the drug, a kilogram of steroid material can cost several thousand dollars, but can produce 1,000 units or more of pills or vials, for a profit of many tens of thousands of dollars, perhaps more. The powder can fit into a business-size envelope and generate a dealer the type profit that would previously require the selling of an entire van full of steroid boxes. Ultimately, these products will be made into the same type of bulky dosage units, of course, but this assembly takes place after the powder is well into the country, safely away from the eyes of U.S. Customs.
The process of running an underground lab may be fairly basic. Buy powders, buy packaging equipment, mix, label and finally, sell. But is this a good model for the end consumer? We need to remember that these are drug products; many meant to be injected directly into the body. An addiction to injectable narcotics often entails the user taking great risks with their health, often amplified by the use of “dirty” street drugs with unknown ingredients. With bulk steroid dealing now taking on a “smuggled powder model” similar to cocaine and heroin, one wonders if the same potential issues may arise. To test this notion, we sent 14 underground injectable steroid products into the lab. The products were from labs ranging in size from the very small to very large. The full test results will be in the next edition of ANABOLICS (9th Edition, 2009). Presented below are the results for perhaps the most important measure: heavy metal contamination.
This test specifically looked for the presence of toxic heavy metals such as lead, tin, mercury and arsenic. The results were not good, to say the least. More than 20 percent of the products (one in five) contained heavy metal contamination. The metals tested here are all known to pose specific threats to health when they accumulate in the body. Those metals considered inert (such as iron and aluminum) were not included. Heavy metals are common in chemical-manufacturing operations, but are normally removed through very careful product assembly and purification steps. They were likely found here because the raw materials used to make some of these steroids was simply made “cheaply,” without the expense needed to hit true drug-grade purity. This type of material could be considered “food grade.” Scary enough, it may fuel much of the underground market. Needless to say, the underground model may very well be responsible for bringing some high-quality products to consumers, but also some alarmingly low-quality ones.
Test Results: Heavy Metals Contamination
Sample Contamination Result
1. methandrostenolone None Detected (<0.002) PASS
2. testosterone enanthate None Detected (<0.002) PASS
3. testosterone enanthate None Detected (<0.002) PASS
4. testosterone propionate None Detected (<0.002) PASS
5. boldenone undecylenate Metals Found (>0.002) FAIL
6. testosterone cypionate None Detected (<0.002) PASS
7. boldenone undecylenate Metals Found (<0.002) FAIL
8. trenbolone hexahydro. None Detected (<0.002) PASS
9. testosterone cypionate None Detected (<0.002) PASS
10. methenolone enanthate Metals Found (>0.002) FAIL
11. testosterone cypionate None Detected (<0.002) PASS
12. nandrolone decanoate None Detected (<0.002) PASS
13. methenolone enanthate None Detected (<0.002) PASS
14. trenbolone enanthate None Detected (<0.002) PASS
Failure Rate: 21%
Steroids and Surgery
The steroid wisdom of the ages has usually been to discontinue taking steroids before surgery. This is due to their potential effects on blood clotting, specifically an ability to slow the clotting process and potentially increase the time necessary to heal a wound. But this old view may be changing a little bit. Recent studies have been pointing to recovery benefits when an anabolic steroid is given before surgery. For example, this latest study (Aging Male, 2008 Sep;11(3):123-7) examined the effects of nandrolone phenylpropionate (Durabolin) in older men undergoing prostate surgery (prostatectomy). The investigation looked at 54 men at a mean age of 70 years. Each was given a 100mg injection of nandrolone, or a sesame oil placebo, prior to the operation. The results showed that nandrolone decanoate significantly reduced post-operative urinary symptoms (difficulty urinating, sensation of full bladder), and also reduced pain at the site of incision. The patients using nandrolone were also generally more satisfied with their recovery process than those who were administered a placebo. It is still early for studies like this, but the results are very compelling. Who knows? Perhaps one day a shot of Deca-Durabolin will be prepared in the hospital as standard practice before many surgical procedures.
Injection Practices (Report)
Media stories about the potential horrors of steroid abuse often include warnings of HIV and hepatitis infection, which are admittedly common among IV narcotic abusers. But steroid users don’t share needles…at least this is what steroid users will constantly say to such assertions. Studies of this trait among the bodybuilding community, however, are surprisingly light. This month we do get to review a paper coming from National Alcohol and Drug Research Centre in Sydney, Australia, which used an extensive survey to examine the injection practices of steroid abusers in Australia (Drug Alcohol Review, 2008, 1-8). The study found that 5 percent of steroid users had admitted to sharing needles with another person at least one time in the past. Of course, any percentage is alarming. It was interesting to note, however, that all of the 5 percent had used other injectable narcotics. In other words, none of the people who were steroid users only had reported this extremely dangerous practice. That is good news that rational heads tend to prevail in the steroid community. It wasn’t all perfect, though. Approximately 13 percent reported they had reused their own needles (an unsanitary practice) and approximately 30 percent had shared vials or bladders with other people. Australia does have giant 500mL bladders of testosterone, but this really isn’t justification to share a vial with someone unless you can be absolutely sure new needles are being used to draw every time. As always, be safe!
Editor’s Note: Stay informed! William Llewellyn’s ANABOLICS 9th Edition (2009) will be shipping any day now. Reserve your copy of this monster steroid reference guide today by calling 888-828-8008. This month MD Readers receive 30% off the retail price! You must mention code ARU9 at the time of ordering to qualify.