$100 Million in Steroids Seized in Bangkok Drugs Bust

Through the haze of several poorly-translated Thai news articles, it appears as though some sort of drugs bust has occurred recently in Bangkok, with a one-storey apartment raided by Thai police in co-operation with the DEA on the 30th July. In what was labelled a "major mistake" the owner of the company and his employees “ran away to escape", although contraband valued at $100 million was seized. Bravo, say the police, the politicians and the press, another victory in the drugs war! What exactly was the lab producing?

According to dailynews.co.th it’s “the raw material used in sport to increase Hardness and strength of muscles (sic).” What could that be, you ask? Why, it’s anabolic steroids of course! Y’know, that filth those pesky bodybuilders pollute their bodies with? Bodybuilders, the scum you see lining the kerbs of every major city, always begging and thieving, too busy ‘shooting up’ to look after their health or support their kids. And it isn’t only their families that suffer from ‘dysfunction’ if you know what I mean... Yep, it’s time it got a little bit more difficult for those hardened criminals to find their fix, that’s for sure.

Although the news that thousands of tonnes of man-boob powder is now off the market can only really be considered welcome, we have been down this road before. If world governments are determined to add anabolic steroids to the list of drugs being fought in the drug war, then it can instantly be added to the list of drug war failures. The use of bodybuilding supplements is increasing in the UK despite its classification as a class C drug, where possession with intent to supply brings 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine. Steroid use has become so widespread that bodybuilders now outnumber heroin users at needle-exchange programmes in Wales. There are questions about whether outlawing all users is the best way to bring awareness about possible side-effects arising from anabolic steroid use such as liver damage, acne, baldness and mood disorders (Raoul Moat and the wrestler Chris Benoit both took steroids). The possible health benefits that may derive from steroid use, such as addressing involuntary weight loss in HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy, can presumably be best investigated under a blanket ban.

The owner of the lab appears to have been in charge of 9 of the biggest steroid distribution websites in the world, so that means that the next few months will see a global steroid drought on, if anything, an even bigger scale than the weed drought which always accompanies the week either side of the Notting Hill Carnival. This has been a source of considerable discomfort in the online bodybuilding community, with three articles and photos from the raid appearing since friday on popular website sorebuttcheeks.blogspot.com. The selling of fake steroids, which already flood the market and are known to contain drugs intended for bulking up cattle, is only likely to increase following the seizure. With bodybuilding websites now starting to sound like the drug policy reform movement, I guess that the only truly welcome news to emerge from this incident is that, in the bodybuilding lobby, world governments and the DEA may just have made themselves a literally powerful new enemy in the war against drugs.