Image and Performance Enhancing Drugs


Dr Greg James (GP in Urgent Care in Gwent)

Set up the SWIPED Project in Newport with Joanne Hughes, Mike Mallett and Rhys Evans to screen IPED users

I decided to take a little time away from frontline medicine during my early training years, to widen my experience with Pre-hospital care and one of the few things I did during this time was volunteer as a team doctor for a few different sports teams.

It was during this time, I quickly found myself out of my depth with the volume and complexity of questions I received in relation to Image and Performance Enhancing Drugs (IPEDs).  I, like many of you reading this, had only encountered a very few individuals who had engaged with the use of these substances and rather naively, thought the use to be limited to the most hardened competition bodybuilders.

Becoming immersed in college and university sports opened my eyes to the voracity of appetite for these substances.  Not just this, apparent was the lack of evidence and information about the subject, the abundance of assumptions from all parties involved and most alarming, at best a lack of training and at worst, sheer terror from the medical community in supporting this patient cohort.

Since starting to gather information and work with this patient cohort, I have been able to share insights with the Expert Group Panel in Public Health, the military, the Prison Service, schools, colleges and a variety of healthcare professionals throughout various points in their training.

The service users (patients) are for the most part, engaging and very interested in health and wellbeing.  As avid gym-goers, most have a forensic approach to exercise and diet.  You may not be able to dissuade them from taking these substances, but being able to monitor and support them as we would a smoker or alcohol user is vital to see looming disaster in their healthcare, long before it becomes a life-limiting problem.

I hope you find this module useful and helpful, this subject has become close to my heart and I am always happy to take questions. 

Thanks for coming to learn more

Dr Greg James

This module was written by Dr Greg James with contributions from Elliot Phillips (Medical Student) and Daniel Hattam (Medical Student).


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