The idea to have macho bodies is ruining the youth in the area as they have taken to the use of steroids. Unaware of their side effects, they go in for a high intake of these drugs. In order to tone up their body, the youth prefer the drugs easily available at chemist shops. Since these drugs have not earned a bad name unlike contraband drugs, chemists do not hesitate to give it to customers.
Among the widely used steroids, betamethasone, prednisolone and hydrocortisone are the preferred choice of the youth as their prices are relatively lower. Since the drugs do not show instant side effects, the youth also recommend these to like-minded friends.
Side effects like osteoporosis are ignored by the youth who want a well-built body at any cost; suggestions by experts fall on their deaf ears.
"I have been taking betamethasone like my other friends in the gym as it has given a good shape to my body," says Montu of Sujanpur near here. "Who cares about the side effects, I have not seen them till now," he claims. "I have heard that the bones get weak, but I am taking it for a short period as I am in a hurry to participate in a body-building contest," he says.
Sandeep Bhagat, a body builder, says, "For competitions, we need instant results, so protein powders and steroids meet our demand. We cannot depend on bananas and milk, but these supplements help us win contests. As these give us instant results, we ignore the side effects."
Dr Vijay Arora, former assistant civil surgeon, says the youth should know the harmful side effects of these life-saving drugs. He says since these drugs are used as the last resort to treat a patient, the resistance developed by the continual use of steroids can even lead to the death of a patient. Dependence on steroids is bad and should be checked by educating youngsters at schools and colleges, he adds.Even in case of an emergency, doctors give these drugs but they do not discontinue it all of a sudden as the drug dosage is reduced gradually, he says.
Meanwhile, District Chemists Association president Rajesh Mahajan claims that in Pathankot chemists sell medicines only on a doctor's prescription. He says these youth must be arranging these drugs from outside. He says the association will help organise camps to educate youth to stop the misuse of steroids.