Love Island fuels rise in steroid use among young men

There were a few things all the Love Island contestants had in common this year: alongside a unique vernacular and desire to find love (or fame), they all had incredibly toned physiques.

But much like women have long been influenced by the flat-stomached models and celebrities who grace our screens and magazines, body-consciousness amongst men is rising.

In fact, this has helped fuel a fourfold increase in steroid use last year, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics. 

Calvin Klein model Jamie Jewitt was a contestant on this year’s Love Island (Rex)

The number of 16 to 24-year-old men using anabolic steroids rose from 0.1 to 0.4 per cent between 2015-16 and 2016-17. Whilst still a small percentage, this means an extra 19,000 young men took steroids last year.

And they’re the only drugs to have seen such a drastic increase – in fact, most drugs have shown a decline in use.

The reason people turn to steroids is that it is believed they let you workout harder and help build muscles. However there are many well-known negative side-effects of steroids, including shrunken testicles, acne and mood swings.

For some young men, the pressure to bulk up is as heavy as the weights they’re lifting, and the chiselled torsos and muscles of men on TV shows such as Love Island is a huge contributing factor, according to Ian Hamilton, a lecturer in addiction at the University of York.

He believes we should be worried by the figures: “In some ways young men have been catching up with young women over the last few years, they are more sensitive and vigilant about how they should look and this is becoming more acute.” 

“I think it is to do with appearance and masculinity, and the messages we absorb through social media,” Hamilton told The Telegraph

He adds that steroids are becoming increasingly easy to purchase, which could be a contributing factor in why their usage is on the up.

New boys enter the Love Island villa…

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