Bodybuilding Gyms Targeted as Steroid Havens in Denmark
Bodybuilding gyms are being called â€œhavensâ€ for anabolic steroid use in Denmark. Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark have identified up to fifty gyms where steroids are allegedly openly bought, sold and used within the confines of the gym.
The fitness centers have been labeled as â€œiron cavesâ€ where organized criminal groups specializing in the distribution of anabolic steroids, human growth hormone (hGH) and other doping substances allegedly operate with impugnity.
According to the Copenhagen Post, these â€œiron cavesâ€ have big bodybuilders roaming around these gyms carrying syringes full of steroids presumably ready to inject the drugs in between sets. The toilets are full of used syringes and the gyms have very big dumbbells weighing over 200 pounds.
Kasper Lund Kirkegaard, a researcher with Idrættens Analyseinstitut (DIF), confirmed the Copenhagen Post’s account.
“Several sources from the fitness culture have told me that it is not unusual to find syringes in the toilets,” according to Kirkegaard. “…There is typically a distribution, resale and organised recruitment network bringing together new potential clients inside these centres.â€
The final nail in the coffin in the demonization of hardcore bodybuilding gyms in Denmark is the gyms’ refusal to allow anti-doping respresentatives on the premises to stake out potential steroid users! These commercial gyms have denied access to Anti-Doping Denmark (ADD). ADD is the national agency in charge of enforcing the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code. Apparently, WADA rule are not restricted to elite athletes that are under the jurisdiction of the WADA code. The average bodybuilding gymrat, with no aspirations of competing, is expected to follow the WADA anti-doping code in Denmark as well.
“Strict rules are not a characteristic of ‘iron caves’ that allow steroid use and opt out of visits by the anti-doping organisation,” said Kirkegaard. “It is obvious that the police need to target these places.”
At the moment, targeting steroid users is not a priority for the local police according to Copenhagen Police Commissioner Steffen Steffensen.
“Doping is not an organised crime area that we are targeting,” Steffensen said.
Unfortunately, this may soon change. Government officials have been advocating greater police involvement in the crackdown on steroid users and the gyms where they work out.
Justice minister Morten BÃ¸dskov confirmed that the Danish government plans to increase the sentencing penalties for steroid use later this year. Instead of facing two years in jail for steroid use, bodybuilders will soon face up to six years in jail for steroids.
Culture minister Marianne Jelved hopes the increased penalties for steroid users will encourage police to start policing gyms more aggressively. She believes this will provide the Copenhagen Police with greater incentives and more powerful tools to address the buying and selling of steroids within commercial gyms.
Government officials in Denmark are happy that their steroid penalties will soon be as draconian as the steroid laws in Norway and Sweden.