HC Deb 22 June 1992 vol 210 cc23-4W
Mr. Hargreaves

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when his Department last reviewed the proposal to change the drug classification category of anabolic steroids to make possession of such substances without prescription a criminal offence; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Jack

[holding answer 19 June 1992]: Anabolic steroids are prescription-only medicines in the United Kingdom. Under the Medicines Act 1968 it is an offence to sell steroids or to possess them for the purpose of sale, without a licence.

Under the provisions of section 45(8) of the Act, a person found guilty of such an offence is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £2,000; and on conviction on indictment to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.

Last year, the Government asked the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and the relevant trade and professional bodies for their views on the question of bringing anabolic steroids under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 which allows strict controls to be imposed on dangerous and harmful drugs. The view at that time of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and the other bodies consulted was that there was not a sufficiently strong case for bringing steroids within the controls of the 1971 Act.

However, we decided that further action on steroids was necessary. We brought forward a package of measures targeted particularly at the young and designed to tackle misuses in a number of ways, including additional research into the extent of steroid misuse; further research to improve the testing and detection methods used in sporting circles; an enhanced educational effort aimed mainly at schools and competitions; increased action against those who advertise steroids without a licence in contravention of the Medicines Act 1968.

We intend, subject to a suitable legislative opportunity, to change the law to make it an offence to supply anabolic steroids to minors.