x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Customs officers foil bid to smuggle bodybuilding drugs

Inspectors uncover 33,000 steroid injections at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

ABU DHABI // Customs officers and health inspectors have foiled an attempt to smuggle 33,000 steroid injections - typically used by bodybuilders - into the country, according to the state news agency, WAM. Inspectors uncovered the cargo at Abu Dhabi International Airport earlier this month when three people claiming to work for a fabric importing company asked for clearance for a container marked as containing clothes, fabrics and what they claimed was medication intended for personal use. When they checked the container, inspectors found a large quantity of a controlled hormonal drug in the form of injections that they said was intended for sale. The drugs, which were manufactured in Bulgaria, may have been counterfeit, according to health officials. There was no sign of any clothes or fabric. Amin al Amiri, executive director for medical practices and licensing at the Ministry of Health, said the "misleading behaviour" was "fraudulent and liable to legal prosecution".

"Having resorted to deceit and forgery in its bill of lading," the company concerned must be subject to the pertinent legal procedures, he said. Mr al Amiri said the drugs were a type of anabolic steroids scientifically labelled as "androgens" that are widely used among bodybuilders. "These androgens are indeed the most dangerous form of doping, as they have a rapid boosting effect on muscle volume and body stimulation," he added. "Men and women use them despite their dangers and side-effects, namely, hormonal imbalance leading to aggressive tendencies." The ministry has listed the products as a controlled drug that must be used in strictly controlled medical treatment.It is illegal to give them to patients without a specialist's prescription, which is then held at the pharmacy to make sure it is not reused.

The hormone injections seized at the airport were not registered with the ministry and had been imported from Bulgaria. Mr al Amiri told The National: "Those medications are illegal and not registered in the country. Some of the medication was counterfeit. "These people want to gain money illegally. The medicine is used in bodybuilder clubs to increase muscles and for illegal practices. It is dangerous because medications should only be prescribed by physicians. Usage may cause serious complications." *The National