Whistleblower Leads to Australia Crackdown on Steroids in the Military
Whistleblower Leads to Australia Crackdown on Steroids in the Military By Millard Baker
Australia has been cracking down on anabolic steroid use by military personnel after numerous incidents in which soldiers were caught using and/or in possession of the performance-enhancing drugs. Most recently, the Australian Defence Force Investigation Service (ADFIS) and the Queensland Police Service initiated a large-scale investigation into steroid trafficking at the Lavarack Barracks in Townsville after a whistleblower reported that her ex-partner was using steroids. The whistleblower also alleged that several soldiers stocked up on steroids purchased in the Middle East, returned to Australia, and sold them at a profit.
A woman, who did not want to be identified, told the Bulletin she became caught up in the investigation after she found her ex-partner, a soldier, had been using steroids in their home.
She said she reported it to another soldier, only to find he was also caught up in drug use, and it was not until she reported it outside the Defence community that investigations began.
She said she did not want the investigation to be swept under the carpet so was speaking out, despite becoming the target of abuse after some soldiers implicated realised her involvement.
“When I reported this, because obviously they found out I’ve been talking to somebody, I was intimidated into leaving my home,” she said.
“I’ve had to move interstate with no help or support from anyone … they just didn’t seem to care what was going on.” She said it was common practice for some soldiers to buy steroids and other drugs while on duty in places like Afghanistan at cheaper rates, to use and sell at a profit once returning to Townsville.
An unidentified former senior commander in the Middle East told an Adelaide newspaper that personal trainers were to blame for the military’s steroid problems. The former military commander also told the newspaper that steroids cause “irrational” aggression and maybe even “fatal” aggression instead of the desired “rational aggression” sought by the military.
One former senior commander in the Middle East, who asked not to be named, said that the vast majority of problems with steroids could be traced to PT instructors.
“Many of them have been charged over time.” the ex-officer said.
The former commander said steroids were highly dangerous in an operational environment, where they could generate potentially fatal aggression.
“We need rational aggression,” he said. “If soldiers become irrational and obsessive about their physique it can be unhealthy and dangerous.”
The Australian Defence Force has a zero tolerance policy on the use of anabolic steroids. Earlier this year, they launched a “scare campaign” discouraging the use of anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs among military personnel. This was done in response to regular busts involving soldiers caught using and/or in possession of anabolic steroids.