The aim of this study was to explore and describe total drug use among anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) users and the reasons given for the use of these drugs. The study was based on semi-structured interviews and questionnaires involving 32 patients who were attending an addiction centre in Orebro, Sweden, for AAS use. The results indicated that a history of polysubstance use among the patients was frequent. Over half were using drugs of abuse and also taking various other pharmaceuticals. Almost half of the patients took human growth hormones, and almost half of the interviewed persons were drinking alcohol to a hazardous or harmful extent. The most common reason given for taking AAS and other hormones was to increase muscle mass and strength, but some participants also used insulin as a means of losing fat. Cannabis was used to improve sleep, heroin to decrease pain and amphetamine to increase endurance and burn fat. Our data suggest that most of the current AAS users who have been admitted to a treatment programme are multiple drug users with polysubstance dependence. The study stresses the importance of carefully examining total drug use as part of the assessment regimen for this group.

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