"Creating a bridge between public health and drug policy in the context of AAS would be a significant step towards providing adequate healthcare to this, often overlooked, group of substance consumers (Dunn et al., 2023; Piatkowski et al., 2022, 2023a). The risk environments framework provides a theoretical foundation for doing so (Rhodes, 2002), emphasising the importance of enabling contexts and resources in advancing harm reduction (Duff, 2009, 2011). Substance use, including AAS, is influenced by various interacting factors within a social context. Hanley Santos and Coomber (2017) indicate that patterns of AAS use among consumers varied based on their motivations, prior knowledge, and experiences. Many users had limited knowledge about AAS before starting their use, relying on information from peers or suppliers, which was sometimes inaccurate or incomplete (Hanley Santos & Coomber, 2017). As Hanley Santos and Coomber (2017) suggest, when developing interventions targeting AAS use, it is crucial to consider the broader context (e.g., motivations and experiences). Therefore, we extend this study by investigating how individuals' social contexts and cultural interpretations of risk practices shape their engagement with and perceptions of drug checking services, aiming to enhance our understanding of the complexities surrounding risk behaviours and informing drug policy and practice in the context of drug checking. While there is some integration of AAS consumers in harm reduction, predominantly through needle service provision (Kimergard & McVeigh, 2014; Piatkowski, Hides et al., 2022), ensuring the delivery of sterile injecting equipment should be regarded as a minimal requirement (Bates et al., 2021), Scholars have suggested harm reduction frameworks should expand to encompass a comprehensive range of harm reduction interventions that address the needs of individuals using AAS throughout their entire usage cycle, including those who opt for temporary or permanent cessation of use (Bates et al., 2021; Bates & Vinther, 2021). Therefore, further establishing the position of AAS within harm reduction frameworks can facilitate an alliance between public health policy and AAS consumers."


Piatkowski T, Puljevic C, Francis C, Ferris J, Dunn M. "They sent it away for testing and it was all bunk": Exploring perspectives on drug checking among steroid consumers in Queensland, Australia. Int J Drug Policy. 2023 Jul 21;119:104139. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2023.104139. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37481876.