CHARTS OF THE DAY: Australia's Illegal Steroid Trade Is Exploding, And Could Be Fuelling Street Violence

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The term “alcohol-fuelled violence” is increasingly under question in the debate about what has driven the apparent rise in one-punch attacks on Sydney’s streets.

Some have pointed to increased use of steroids (and ice) by young men, which can cause heightened aggression, as a potential cause.

These charts show the stunning increase in the volume of steroids being detected by authorities at the Australian border in recent years.

These steroids would include some of the performance-enhancing substances so widely canvassed in last year’s revelations of widespread doping in professional Australian sport.

But even with that, and factoring in some developments like more focus on the substances and improved detection methods, there’s not much difficulty sorting the signal from the noise in these charts, from the Australian Crime Commission. Steroids and hormones, including testosterone, have suddenly started coming into Australia in unprecedented volumes.

First, there’s the total number of hormone and steroid seizures over a decade – from just over 1000 to almost 9000 last year.

Break it down between hormones and steroids, and you see steroids make up the bulk of what was found but hormones are quickly on the rise.

Now to seizures of the substances, seen by number and by weight. While the number of seizures was roughly the same between 2010-11 and 2011-12, the weight of the seizures tripled.

And while the number of steroid seizures went down in 2011-2012, the amount seized in NSW more than doubled and leads all other states by a large margin.

And here’s how they get into the country – overwhelmingly through the mail, possibly sourced from overseas websites offering the substances. A side note here: the federal government announced an $88 million package today to fund increased mail and cargo monitoring by Customs.

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