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Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit x Jaar 2016 x

    It has become evident that the use of performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) is becoming an important societal issue, with ramifications extending beyond elite sport. A particular concern of authorities is that the majority of PIEDs are not legally obtained through a physician, by means of a prescription, but instead are illegally purchased on the illicit market. Currently little research exists on the illegal production and supply of PIEDs. However, understanding illicit PIED markets is important for policy decisions as knowledge on the production and supply of these substances may assist in designing law enforcement efforts, harm reduction initiatives and other measures. This article will, therefore, focus on the production and supply of PIEDs in Belgium and the Netherlands. Specifically, it will examine the general characteristics of PIED suppliers and the ways in which the behaviour of dealers are influenced by cultural factors. In particular the role of the legal profession of PIED suppliers is examined, taking the fitness industry as an example. This research is based on a content analysis of 64 PIED-dealing cases initiated by criminal justice agencies in the Netherlands (N=33) and Belgium (N=31). This article illustrates that the dealing of PIEDs is a rather specialised business and that not everyone has the suitable ties, opportunities and/or knowledge to enter the PIED market. Many PIED dealers are already devoted to a gym, sport, medical, or other subculture before becoming involved in dealing. Importantly, the embeddedness of PIED-related supply-side activities in legitimate professions, roles, and institutional settings form an integral part of the market culture these dealers engage in. We, therefore, need to examine the production, distribution and use of PIEDs, as embedded within a diverse combination of social, economic and cultural processes, in which none is simply reducible to the other.


dr. Katinka van de Ven
Dr. Katinka van de Ven is werkzaam als Lecturer in Criminology aan de Birmingham City University. Zij is daarnaast oprichter en coördinator van het Human Enhancement Drug Network (HEDN) (www.humanenhancementdrugs.com).
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