An Ethnopharmacological Study of The Injecting Use of Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs (PIED) Volumes I & II

Rebekah Brennan

    Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    4 Downloads (Pure)


    Aim: This thesis aims to explore the practices, beliefs and values of individuals who inject performance and image enhancing drugs (PIED) through describing and analysing dynamics in online asynchronous interactions Background: As use of PIED attracts increasing clinical and research attention, knowledge with regard to the practices of individuals who use PIED is increasing. However, injecting as a concept within PIED culture is rarely studied. Methods: A systematic review was conducted using Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) guidelines. General and substantive theory concerning body ideals, technology, health and risk were used to guide data collection according to Layder’s adaptive theory. Online discussion forums (n = 8) were selected based on accessibility, relevance to the research question, highest level of traffic, activity and number of postings. The final data set of records was analysed using ethnographic content analysis and NVivo software and unique theoretical concepts developed. Results: Several empirically undocumented PIED injecting practices were discovered in the data for this study, including self-phlebotomy in individuals who inject AAS, “cocktail injecting” - injecting multiple PIED in a single syringe, homebrewing of AAS and use of DIY Botox and dermal filler kits. Individuals who inject PIED were seen in this study to be motivated by identity construction and selfhood. Gendered identity displays in the data demonstrated that injecting was related to concepts of empowerment and individualism. Conclusion: This doctoral research presents a study which gives an illustration of contemporary injecting PIED use as described within discussion forums. It gives an insight into the phenomenon of injecting in the context of PIED use and the functioning and dynamics of the online discussion forum space. Further research in this area is warranted, particularly as this relates to evidence informed and targeted harm reduction policies and effective public health interventions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Wells, John, Supervisor
    • Van Hout, Marie Claire, Supervisor
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2018


    • Performance enhancing drugs


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