10-year anniversary symposium Dutch outpatient AAS clinic

On the 16th of December 2021, the Dutch Doping Authority and the Spaarne Gasthuis (hospital) organized the 10-year "Anabolenpoli" Symposium. (Anabolenpoli being an abbreviated form of outpatient clinic for anabolic steroid users.)

The symposium was held in Haarlem, home of the first outpatient clinic. It was livestreamed and only a few people were able (or should I say, allowed) to attend, because of the corona measures that were still in place back then. I attended together with my friend Rob van Berkel.

The speakers included the two internist-endocrinologists that run the outpatient clinics for anabolic steroids; Drs. Pim de Ronde and Diederik Smit. They provided a brief history of the outpatient clinic and shared their experience of the patients they've seen over the (nearly) 12 years of running it. Dr. Diederik Smit also covered the results of the HAARLEM trial: a prospective study conducted by their clinic recruiting 100 anabolic steroid users. Herein, they performed various measurements before, during, and at two points after their anabolic steroid cycles.

Symposium Anabolenpoli
Dr. Pim de Ronde ready to hit the stage. (Rob van Berkel and I with front-row seats.)

The slides of the presentation held by Dr. Pim de Ronde can be found here, and the slides by Dr. Diederik Smit can be found here. (As the symposium was held in Dutch, so are the slides.)

At the end Dr. Pim de Ronde held a brief talk about the future of the outpatient clinic: looking at harm reduction and setting up a new prospective trial which centers around this. This trial is called the HARNAS trial and is already approved by the Medical Ethical Committee. The trial is expected to start somewhere during the course of this year.

I can highly recommend reading the research published by Drs. Pim de Ronde and Diederik Smit. Their research can be found on PubMed by following this link.

Other attending speakers were Anton van Wijk, head of Bureau Beke. Bureau Beke had established a report called "Sterk Spul" ("Strong Stuff") that mapped out the supply and trade of doping in the Netherlands, commissioned by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The slides can be found here.

Willem Koert discussed the quality of anabolic steroids in the Dutch scene. Willem Koert is a science journalist of the Dutch Doping Authority and the man behind the blog Ergogenics. They had tested a lot of anabolic steroid samples from participants from the HAARLEM trial. While heavy metals and other contaminations weren't found, only a small % of samples actually (roughly) contained as what was printed on the label. A lot of samples either missed the ingredient claimed on the label, were underdosed, or contained (several) other pharmacologically active substances (mostly other anabolic steroids). His slides can be found here.

Hans Wassink, spokesperson fitness of the Dutch Doping Authority, held a talk about the evolution of bodybuilding. Portraying how, since the '70s, bodybuilding evolved into a 'freakshow' of muscles. Leaving aesthetics behind and pursuing the quest to simply become as big as possible with the assistance of performance-enhancing drugs. Exposing themselves to (sometimes fatal) health consequences. His slides can be found here.

Since the symposium was streamed, all the talks can be viewed online, see this page from Eigen Kracht.