In response to a report that revealed officers routinely using state health benefits to acquire steroids, New Jersey Attorney General, Paula Dow announces plans to test police officers for illegal steroid use. Anabolic steroids and human growth hormone will be added to the list of tested substances.
The tests will be funded by local departments, which effectively means they can decide when the tests are carried out, and even whether or not to do them.
Departments are being encouraged locally to have officers self-report steroid usage.
Police officers who are found to have steroids or growth hormones in their blood will have to produce a doctor’s letter showing that a prescription was issued, and that the medication had a clinical reason. The letter must also state that the treatment will not undermine how that officer carries out his/her duties.
As soon as the reform is in place, the Attorney General will issue a communiqué explaining the administrative action and what penalties users may face if they illegally use or acquire steroids or human growth hormones.
According to a Star Ledger report last year, hundreds of police officers in New Jersey acquired steroids through Dr. Joseph Colao, who apparently made false diagnoses. Their prescriptions were filled through police public health plans.
The steroids and human growth hormones were used for enhance muscle growth.
A subsequent investigation found that officers’ medical claims appeared to go through without much scrutiny. Additionally, the investigation found that doctors who issued fake prescriptions were not penalized.
In 2010, the state of New Jersey spent $11.2 million covering human growth hormone (200 employees) and steroid prescriptions (6,000 employees).
The new legislation will facilitate the prosecution of police officers who use steroids illegally.
Attorney General Dow said:
“It is important that we strengthen oversight, regulation and investigation in order to discourage the improper use of steroids throughout New Jersey’s law enforcement community and ensure the public’s confidence. Law enforcement holds a special trust based on its authority and must be held to the highest standard of professionalism. These reforms tighten the safeguards against abuse not only by law enforcement, but by other members of public health plans and doctors who improperly prescribe these substances.”
“Attorney General Announces Strict Reforms to Curtail Improper Steroid Use Among Law Enforcement in New Jersey.”
Department of Law and Public Safety – Office of the Attorney Genera, New Jersey
Written by Christian Nordqvist