Steroid abuse by Law Enforcement Personnel
Steroid Abuse By Law Enforcement Personnel
A Guide For Understanding The Dangers Of Anabolic Steroids
Despite the illegality of taking steroids without a prescription and the known dangers of steroid abuse the problem continues to grow in the law enforcement community. In Minneapolis, a police sergeant was charged for possession of steroids. He admitted to being a user of steroids. In Miami, a police officer was arrested for the purchasing human growth hormone kits (HGH) from a dealer. The dealer had also informed Federal officials that the police officer had purchased anabolic steroids from him on four other occasions. In Tampa, a police officer was sentenced to 70 months in jail for exchanging 1,000 ecstasy tablets from police custody for steroids.
Anabolic steroid abuse, once viewed as a problem strictly associated with body builders, fitness "buffs," and professional athletes, has entered into the law enforcement community. Law enforcement personnel have used steroids for both physical and psychological reasons. The idea of enhanced physical strength and endurance provides one with "the invincible mentality" when performing law enforcement duties. The short-term adverse physical effects of anabolic steroid abuse are fairly well known. However, the long-term adverse physical effects of anabolic steroid abuse have not been studied, and as such, are not known. In addition, this type of abuse may result in harmful side-effects as well as serious injury and death. The abuser in most cases is unaware of these hidden dangers.
Physical & psychological dangers
Possible physical side effects include the following:
High blood cholesterol levels - high blood cholesterol levels may lead to cardiovascular problems
- Severe acne
- Thinning of hair and baldness
- Fluid retention
- High blood pressure
- Liver disorders (liver damage and jaundice)
- Steroids can affect fetal development during pregnancy
- Risk of contracting HIV and other blood-borne diseases from sharing infected needles
- Sexual & reproductive disorders:
- Atrophy (wasting away of tissues or organs) of the testicles
- Loss of sexual drive
- Diminished or decreased sperm production
- Breast and prostate enlargement
- Decreased hormone levels
- Menstrual irregularities
- Masculinizing effects such as facial hair, diminished breast size, permanently deepened voice, and enlargement of the clitoris.
- Possible psychological disturbances include the following:
- Mood swings (including manic-like symptoms leading to violence)
- Impaired judgment (stemming from feelings of invincibility)
- Extreme irritability
- Hostility and aggression
Laws and penalties for anabolic steroid abuse
The Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990 placed anabolic steroids into Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as of February 27, 1991. Under this legislation, anabolic steroids are defined as any drug or hormonal substance chemically and pharmacologically related to testosterone (other than estrogens, progestins, and corticosteroids) that promotes muscle growth.
The possession or sale of anabolic steroids without a valid prescription is illegal. Simple possession of illicitly obtained anabolic steroids carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a minimum $1,000 fine if this is an individual’s first drug offense. The maximum penalty for trafficking is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if this is the individual’s first felony drug offense. If this is the second felony drug offense, the maximum period of imprisonment and the maximum fine both double. While the above listed penalties are for federal offenses, individual states have also implemented fines and penalties for illegal use of anabolic steroids.
An undetermined percentage of steroid abusers may become addicted to the drug, as evidenced by their continuing to take steroids in spite of physical problems, negative effects on social relations, or nervousness and irritability. Steroid users can experience withdrawal symptoms such as mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, and depression. Untreated, some depressive symptoms associated with anabolic steroid withdrawal have been known to persist for a year or more after the abuser stops taking the drugs.
For additional information on steroids please see our website at www.DEAdiversion.usdoj.gov
Presented as a public service by:Drug Enforcement AdministrationOffice of Diversion ControlWashington, D.C. 20537