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Anabolic Steroid Use and Abuse by Police Officers: Policy & Prevention

NCJ Number
THE POLICE CHIEF Volume: 75 Issue: 6 Dated: June 2008 Pages: 66-70,72,74
Kim R. Humphrey; Kathleen P. Decker M.D.; Linn Goldberg M.D.; Harrison G. Pope Jr., M.D.; Joseph Gutman M.D.; Gary Green M.D,
Date Published
June 2008
8 pages
This article examines anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) abuse and use by law enforcement officers and the need for regulating AAS and implementing prevention programs as seen through the Phoenix, AZ Police Department.
Preventing anabolic steroid abuse requires a multifaceted approach. It is critical for agencies to educate their officers and provide alternatives for health and fitness. Steroids are a group of chemical substances that have certain structural similarities. Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AASs) constitute a subgroup of this category that includes the physiological human male hormone testosterone, as well as related compounds. AASs can be taken orally, by injection, as a skin patch or cream, or sometimes by placing them between the cheek and gum. Abusers of AASs often follow a particular pattern of use described in this article. Anabolic steroids can cause temporary or permanent medical problems, such as abscess at the site of injection, increased blood pressure, increase or decreased sex drive or libido, or HIV and similar risk issues associated with the sharing of needles. Users of AASs can experience psychiatric symptoms during use, abuse, or withdrawal. The use of AASs for performance enhancement is banned by all major sports bodies. The Controlled Substances Act defines AASs as any drug or hormonal substance chemically and pharmacologically related to testosterone other than estrogen, progestin, and corticosteroids. Policy rationale concerning AASs include: negligent retention, employees’ rights, detection, testing, collection and determination of legitimate use. This article summarizes the Phoenix, AZ Police Department’s experience in the area of AAS abuse and suggests policy and testing considerations for anabolic steroids in the law enforcement community. Notes