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Cops on Steroids

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Cops on Steroids

Almost everyone has heard the term anabolic steroid at least once in his or her life. They probably associate it with bodybuilders and violent behavior. Most people do not approve of the usage of anabolic steroids, and would like nothing more than to see them completely removed from all athletics events and out of the hands of casual users. Steps have been made to do this," anabolic steroids are Schedule III controlled substances, subjecting users to criminal penalties of up to five years in prison and

fines of up to $250,000.00 for convictions on a charge of possession with intent to distribute" (Sweitzer, 21). But what if the very people putting these steroid offenders behind bars are guilty of that crime themselves? Police who are officers using anabolic steroids are rapidly increasing. This has caused much controversy; weather or not police using steroids to assist them in fighting crime is ethical or not.

Under the heading of, "What are anabolic steroids?" the National Institute of Drug Abuse states that anabolic steroids are described as, "...the familiar name for synthetic substances related to the male sex hormones (androgens). They promote the growth of skeletal muscle (anabolic effects) and the development of male sexual characteristics (androgenic effects), and also have some other effects. (Anabolic Steroid Abuse- online)" Anabolic steroids were first developed in the 1930's to treat hypogondaism, which would provide testosterone to males who's own testes do not produce enough of in order for normal growth, development and sexual functioning. They also serve medical purposes such as to prevent muscle wasting in cancer patients. During the late 30's, anabolic steroids were found to increase the mass of skeletal muscle in lab animals. This led to weightlifters and bodybuilders using these compounds. Today, steroids are widespread across every athletic competition. Often, steroids must be taken for the playing field to even begin at even.

With the current crime situation in many cities, and because of the war on drugs, police officers who are using steroids are on the rise. According to the office of diversion control, a police sergeant in Minneapolis was charged with possession of anabolic steroids, and then later admitted he was a user. A Miami cop was arrested after being caught buying Human Growth Hormone kits from a dealer. In Tampa, a police officer was sentenced to 70 months after exchanging 1,000 ecstasy tablets in return for steroids (Steroid Abuse by Law Enforcement Personnel- online). Steroid usage amongst public enforcement figures isn't limited to the United States either. "Large numbers of men around the world consume steroids because their professions or criminal activities require physical self-assertion and self-confidence." Says University of Texas at Austin professor of Germanic studies and author of the book Testosterone Dreams: Rejuvenation, Aphrodisia and Doping, John Hoberman. He also states that steroid usage within law enforcement has been documented in Scotland, Australia and Britain.

Safety is more of an issue than ever, especially in heavily populated urban areas. Steroid use, as pointed out by Phillip Sweitzer, is the not so quiet little secret of state and city police departments. Because most officers find themselves in situations requiring the use of physical force to restrain suspects, most are functional strength athletes (3). "The functional argument thus proposes that steroid use is an essentially rational and practical strategy to deal with the special challenges and hazards of certain kinds of physically demanding work"(Hoberman- online). Police work is very athletic by nature, and requires that the officers be in top physical condition. Fighting off criminals is a dangerous job, and one in which a slight advantage could be life or death. Anabolic steroids provide the athletic edge that many cops feel they need to work in today's environment. When an officer engages in hand to hand combat with a criminal who is normally much bigger and stronger, he is put in danger and the odds greater that the criminal will escape, or worse, cause harm to the officer. Steroids will give the officer the extra strength and size needed to subdue suspects. Using steroids will also give an officer a physiological benefit as well. When a cop knows that he is bigger and stronger than the criminal he is going up against, it is an instant boost in confidence. A bigger, more muscular officer will be more intimidating and less likely encounter resistance during an arrest. The officer's larger, more intimidating appearance will demand more respect to him. People in the community will feel protected, and be less likely to commit crimes due to the status associated with the police.

On the flip side of the argument, many feel it is unethical for cops to be using steroids. First off, they are illegal. What does that say about the government if its own police officers are breaking the law themselves? Using steroids can set a poor example for the community. It can say that it is acceptable to take steroids. A high school kid who wants to be a police officer may think that the only way to do it is by supplementing with anabolic steroids. He then may do the steroids and stunts his growth. Even worse, the public may see cops breaking the law, and feel that it is ok to do the same. Though there some cops that take steroids and are responsible, many might not be. They might be corrupt individuals, and engage in other drug trafficking. It is not uncommon for an officer to combine testosterone with amphetamines, which produces a psychotic state in which one may kill with no remorse. An officer on steroids will also tend to be more lax on hunting down other steroid users out in the public. This could mean long-term damage to the many people who take steroids for years without being bothered for it. Another argument against steroid usage is roid rage. Roid-rage is said to be random violent outbursts



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