The Other Steroids Problem


As the sports world waits to see what names will surface in the Mitchell report, this story came out about a week ago:

…27 NYPD officers cropped up on the client lists of a Brooklyn pharmacy and three doctors linked to a pro sports steroid ring.

Only six of the cops were found to have bought steroids and tested positive for the substance.

"But there were enough names on the original list that the feeling was a message had to go out," a police source said. "Cops had to be put on notice that the department can't have this."

Two police chiefs also acknowledged they either bought a steroid-based cream or were treated by one of the suspect doctors.

It's by no means the first such report. ABC News did its own cops-and-steroids expose a couple of months ago. The AP ran a similar story in 2005, and Men's Health ran a feature in 2004. In fact, you can go all the way back to 1989, when 60 Minutes aired a package on several cops who blamed their own steroid use for a series of police brutality incidents. William Grigg notes that the FBI warned of pervasive steroid use in local police departments in 1991. In 1999, there were reports that Officer Justin Volpe's use of the drug may have contributed to the police station beating and sodomizing of Abner Louima.

Given that police officers carry guns, night sticks, and tasers, and that they have the power to use lethal force when necessary, one would think our politicians would be more concerned about illegal use of a drug known to contribute to fits of rage and violence among law enforcement than use by a bunch of baseball players. Of course, it's easier to score political points with the latter. It's also probably a pretty sweet power rush to make larger-than-life sports icons cower at the sound of your hearing gavel.