Feb 26 2011
Law enforcement agencies in the country were scrutinized because of reports that the use of steroid is already rampant in the police force. As investigations are being conducted, some police departments have already initiated programs that would address the problem. In other states, lawmakers already passed new bills to counter the continued steroid abuse of police officers.
Drug testing is the primary deterrent for these law enforcement officers from taking illicit drugs. Though testing for recreational drugs are already in place, some police department in the country can’t afford to include anabolic steroids in the current drug testing program. The main reason is the cost of implementing a comprehensive steroid testing program. While some cities like Dallas, Phoenix, Boston, Albuquerque, and New York have already included steroids in their drug testing, other areas in the country are still findings ways on how to fund steroid testing.
For example, the recent contract between the police union and the Portland City council did not include comprehensive testing for steroids. Some critics were dismayed about the agreement because it was silent on the issue of steroids. Portland police officers will be tested for 5 classes of drugs. These are commonly abused substances like marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, and phencyclidine or PCP.
Commissioner Dan Saltzman told the Oregon Live his concerns about the city’s deferment of steroid testing. “I do think we have to figure out a way to bring that on sooner rather than later,” said Saltzman, who urge for an update in the next few months.
Some city officials admitted that the delay in the steroid testing was due to the cost. “Its availability and its cost have not come into line with routine testing,” said the City’s labor negotiator. The availability of testing laboratories that could test for steroid is also a problem.
But there is one thing that law enforcement officers should be worried about. The recent agreement does not limit the City in testing for the 5 classes of drugs earlier identified. A provision states that when there is a reasonable suspicion that an officer is using anabolic steroid, he can be subjected to steroid test. Drugs such as prohormones and other substances can be included in the random tests provided the Portland Police Association agrees.
Proponents of steroid testing were hoping for an immediate implementation to avoid more steroid related cases involving police officers. Aside from the health risk it could give to the user, some believe that the use of excessive force of some officers could be due to steroids. A health expert also revealed that law enforcement officers are more prone to anabolic steroid abuse.
“What law enforcement is finding is there’s a whole lot more people who are going to test positive for this, than for cocaine or anything else,” said Phoenix Police Cmdr. Kim Humphrey, who have been a resource person when it comes to steroid testing program. Phoenix tests its 4,000 officers for at least 7 types of anabolic steroids. Humprey admits that the inclusion of steroid tests tripled their expenses on drug testing.
The drug testing program in Portland will require at least 660 police officers to undergo random drug testing.