Should cops be allowed to use anabolic steroids if it helps them do their jobs better? David Stanley explores.
Police work is an arms race. West Side Story’s Officer Krupke dealt with gangs who solved their differences in fistfights, with pieces of sand-filled garden hose, and the rare knife fight. Fast forward forty years, and police find themselves facing drug-fueled top dollar gangbangers. No more fists, modern gangstas are clad in body armor and armed with Uzis and Glock 17s. A Glock can fire off seventeen shots in 4 seconds. Each 9 mm bullet makes a hole the diameter of a pencil going into the human body and the size of a salad plate as it exits the human body.
I’m not surprised that cops use anabolic steroids. I am surprised that more officers do not.
There are evil, bad people in every profession. Doctors, nurses, financial planners, teachers, police; there are men and women in all walks of life who find perverse pleasure as they ruin the lives of others for personal gain.
I was a track cyclist in the 1980s and steroid use was everywhere. I chose not to use, and never made it big. (You can read about it here.) I’ve been hanging out in iron gyms since the late 1970s. I know about PEDs, up close.
Why shouldn’t cops juice? Properly used, steroids make you bigger, stronger, faster—it’s a chance to tip the playing field. Don’t you want fit and muscular men protecting our safety? (Let us leave women officers out of this. Anabolic steroids and women pose a health issue—that’s another topic.) Cops willingly put themselves in harm’s way every day. If 15-20 mg of D-bol is going to help a cop wrestle a mugger to the ground, rather than shoot him, that’s a win for everybody.
My martial arts instructor was a police officer. I have spoken with Bill-sensei about the role of “presence” in his police work. On the street, appearance is everything. As men, muscles are a face that we present to the world. Anabolic steroids and hard work in the weight room create muscles. Muscles create confidence. People respond, quite viscerally, to a muscular, commanding presence. It is said of wolves that their world view is simple: “Will it eat me, or can I eat it?” Is there any more lupine behavior than criminal life on the street?
Steroid usage is the reefer madness of the fitness world. When used properly, steroids are no more a gateway to organ failure and ‘roid rage than the dope most of us smoked in college turned us into heroin addicts. The article references Dr. Charles Yesalis. The Penn State professor is widely regarded as a world authority on PED usage.
On the safety of steroids:
Think about it: medical science has been using steroids safely in a clinical setting for the last 70 years. Anabolic steroids can be used relatively safely, but at even low doses they can have side effects. No drug, supplement, or substance is totally “safe.”
… let me put this whole “rage” thing into perspective for you. You’ve been to college football game. If you told me you’ve never seen outbursts of “rage” at a football game, then I would have to call “bullshit.” They happen all the time. And that’s not steroids, that’s alcohol. It’s not even in the same ballpark.
I have spent many years around athletes who have used steroids. I have witnessed one episode of true ‘roid rage in 35 years. I suggest that, as many men have anger issues, what has been termed ‘roid rage, is solely an example of what happens when an angry and muscular man blows his stack. Police brutality is very real, but I also suggest that it results from a subset of police culture. Good men who use steroids don’t become brutal. Good men who are good cops don’t become brutal.
Legality—there’s the big issue. Steroid use in healthy men is a criminal activity. Do we want our police officers engaging in an illegal activity which will enhance their professional abilities? It is troubling.
From the article:
“…like the four Norman, Oklahoma, police officers whose steroid use was uncovered during a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation last fall, and who were fired. Or the Tampa, Florida, cop who gave a drug dealer a thousand Ecstasy tablets from a police-impounded car in exchange for steroids and was sentenced to 2 years in 2003. Or the Pennsylvania officer who in 2002 pleaded guilty to steroid possession—and to selling ‘roids to two other cops.”
The officers interviewed for the article seem to think it’s worth the risk. As “Officer Jimmy” stated: “Although he professes to feel conflicted about juicing—it is, after all, a felony to take anabolic steroids without a prescription—he thinks ‘roids made him a better cop. ‘What law enforcement needs is a little testosterone.'”
In many workplaces which demand high levels of concentration, the illegal use of the wakefulness drugs Provigil and Adderall has become commonplace. How do you feel about people who use illegal substances which make them more productive and proficient in their careers?
Because police officers are sworn to uphold the law, should they be held to a different standard?
For one of the best takes ever on PEDs; what they can, and cannot do, their history in sports and culture, and a weekend warrior’s foray into controlled PED usage, I highly recommend Stuart Stevens’ 2003 Outside Magazine piece Drug Test.
Photo and more on this on policemen and steroid use at popularresistance.org