The stories of law enforcement officials and firemen using steroids seem to be never ending these days. Â It goes to show how widespread this drug abuse has become.
Bayonne Police Chief Robert Kubert said he will offer all the cooperation he can with the state Attorney General's Office, which is looking into the possible abuse of prescription steroids and growth hormones among local public safety personnel.
"Of course it is a concern," he said. "Those things are dangerous and illegal, and they shouldn't be used."
_____________The investigation and Kubert's remarks come as a result of a series of newspaper articles that claim a Jersey City doctor, Joseph Colao -Â who died of heart failure three years ago at age 45Â - gave unnecessary prescriptions to at least 248 firefighters across the state.The Star-Ledgerreport said that at least 12 Bayonne police officers and two Bayonne firefighters obtained prescriptions for anabolic steroids or other testosterone-boosting hormones from Colao.
"Of course, it is a concern." - Police Chief Robert Kubert
"Of course it was going on," said one Bayonne resident who used steroids for about a year as a weight reduction program. "A lot of people knew about it."
Kubert predicted that the investigation will be difficult because of Colao's death.
"You can't interview the key person," Kubert said.
The City of Bayonne has an established policy prohibiting employees from engaging in the use of illicit or illegal drug activities, said Public Safety Director Jason O'Donnell.
But he said this is something that would be hard to detect.
While the Police Department has a random drug testing program and the Fire Department has a similar review process, in this case, if the steroids came up, the police officer would simply show the prescription.
"What you have is a licensed medical doctor issuing a prescription that is being filled by a licensed pharmacist," he said, noting that medical privacy laws prohibit the city from obtaining those records.
He said the city does have a process that monitors erratic and violent behavior that is sometimes and indication of steroid misuse - and this would flag an individual for a closer examination.
"But we've had no report of excess violence," he said.
Experts say that anabolic steroids are designed in labs as a type of prescription drug for the sole purpose of pumping up hormone levels in a man’s body. It is, essentially, synthetic testosterone or another androgen designed to improve physical energy as well as strength.
What they're for
These anabolic steroids were developed because there are a number of different diseases that negatively affect hormone levels, and these steroids can treat the problem. They do have a legitimate purpose, and they are often used in a medical setting to treat disease.
O'Donnell said the city is prepared to cooperate with any investigation that may be underway, and that the city will continue to monitor its work force for some of the personality shifts that are typical of illegal steroid use, such as mood changes and reports of excessive violence.
"If we see these signs, we'll pull the person aside and we start reviewing what is going on," O'Donnell said.