We are glad to see the NJ Legislature stepping up to control the illegal use of steroids by police and firemen. Â Maybe the other 49 states will follow their lead.
Legislation that would address illegal steroid abuse among law enforcement and firefighters in New Jersey was approved by an Assembly panel on Thursday. It now goes to the full Assembly for a vote.
The legislation released by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee comes after an extensive series by The Star-Ledger revealed steroid abuse in police and fire departments.Â In one case, it said, at least 248 officers and firefighters reportedly obtained prescriptions for these drugs from a single Jersey City doctor.
The bill (A-3698) would require the Department of Law and Public Safety to include human growth hormones among the drugs to be monitored in the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). The PMP was created in 2007 to monitor controlled dangerous substances dispensed in most outpatient settings.
"This steroid abuse is frightening from both a public policy and public health perspective," said Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-Burlington/Camden), a doctor by trade who co-sponsored the measure. "Taxpayers have been stung and public safety has been put at risk, as has the health of the abusers. We cannot sit idly by and let this abuse continue. This bill is a step in the proper direction."
"Steroid abuse often comes with increased aggression, so this illegal activity by those assigned to protect our safety has been costly to taxpayers and put people at risk," said co-sponsor Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "It cannot continue. This bill will prevent abuse, save taxpayers money and hopefully lead to these abusers getting the help they need before it's too late."
Human growth hormone is not a controlled dangerous substance under federal and state laws. Therefore, prescriptions for human growth hormones would not be monitored as a matter of course under the PMP.
However, the program's director is authorized to expand the program to monitor drugs such as human growth hormones after a lengthy and protracted process.Â