McKEON & CONAWAY UNVEIL LEGISLATION TO COMBAT ILLEGAL STEROID ABUSE BY LAW ENFORCEMENT & FIREFIGHTERS

(TRENTON) – Assemblymen John McKeon and Herb Conaway, M.D. on Monday announced they’ve introduced legislation that aims to crackdown on illegal steroid abuse in New Jersey’s law enforcement and firefighting communities.
The legislation comes after an extensive series by The Star-Ledger revealed widespread steroid abuse in police and fire departments.
The bills would bring increased prescription monitoring, improved medical evaluations and urge the state to implement random steroid drug testing for law enforcement and firefighters.
“State taxpayers have been wrongly paying for millions of dollars in insurance costs for prescriptions that were, in many cases, issued illegally,” said McKeon (D-Essex). “Taxpayers also have been footing the bill for the side effects of this abuse. It’s long past time for this outrage to finally stop. Taxpayers and public safety deserve better.”
“This steroid abuse is frightening from both a public policy and public health perspective,” said Conaway (D-Burlington/Camden). “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. These bills are a step in the proper direction.”
One bill sponsored by McKeon would require local law enforcement officers and firefighters to report any prescription received for anabolic steroids or human growth hormone to a designated physician. Failure to report these prescriptions would result in disciplinary action.
The governing body of each county, municipality and board of fire commissioners would be required to designate the physician to which the law enforcement officer or firefighter would report.
The physician would conduct an annual medical evaluation to assess if the officer or firefighter is able to adequately perform the duties of employment. The physician would report the findings to the appropriate governing body or board.
A bill sponsored by McKeon and Conaway 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.
In one case, at least 248 officers and firefighters reportedly obtained prescriptions for these drugs from a single Jersey City doctor.
Human growth hormone is not a controlled dangerous substance under federal and state controlled substances laws. Therefore, prescriptions for human growth hormones would not be monitored as a matter of course under the program.
Another bill sponsored by McKeon and Conaway would urge the Attorney General to add anabolic steroids, as well as other designer drugs, to the list of drugs for which law enforcement officers are currently randomly tested to determine if they are illegally using these drugs.
Under state Attorney General drug testing policies, law enforcement agencies may request testing for anabolic steroids and designer drugs, but this testing is rarely requested. This resolution urges that random drug testing of law enforcement officers automatically include screening for anabolic steroids and certain other designer drugs.
“It’s bad enough that this abuse has been costing the taxpayers of this state millions of dollars,” McKeon said. “But law enforcement officers susceptible to roid rage pose a grave danger to the public safety. These measures will increase accountability and awareness and send a message that this behavior must stop.”
“Steroid abuse often comes with increased aggression, so this illegal activity by those assigned to protect our safety has been costly to both taxpayers and put people at risk,” Conaway said. “It cannot continue. These bills will prevent abuse, save taxpayers money and hopefully lead to these abusers getting the held they need before it’s too late.”