Saturday, November 03, 2007

Readers back steroid testing for cops and high school athletes

The results of this week's reader poll surprised me. After reviewing a book by a former Texas police officer and sheriff's deputy who told the story of his on the job steroid abuse, and comparing the problem to the plan to test all Texas high school athletes for steroids, I asked: "Do you support steroid testing for high school athletes, police, neither, or both." Nearly 200 readers responded to the survey.

Hardly anyone agreed with Texas' current policy, which is to test ONLY high school athletes but NOT police officers - 14% of respondents thought that was a good idea. Only 19% supported testing police but not high school athletes. Twenty eight percent said neither should be tested, while a whopping 45%, a significant plurality, said both should be tested.

Combined, 64% of readers thought police should be tested, and 59% thought high school athletes should be tested for steroids. I wouldn't have guessed that outcome.

On this score, I find myself in disagreement with most of my readers. I support testing police but don't think mass steroid testing of athletes is a good idea at all. It'd be incredibly expensive (we've got a LOT of high school athletes in Texas), and there's little evidence this is a widespread problem among teenagers. At a minimum it makes more sense to begin testing in response to allegations only rather than testing every football, basketball and volleyball player in the state.

If it weren't for the fact that it exposes them to participation in the black market that can lead to corruption, I wouldn't mind tolerating steroid use among police, either, though I don't particularly think it's necessary. My gut instinct on this is to go with the 28% who wouldn't test either group. Since steroid use does cause exposure to the black market, though, I think police officers should be tested so long as steroids are illegal as an anti-corruption measure.

In general, I tend to agree with Robert Wallach at who argues (somewhat more enthusiastically than I would) that those who want to become human guinea pigs for steroid use should be allowed to do so, particularly adults. And I'd feel exactly the same way about police using steroids if they could acquire them without engaging in transactions with people operating outside the law.

In the book I reviewed last week by the former Harris County Sheriff's Deputy, the author once asked his steroid dealer why he agreed to sell to a cop. The answer: "I knew you had more to lose than I did." That leaves officers open to coercion, blackmail, or at a minimum wrongly divided loyalties. At the end of the day I fear that scenario a lot more than I do someone's voluntary decision to experiment with steroid use.


Anonymous said...

High school athletes are not likely to bludgeon or shoot us. Cops, due to roid rage, are a deadly menace.

Anonymous said...

If testing " OF ANY KIND " is good for us and our kids, how can it be bad FOR ALL PUBLIC SERVANTS AND THEIRS???

Why not test EVERY Tax paid Public servant, while running the Narc K-9s through their work places? Starting with ALL of the PUBLIC OFFICIALS offices, vehicles private and tax payer funded in Austin, as well as the homes that are tax payer provided???

What happened to lead by EXAMPLE, and NOBODY is above the law forced on all! EXSPECIALLY those that enforce and generate these laws?

If " THEY " don't have to subjugate themselves and theirs to these laws, NOBODY SHOULD HAVE TO!

ALL OR NONE!!! When did American and Texas laws become only to be used on the peasants and not the self pro-claimed masters?? Better yet, when did we lose control to the point that, WE HAVE BECOME THE PESANTS, MUCHLESS ACCEPT THIS BS??

Rusty White

Anonymous said...

"A controversial study about drug testing of high school athletes found that such testing does not deter drug use.

In fact, the mere presence of drug testing could increase risk factors for future substance use, the study by an Oregon Health & Science University doctor found.

"It shocked us," said Dr. Linn Goldberg, who oversaw the study and heads the Division of Health Promotion and Sports Medicine at OHSU."

Anonymous said...

The question did not include a choice about how much testing should be done.

Random testing of both police and high school athletes would be enough.

As long as steriods are illegal, some level of testing seems appropriate.

To address concerns about our protections against illegal search and seizure, perhaps probable cause should be required.

Again your questions did not offer a choice at these levels of detail.

Anonymous said...

"""" In fact, the mere presence of drug testing could increase risk factors for future substance use, the study by an Oregon Health & Science University doctor found."""

BINGO!!! We here in the Metro-plex have lost over 23 young people due to deaths from using CHEEZ! A mixture of Tylenol and heroin.:( Sadly one must face the reality that in our zeal to protect our young, we have taken the wrong path!

Due to pot being bulky with a strong odor and very noticeable effects. While remaining in ones system up to 90 days depending on ones metabolism. Our young and adults due to random testing are being forced to move to hard drugs that are out of their system in 72 hours!:( Sadly many are becoming addicted and DYING!

How on earth can this be a good thing? In our well meaning attempt to force others beliefs upon all, we killed you for your own good??? We forced our people away from a plant, that has NEVER, solely from using it, killed anybody ANYWHERE on this planet! To drugs that are now addicting them and killing them! There is not a one of these parents who lost their child, that would not give everything they own to be disciplining them for pot use INSTEAD of putting flowers on their graves!!!

Some side effects of well meaning agendas ARE WORSE than the supposed problem! EVEN WORSE is attempting to LIE and say we have no accountability!!! YEP, we killed you for your own good! We can wash our hands because you chose to make the choice that killed you! It doesn't matter WE are responsible for a failed policy that setting you up to fail!

There Has To Be A Better Way!:)

Rusty White

Anonymous said...

Anyone with low testosterone can get a prescription. A cop over 40 will probably have low testosterone and can get steroids legally.Doctors who prescribe steroids{endocrinologist}usually feel that cops, fireman etc should not be doing their job on low testosterone.Roid rage comes from illegal black market steroids that are not made or perscribed by U.S doctors.A person who follows the presciption will get strong and shed fat if they work out a lot. They wont get like Hulk Hogan but they will be buff. They can get tested and the test will come out normal or a little above.,, A bigger problem is cops on prozac, zoloft, lithium,etc. Legal steroid users get a full blown blood test that cost about 300$. They have to get these tests all the time to make sure they are not overusing.