Side-effects associated with police steroid use and abuse have become a dangerous element in the ongoing debate regarding overly violent behavior and the militarized law-enforcement culture of the United States.
In 2004, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) listed the many side-effects of steroid use, including mood swings, impaired judgment, depression, increased aggression, extreme irritability, hostility, and delusional behavior.
Endemic steroid abuse could go a long way to explaining the aggressive and violent behavior used by American police, especially in situations that could easily have been safely de-escalated, according to the Free Thought Project. As with methamphetamine abuse, steroids bring a sense of invincibility, making the user feel indestructible.
According to the DEA, “The idea of enhanced physical strength and endurance provides one with ‘the invincible mentality’ when performing law enforcement duties.”
Many examples of police brutality represent a trend in overt law-enforcement violence that could be the result of steroid abuse.
There currently is no policy to regulate the use of steroids by active-duty weapon-carrying law-enforcement employees. Some police unions claim that drug tests, similar to those administered every day to suspects, violate their civil rights. A deeper reason why some refuse to be tested is that they are involved in selling, and using, steroids.
Steven Santucci, a former police sergeant, got his department’s attention after he routinely took $30,000-$100,000 vacations, all on an annual salary of some $80,000, before deductions. In April 2015 Santucci was arrested for running an anabolic steroid manufacturing and distribution network. He received a delay in sentencing twice, first to complete training to become an electrician, and second, due to “some scheduling conflicts,” according to attorney Dan LaBelle. On August 25 Santucci was finally sentenced to a mere 16 months in prison, along with two years of supervised release.
The disgraced cop sold enormous quantities of steroids to police officers, who used and further distributed his illicit product.
Santucci, however, may be the tip of the iceberg in the United States. Steroid use is a popular tactic for police officers and an epidemic, which until recently has been quietly shoved under the rug, is now revealed as the cause of much unnecessary violence and is shown to be a danger to the public.