‘Roid-raging Cop Shoots Up Neighborhood: Get Ready for more “Gun Control”

William Grigg
June 18, 2012

Richard Klementovich, the 42-year-old Clifton, Pennsylvania police officer who barricaded himself in the home of his ex-wife in nearby Doylestown and turned a quiet neighborhood into a free-fire zone, was apparently attempting to commit “suicide by cop.”An admitted steroid user, Klementovich – who was paid $114, 560 in 2011 — described himself as angry “at this job and law enforcement. And it’s them who I will take out my anger on.”

“They will do the job I couldn’t and take my life,” wrote the 14-year law enforcement veteran in a June 16 e-mail to his ex-wife wife, Jill Majors. “I hope whomever comes to our house is ready to die tomorrow because I will be Jill…. Tell the police I have a surprise for them, this is the way I want to die.” When police arrived at the home, they found a manila envelope containing a note in which Klementovich said that he had scoped rifles, a cache of 2,000 rounds of ammunition, and that he “was ready to die.”

After Klementovich fired on police vehicles, several SWAT teams and emergency response units converged on the scene. Local residents were ordered to seek shelter in a nearby police facility or in their basements. Despite the deployment of paramilitary operators and heavy weaponry – including a tank-like vehicle – the standoff ended in anti-climactic fashion. Displaying uncommon restraint, the police allowed one of their own to surrender to a negotiator and leave the home of “his own free will,” reports

Prior to June 17, Klementovich was part of New Jersey’s tax-subsidized elite: He reportedly was paid $114,560 in 2011, at least some of which was used to feed his steroid addiction — which most likely would have led to a prison term had he been a Mundane (or common citizen).

Steroid use – including the attendant psychological syndrome called “Roid Rage” is quite commonplace among cops. “Officer Jimmy,” an anonymous active-duty police officer, toldMen’s Health magazine that “Steroid use is very pervasive in law enforcement. I’d say, of the cops I know, 20 percent to 25 percent of them are using” steroids. “Jimmy,” who became a police officer in 2000, is a good representative of the “dominate-intimidate” mindset that defines contemporary law enforcement. He believes – or at least believed at one time – that police are under-utilizing an important tool: “What law enforcement needs is a little testosterone. Every cop should do a [steroid] cycle a year.”

A March 2004 pamphlet published by the DEA’s “Office of Diversion Control” underscores the reasons why steroids are so attractive to the likes of “Officer Jimmy”: “The idea of enhanced physical strength and endurance provides one with `the invincible mentality’ when performing law enforcement duties.”

If Klementovich had snapped and committed an act of violence against an innocent person while on duty, he most likely would be on “administrative leave” – that is, paid vacation – while his police union provided him with expensive legal help and unqualified support. The fact that he was able to walk away from the standoff, rather than being killed in a full-force military onslaught, is itself an illustration of the privileged position Klementovich continues to occupy: If he had been a mere Mundane, he would almost certainly be dead.

The siege in Clifton underscores another important and largely ignored point – namely, the asininity of the assumption that police officers, unlike Mundanes, can be entrusted with firearms. One of the tenets of the civilian disarmament catechism is that the same guns that are unacceptably dangerous when owned by private citizens are transmuted into instruments of civic amity when wielded by the State’s enforcement caste. Klementovich’s rampage is just the latest of numerous incidents demonstrating that the police are actually the most dangerous element of society.


WAS this Cop (below) also a ROID RAGED WACK JOB AS WELL who knows but these kind of Cops that over abuse the uses violence on innocent Victims are all over North America and the numbers of incidences are alarmingly increasing. The real frightening trend is that these are exactly the type of individual that are being hired up by police forces across the continent at an alarming rate. We believe that Ex combat veterans should only be permitted police employment after certain condition have been met. Condition like say applying for hire only after 5 year have passed since combat service ended, and that a psychological evaluation of there mental health and state of mind must also be met. Steroid abuse by police officer must be made a felony crime if caught using on the Job and punishable with minimum 5 years and drug abuse and Steroid recovery programs during incarceration. Police Officers should be made to take MANDATORY regular once a month say and random spot check Urine Drug screening. They are our top line defense public servants and as such, they work for us the people. So it is in our opinion that to many of us are having our lives wreaked our bodies physically beaten and assaulted, object raped and yes even murdered by the wrong guy being giving authority. When you give authority and power to a compromised individual either by drugs or combat stress it’s a potentially dangerous cocktail that can as we can see have terrible consequences for completely innocent people.

When there is corruption at the very Top of an organization

Corruption will permeate down the whole organization

SWAT Cop’s Sucker Punch Puts Man in Intensive Care

Kurt Nimmo
June 18, 2012

Brain Vander Lee is the latest victim of mindless violence by a violent cop. He was put in intensive care at a hospital in Minnesota after a Minneapolis SWAT team police officer sucker punched him in the face. Sgt. David Clifford (pictured above), a member of the Minneapolis SWAT team, attacked Vander Lee because he was talking too loud on his cell phone on the patio of a bar in Andover, Minnesota.

“He did a Superman punch,” Mike Archambault, a long-time friend of the victim, recalled. “Brian went back, feet up in the air, and the guy landed on top of him and his head bounced off the concrete.”

Vander Lee has undergone two brain surgeries for bleeding on his brain and remains in intensive care. If he lives, he will likely be traumitized for the remainder of his life.

Clifford eventually turned himself in. He is expected to be charged with third-degree assault.

An online biography of the cop reads:

“Sgt. Dave Clifford is the Executive Officer of the Minneapolis Police SWAT Unit. He’s a veteran of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and has served as team leader of Personal Security Detachments in both Kosovo and Iraq. He holds a B.A. degree from the University of Minnesota in International Relations. As a SWAT team member he’s participated in more than 350 high risk operations.”

Military “service” and his “tours of duty” have turned Clifford into a raging psychopath. Police Departments prefer to hire these “veterans” to deal with the public. The incident in Minnesota is the unfortunate result.

Citizens need to demand accountability from police. They also need to demand that soldiers who have “served” in war zones not be allowed to work as cops. Citizens are not Iraqi insurgents and should not be treated like prisoners at Abu Ghraib.


Steroid Abuse by Law Enforcement Personnel

Steroid Abuse by Law Enforcement Personnel Poster

A Guide For Understanding The Dangers Of Anabolic Steroids

March 2004

Anabolic steroid abuse, once viewed as a problem strictly associated with body builders, fitness “buffs,” and professional athletes, has entered into the law enforcement community. Law enforcement personnel have used steroids for both physical and psychological reasons. The idea of enhanced physical strength and endurance provides one with “the invincible mentality” when performing law enforcement duties. The short-term adverse physical effects of anabolic steroid abuse are fairly well known. However, the long-term adverse physical effects of anabolic steroid abuse have not been studied, and as such, are not known. In addition, this type of abuse may result in harmful side-effects as well as serious injury and death. The abuser in most cases is unaware of these hidden dangers.

This guide will help you to understand why anabolic steroids are being abused, and how you can educate law enforcement personnel and others about the dangers of these drugs. This guide will also discuss the dangerous medical effects associated with steroid abuse. By working together we can greatly reduce the abuse of anabolic steroids. It is important to recognize this problem and educate our co-workers in the law enforcement community.

What are anabolic steroids?

Anabolic steroids are synthetically produced variants of the naturally occurring male hormone testosterone. Both males and females have testosterone produced in their bodies: males in the testes, and females in the ovaries and other tissues. The full name for this class of drugs is androgenic (promoting masculine characteristics)anabolic (tissue building) steroids (the class of drugs). Some of the most abused steroids include Deca-Durabolin® , Durabolin ® , Equipoise® , and Winstrol® . The common street (slang) names for anabolic steroids include arnolds, gym candy, pumpers, roids, stackers, weight trainers, and juice.

The two major effects of testosterone are an androgenic effect and an anabolic effect. The term androgenic refers to the physical changes experienced by a male during puberty, in the course of development to manhood. Androgenic effects would be similarly experienced in a female. This property is responsible for the majority of the side effects of steroid use. The term anabolic refers to promoting of anabolism, the actual building of tissues, mainly muscle, accomplished by the promotion of protein synthesis.

Why are steroids abused?

Anabolic steroids are primarily used by bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness “buffs” who claim steroids give them a competitive advantage and/or improve their physical performance. Also, individuals in occupations requiring enhanced physical strength (body guards, construction workers, and law enforcement officers) are known to take these drugs. Steroids are purported to increase lean body mass, strength and aggressiveness. Steroids are also believed to reduce recovery time between workouts, which makes it possible to train harder and thereby further improve strength and endurance. As a result of these claims, others, including law enforcement personnel, have used steroids for personal and professional reasons.

The law enforcement profession is both mentally and physically challenging. As a result, law enforcement personnel seek remedies and solutions to perform their daily tasks more effectively. Anabolic steroids are a drug of choice because they are known for increasing the size and strength of muscles more quickly and easily, and increasing one’s endurance while performing physical activities. Some law enforcement personnel may believe that steroids provide them a physical and psychological advantage while performing their jobs.

Where do you get steroids?

Doctors may prescribe steroids to patients for legitimate medical purposes such as loss of function of testicles, breast cancer, low red blood cell count, delayed puberty and debilitated states resulting from surgery or sickness. Veterinarians administer steroids to animals (e.g. cats, cattle, dogs, and horses) for legitimate purposes such as to promote feed efficiency, and to improve weight gain, vigor, and hair coat. They are also used in veterinary practice to treat anemia and counteract tissue breakdown during illness and trauma. For purposes of illegal use there are several sources; the most common illegal source is from smuggling steroids into the United States from other countries such as Mexico and European countries. Smuggling from these areas is easier because a prescription is not required for the purchase of steroids. Less often steroids found in the illicit market are diverted from legitimate sources (e.g. thefts or inappropriate prescribing) or produced in clandestine laboratories.

How are steroids taken?

Anabolic steroids dispensed for legitimate medical purposes are administered several ways including intramuscular or subcutaneous injection, by mouth, pellet implantation under the skin and by application to the skin (e.g. gels or patches). These same routes are used for purposes of abusing steroids, with injection and oral administration being the most common. People abusing steroids may take anywhere from 1 to upwards of a 100 times normal therapeutic doses of anabolic steroids. This often includes taking two or more steroids concurrently, a practice called “stacking.” Abusers will often alternate periods (6 to 16 weeks in length) of high dose use of steroids with periods of low dose use or no drug at all. This practice is called “cycling.” The length of time that steroids stay in the body varies from a couple of days to more than 12 months.

Physical & psychological dangers

There is increasing concern regarding possible serious health problems that are associated with the abuse of steroids, including both short-term and long-term side effects. The short-term adverse physical effects of anabolic steroid abuse are fairly well known. Short-term side effects may include sexual and reproductive disorders, fluid retention, and severe acne. The short-term side effects in men are reversible with discontinuation of steroid use. Masculinizing effects seen in women, such as deepening of the voice, body and facial hair growth, enlarged clitoris, and baldness are not reversible. The long-term adverse physical effects of anabolic steroid abuse in men and in women, other than masculinizing effects, have not been studied, and as such, are not known. However, it is speculated that possible long-term effects may include adverse cardiovascular effects such as heart damage and stroke.

Possible physical side effects include the following:

  • High blood cholesterol levels – high blood cholesterol levels may lead to cardiovascular problems
  • Severe acne
  • Thinning of hair and baldness
  • Fluid retention
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver disorders (liver damage and jaundice)
  • Steroids can affect fetal development during pregnancy
  • Risk of contracting HIV and other blood-borne diseases from sharing infected needles
  • Sexual & reproductive disorders:


  • Atrophy (wasting away of tissues or
    organs) of the testicles
  • Loss of sexual drive
  • Diminished or decreased sperm
  • Breast and prostate enlargement
  • Decreased hormone levels
  • Sterility


  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Infertility
  • Masculinizing effects such as facial
    hair, diminished breast size,
    permanently deepened voice, and
    enlargement of the clitoris.

Possible psychological disturbances include the following:

  • Mood swings (including manic-like symptoms leading to violence)
  • Impaired judgment (stemming from feelings of invincibility)
  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • Extreme irritability
  • Delusions
  • Hostility and aggression
Laws and penalties for anabolic steroid abuse

The Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990 placed anabolic steroids into Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as of February 27, 1991. Under this legislation, anabolic steroids are defined as any drug or hormonal substance chemically and pharmacologically related to testosterone (other than estrogens, progestins, and corticosteroids) that promotes muscle growth.

The possession or sale of anabolic steroids without a valid prescription is illegal. Simple possession of illicitly obtained anabolic steroids carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a minimum $1,000 fine if this is an individual’s first drug offense. The maximum penalty for trafficking is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if this is the individual’s first felony drug offense. If this is the second felony drug offense, the maximum period of imprisonment and the maximum fine both double. While the above listed penalties are for federal offenses, individual states have also implemented fines and penalties for illegal use of anabolic steroids.

Steroid alternatives

A variety of non-steroid drugs are commonly found within the illicit anabolic steroid market. These substances are primarily used for one or more of the following reasons: 1) to serve as an alternative to anabolic steroids; 2) to alleviate short-term adverse effects associated with anabolic steroid use; or 3) to mask anabolic steroid use. Examples of drugs serving as alternatives to anabolic steroids include clenbuterol, human growth hormone, insulin, insulin-like growth factor, and gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB). Examples of drugs used to treat the short-term adverse effects of anabolic steroid abuse are erythropoietin, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), and tamoxifen. Also, diuretics and uricosuric agents may be used to mask steroid use.

Over the last few years, a number of metabolic precursors to either testosterone or nandrolone have been marketed as dietary supplements in the U.S. These dietary supplements can be purchased in health food stores without a prescription. Some of these substances include androstenedione, androstenediol, norandrostenedione, norandrostenediol, and dehydroepiandtrosterone (DHEA), which can be converted into testosterone or a similar compound in the body. Whether they promote muscle growth is not known.

Are anabolic steroids addictive?

An undetermined percentage of steroid abusers may become addicted to the drug, as evidenced by their continuing to take steroids in spite of physical problems, negative effects on social relations, or nervousness and irritability. Steroid users can experience withdrawal symptoms such as mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, and depression. Untreated, some depressive symptoms associated with anabolic steroid withdrawal have been known to persist for a year or more after the abuser stops taking the drugs.

Steroid abuse within the law enforcement community

Despite the illegality of taking steroids without a prescription and the known dangers of steroid abuse the problem continues to grow in the law enforcement community. In Minneapolis, a police sergeant was charged for possession of steroids. He admitted to being a user of steroids. In Miami, a police officer was arrested for the purchasing human growth hormone kits (HGH) from a dealer. The dealer had also informed Federal officials that the police officer had purchased anabolic steroids from him on four other occasions. In Tampa, a police officer was sentenced to 70 months in jail for exchanging 1,000 ecstasy tablets from police custody for steroids.

How can we curtail their abuse?

The most important aspect to curtailing abuse is education concerning dangerous and harmful side effects, and symptoms of abuse. Law enforcement officers must understand they can perform their jobs and have a great body without steroids. They should focus on getting proper diet, rest, and good overall mental and physical health. These things are all factors in how the body is shaped and conditioned. For additional information on steroids please see our website at

Presented as a public service by:
Drug Enforcement Administration
Office of Diversion Control
Washington, D.C. 20537

Cops on roids

It’s the “other” doping scandal, and we’re breaking it wide open

By Sabrina Rubin Erdely, Illustrations by Eddie Guy, Posted Date: September 19, 2005

Read more at Men’s Health:


Officer Jimmy (not his real name) knew his steroid use was paying off when, one day, the Ohio policeman needed to wrestle a suspect to the ground–and the guy crumpled like a piece of wet cardboard. “It took no effort at all,” Jimmy marvels. For Kevin, a military policeman, his steroid epiphany came as he was throwing a rowdy patron out of a Southern California bar: Kevin grabbed the guy by his belt and yanked him right out of his chair. “He landed about 2 feet behind me,” he remembers. Former Suffolk County, New York, officer Tom Foley had a steroid moment of a different sort when, while vacationing in L.A., he was pumping iron at Muscle Beach–with visions of his idol, Arnold, dancing in his head–and spectators started taking his picture.

“It was unbelievable!” Foley exclaims with a bashful smile, holding up a framed photo from that session: a shot of his shirtless back, an explosion of finely cut lats and traps. Foley, 33, is seated on the back porch of his girlfriend’s Long Island home, enjoying the simple pleasure of breathing free air. He’s on his very first week-end furlough from prison, where he’s nearing the end of a 3-year sentence. And while he’s stayed in excellent shape behind bars, he’s no longer Muscle Beach buff. “Yeah, it was amazing,” Foley says, peering nostalgically at the photo. “And that was on 200 milligrams.”

Just call them Juicers in Blue. With their rippling physiques and flair for battling bad guys, they call to mind a flesh-and-blood Justice League–or at least a casting call for a Van Damme movie. And these three men are hardly isolated examples. Cops have long been a hush-hush subset of anabolic steroid users, says Pennsylvania State University sports-science professor Charles Yesalis, Sc.D., author of The Steroids Game. “Most of the police officers I’ve known who have used these drugs consider them a tool of the trade.”

The phenomenon cuts across the country: In recent years, cops in nine states have been accused of steroid-related crimes. Like the four Norman, Oklahoma, police officers whose steroid use was uncovered during a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation last fall, and who were fired. Or the Tampa, Florida, cop who gave a drug dealer a thousand Ecstasy tablets from a police-impounded car in exchange for steroids and was sentenced to 2 years in 2003. Or the Pennsylvania officer who in 2002 pleaded guilty to steroid possession–and to selling ‘roids to two other cops.

Such incidents are sufficiently widespread that the DEA has published a pamphlet called Steroid Abuse by Law Enforcement Personnel, whose cover depicts two uniformed officers surrounded by floating syringes. Still, because juicing cops are a secretive subculture within a secretive subculture, experts have a hard time quantifying the problem. “Resoundingly, yes, I’ve heard many, many accounts of police officers taking steroids,” says Harvard steroid specialist Harrison Pope, M.D., author of The Adonis Complex. “But it’s impossible to put a number on it. Even if I got a federal grant to study this, I wouldn’t be able to get that number, because of the veil of secrecy.” Officer Jimmy, however, is less constrained. “Steroid use is very pervasive in law enforcement,” insists the 26-year-old cop. “I’d say, of the cops I know, 20 percent to 25 percent of them are using.”

Whatever the true tally, it raises the question of what this means for the average, mostly law-abiding civilian. The next time you’re pulled over, will you be hassled by an officer raring for a fight?
If a cop loses control in a fit of ‘roid rage, will your township get slammed with a brutality lawsuit? And, experts speculate, do steroids render cops less effective at their jobs, making you less safe?

“It hasn’t been studied enough, and we need to know more,” says Larry Gaines, Ph.D., chairman of the criminal-justice department at California State University at San Bernardino and the author of one of the very few research papers about cops on steroids. “We don’t have a sense of the scope of the problem. And it is a potential problem, because of the potential for violence.”

Officer Jimmy sees the matter differently. Although he professes to feel conflicted about juicing–it is, after all, a felony to take anabolic steroids without a prescription–he thinks ‘roids made him a better cop. “What law enforcement needs is a little testosterone,” he says. “Every cop should do a cycle a year.”


All the right reasons

When Jimmy first became a patrolman 4 years ago, he was in enviable shape: a former high-school quarterback with chiseled abs, who benched 225 in his thrice-weekly workouts. Even so, he couldn’t help but notice that his physique paled in comparison with those of some of his ripped colleagues. They were broad-shouldered, slim-waisted, and veiny, forever cracking their tree-trunk necks, and as big as action heroes as they cruised the streets. Jimmy learned through the grapevine that they had steroids to thank. “It was a big shock,” he recalls. “Not to sound naive, but we’re here to serve and protect, and we’re breaking the law.” But it got him thinking. At 5’6″ and 155 pounds, he wasn’t the most imposing presence; if anything, he felt puny and vulnerable when facing down suspects.

Curious now, Jimmy started doing some Internet sleuthing. Six months later–and despite his efforts, still no larger–he was ready to give ‘roids a try. A buddy hooked him up with a cocktail of Depo-Testosterone, Sustanon, Deca-Durabolin, and Anadrol. Mornings, Jimmy would lock himself in his bathroom and inject himself in the right butt cheek. Then he’d dress for work: blue uniform, holster, badge.

“I’m doing this for you,” Jimmy answered to his wife’s objections, “so I can come home safe to you.”

His anxiety over life and limb is common among cops today. Despite falling crime rates in many U.S. cities, officers say that their patrols are rougher than ever, with criminals who are bigger, badder, and more audacious. Which is why, some argue, police need steroids: They have to be even brawnier than the people they’re fighting. One former Maryland officer says he was scared into taking steroids after a suspect grabbed his radio off his belt during a tussle. “It easily could have been my gun,” he says. In higher-crime areas–where, experts say, steroid-using cops are more prevalent–suspects are sometimes so zooted on drugs that they’re nearly impossible to subdue. “We’ve had crack and meth users fight two to four officers,” says a 28-year-old Iowa cop, a former juicer who says he’s tempted to start again. “We recently had a crack user break his leg and disarm one police officer, while he was fighting two other cops.”

Complicating things further, the number of excessive-force complaints has spiked over the past decade, according to the National Police Defense Foundation (NPDF), making police worry that anytime they reach for their batons, tasers, or guns, they’ll be slapped with a brutality suit. “A police officer is supposed to use necessary force to overcome the person,” says a former Philadelphia cop. “So if they use fists, you use a nightstick. If they use a knife, you use a blackjack. But if you use them, you get sued. So you gotta be strong.”

The cops make a convincing enough case that many experts find themselves nodding along–so much so that when steroid specialist William Howard, M.D., founder of the Sports Medicine Clinic at Baltimore’s Union Memorial Hospital, was once asked by a police commander whether he thought a particular officer was on ‘roids, Dr. Howard replied that he had no clue–despite the officer’s inflated body. “Of course, I’m pretty convinced he was taking steroids,” Dr. Howard admits. “But this guy was on the worst beat. That’s why I covered for him. I’m not proud of it, and I don’t condone it, but I understood this guy.”

Others, however, are deeply skeptical of cops who invoke the survival defense to justify their juicing. “Any officers saying they need to take steroids to perform their jobs, I don’t buy it,” says NPDF executive director Joseph Occhipinti, who insists that with all the training cops receive, they’re well prepared for whatever comes their way–including knowing better than to charge into every situation like Braveheart. “If you need to subdue a guy, and he’s 6’2″ and 300 pounds, you request backup!” he says. Lt. Tom Easley, of the Norman, Oklahoma, police department, agrees. Even though the cops who were recently ejected from his force claimed they’d needed steroids for safety’s sake, Easley says, “it was a rationalization. I know that at least one was physically fit, ate well, and worked out, but he got stuck at a particular weight. And he wanted more.”

Maybe so, but Long Island–based police psychologist Dan Goldfarb, Ph.D., believes that cops who use steroids to make an already buff body bigger are actually the exception. “The reality is, police work is not geared toward good physical health: shift work, fast food, lots of time stuck in one place, high stress levels, low levels of exercise,” says Goldfarb, who has counseled cops who confided their steroid use to him. “They say to me, ‘I need big muscles and don’t have the time to work out.'” By using steroids, the cops get the image they’re gunning for–and then some–in a hurry.

In Officer Jimmy’s case, the transformation took just a few months. His bench press shot up 80 pounds in 2 weeks; by the end of his 6-week cycle, he was 25 pounds heavier. Walking the beat with his new, thick-thighed swagger, Jimmy truly felt like The Man. “I knew no one was going to mess with me. And if they did, I knew I could take ’em,” he says. “The confidence thing was huge.” Jimmy says his newfound self-assurance made him an even calmer officer, one whose judgment was never clouded by fear. While he appreciated the on-the-job benefits, however, Jimmy was also infatuated with his own ballooning frame. At 5’6″ and a hulking 185 pounds, Jimmy looked positively cartoonish. He loved the stares he attracted in public. When he was issued a larger uniform to accommodate his new bulk, Jimmy opted to wear his old, smaller shirt, to better showcase his biceps.

His colleagues noticed. Mum was the word on duty, of course. But during off-hours, the officers conferred: What’re you stacking? Which antiestrogens are you using? And Are my bitch tits showing through my uniform? When Jimmy developed a golf ball–size pus nodule on his butt, which popped during a house party full of cops, they just laughed and pointed at the wet spot seeping through his jeans; they’d all been there.

From a big body to the Big House

Former police officer Tom Foley’s steroid tale begins with an injury. It ends in Attica.

Foley was once a gung-ho officer, the kind who’d sprint into a burning building to rescue an unconscious civilian–which he actually did in 1999, earning him the title of Suffolk County Cop of the Month. All that changed a year later, when he tackled a fleeing DWI suspect on a dark roadside and heard his own wrist crack. “I have a titanium plate with screws in here,” Foley says, tracing a finger down a scar that slices the length of his forearm. Three surgeries and 2 years of physical therapy failed to restore full motion to his wrist, without which, his department determined, he couldn’t safely handle a gun. At age 29, he was urged to retire.

“I wasn’t ready to hang it up,” Foley recalls. He says that in 2002, his doctor prescribed him steroids in the hope of restoring flexibility to the ligaments. As a lifelong athlete and weight lifter, he “was always very against steroids,” but Foley was astonished at the pain relief they gave him–and was equally amazed at the gains he made at the gym. His doctor agreed to put him on a second cycle. But by this time, thrilled by his swelling muscles, Foley had his own ideas about which steroids he wanted to use. He found a supplier: another cop forced into retirement by injury, who’d also started on ‘roids in the hopes of keeping his job. Foley rationalized that he’d stop juicing once he was able to rejoin the force.

It’s a heartwarming story: the good cop led astray by his own good intentions. But when Foley was arrested later that same year, it wasn’t just for steroid possession. It was also for orchestrating a cocaine deal, to which he pleaded guilty. (He says he was set up, and copped a plea rather than risk a far lengthier jail sentence.) What’s most striking about the end to Foley’s saga is that it seems as though quite a few officers caught with steroids are actually nabbed for dealing other drugs. Take former Thomasville, North Carolina, cop Russell McHenry, for instance. According to court documents, Officer McHenry was a weight lifter and a steroid user. But after his ‘roid source was arrested in 2001, McHenry found a new dealer in the form of a crooked Davidson County vice cop named Lt. Scott Woodall, who sold off the drugs he seized from suspects.

Before long, McHenry began selling Woodall’s steroids to local bodybuilders, then branched out into pot, coke, Ecstasy, and ketamine. (McHenry served 2 years after cooperating with the feds; Woodall was sentenced to 27 years.) One wonders if, for some cops, steroids are a sort of gateway drug: whether, having corrupted their code–and having gotten away with it–they become more receptive to doing other illegal things.

Criminal-justice professor Gaines thinks it’s a possibility, although he feels that the steroid-using cops who are most at risk of turning to the dark side are those few who start selling steroids. “Steroids are inviting [for cops to deal in], because they know there’s not a lot of enforcement,” Gaines says. “But I think once a person makes that leap to dealing steroids, it’s not difficult to jump into dealing other types of drugs.”

When it comes to cops pickled in testosterone, on-the-job performance is another cause for concern. For instance, one problem for many juicers is that their nipples and testicles become hypersensitive. This might not seem like a big deal, except that in Officer Jimmy’s case, it meant that the slightest graze against his nips or ‘nads sent him reeling in pain; despite his Samsonian strength, he’d have been rendered helpless by a purple nurple. And, while before he’d been lithe and quick, Jimmy found his new bulk difficult to maneuver. “A powerlifter isn’t going to be a very good martial artist,” he observes. Not only that, but he could barely make it up a flight of steps without gasping for air. Jimmy’s muscles may well have proven useful in a fight–if suspects had been willing to stand still while he clobbered them.

The potential for aggression is another point to think about. Many juicers experience an intense rush called hypomania, which, says Dr. Pope, “can impair your judgment and inspire all manner of reckless behavior.” It doesn’t take much to imagine cops in this state jumping at the opportunity for a high-speed chase, or rushing into perilous situations without backup. Or worse. The prospect of a cop in the grip of that rare but real fury known as ‘roid rage also makes experts nervous. Dr. Howard says that in his 25 years of treating steroid users, he’s seen only one or two instances of ‘roid rage, but that even so, “it’s impressive when it does happen, because they can really cause some mischief. One case of ‘roid rage in a police officer is enough to merit concern.”

Penn State’s Yesalis, however, scoffs that ‘roid rage is so uncommon it’s barely an issue. “I’ll show you as much alcohol-induced rage in a football weekend in a college town!” he says. “I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, but I’m more concerned about, say, alcoholic cops. Or cops abusing street drugs.” Indeed, as far as anyone can tell, there is no record of steroids playing a role in a police-brutality case–although, as experts point out, that could be attributable to a lack of widespread testing. Nevertheless, Dr. Pope feels there’s reason for concern. “You could have someone who’s not particularly aggressive, who has no history of psychiatric disorders, and he goes on steroids and has a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality change. And, of course, a police officer in that situation could be quite dangerous.”

And yet, police departments aren’t doing much to prevent steroid use. Very few precincts screen for anabolics, in part because of the expense: At roughly $100 a pop, a steroid test is 10 times more costly than a run-of-the-mill drug test.

“It’s expensive, but it’s worth it for the deterrent effect,” argues Chief Gary Schira, of the Bloomington, Illinois, police, one of the handful of departments in the country that randomly test for steroids. Tom Foley concurs that the fear of testing positive would keep cops from juicing: “Right now, a guy who’s on the fence, thinking Should I or should I not do it?–it’s an easy decision, because he’s not worried he’s going to get caught,” he says. Still, there’s been no national call for mandatory testing, which means that nearly all departments are content to test only when there’s reason for suspicion.

It’s easy to speculate about why police departments might turn a blind eye: If they catch a ‘roided officer, they might feel compelled to fire him–and it’s a big hassle to replace a policeman. With all the training required, it takes a year before a new officer is out on the street, says Lt. Easley–which is why, even after his four juicing officers were outed by a DEA investigation, “it was a difficult decision to fire them,” he says. “They were good officers. And when you let go of four people all at once, everybody’s in a bind.”

For that reason, Gaines thinks that most instances of cops caught with steroids are handled privately. In his 1991 FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin study, he notes that nearly all the police personnel he interviewed denied encountering steroids on their force–but then later fessed up that they knew officers who’d gotten buff suspiciously fast. “My guess is, most police departments look at steroids as being less problematic than other drugs,” Gaines says. “So I suspect they counsel the individual officers and schedule future drug tests. And no one finds out about it.”


Officer Jimmy cycled on and off steroids seven times in 3 years. He’d probably still be doing it now if he hadn’t watched President Bush give the State of the Union address on TV in January 2004. In it, Bush announced, to thunderous applause, that the use of steroids in sports “is dangerous. . . . So tonight I call on team owners, union representatives, coaches, and players to take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough, and to get rid of steroids now.” That was it for Jimmy. Although he still thinks that police officers would be well served by juicing every now and then, he’s decided it’s not worth the risk. “Here the leader of the free world is saying we’re going to crack down on steroids,” says Jimmy. “I don’t want to get caught. I’ve got too much to lose.” In the year and a half he’s been off steroids, Jimmy has lost some of his bulk, although he’s still big enough to make people do double takes.

“That’s all I ask,” he says, laughing.

The time he’s spent away from steroids has given Jimmy some room to reflect. And it’s led him to a surprising conclusion. Although he remains convinced that steroids made him a better cop, he now realizes that his improved job performance was really an unexpected benefit.

“At some point, I had to be real with myself,” he says. “I wanted to be big for personal reasons.” Not for survival or self-protection. Not to be some kind of superhero. “If I really wanted to be a great officer, I would go to the shooting range every week. But I don’t have time,” he explains. “Actually, last time around, I barely qualified in my shooting. But I still didn’t go to the range,” Jimmy adds, then jokes, “I was too busy going to the gym.”

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Suffolk Says Drug Ring Involving Police Officers Was Informal but Lucrative

Published: September 20, 2002

Four police officers from three New York-area agencies have been arrested on charges involving the sale and use of cocaine and anabolic steroids, Suffolk County authorities announced yesterday. Ten other people they associated with were also arrested on drug charges, officials said.

More officers may be implicated for failing to report illicit drug activity by colleagues, said the Suffolk County district attorney, Thomas J. Spota, during a news conference in Brentwood. Those cases may be handled with disciplinary proceedings rather than criminal charges, said the Suffolk police commissioner, John C. Gallagher.

Investigators characterized the operation as an informal arrangement among a network of acquaintances rather than as a major drug ring. But the sales were still profitable, the authorities said, although they did not give specific figures.

”They made it a lucrative business,” said Detective Lawrence Boyle of the Suffolk County police. ”They were essentially making a living selling drugs.”

The four arrested officers, two of whom are brothers, had parties together at their homes and on skiing trips, investigators said. They also described the defendants as being fanatical about physical fitness.

The investigation began with a tip about suspected drug activity involving one of the officers, Thomas Foley of the Suffolk County police, the authorities said.

To keep the inquiry secret, Suffolk officials said they went outside the county for help from the internal affairs staff of the New York Police Department. Wiretaps uncovered the involvement of three other officers, the authorities said.

The arrested officers are Officer Foley, 30, of Hauppauge; his brother, James, 25, also of Hauppauge and a state trooper in Stormville; Officer Michael Christy, 32, a state trooper based in Valley Stream; and Sgt. Robert Grettler, 34, of the New York Police Department, who lives in Medford.

Thomas Foley and Sergeant Grettler were arrested and arraigned on Tuesday. They were charged with felony counts of narcotics sales, which carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. James Foley and Officer Christy were booked yesterday and charged with conspiracy to sell narcotics, which carries a maximum sentence of three years.

The officers did not engage in crimes while on duty or use their positions to seize drugs from dealers or get confidential information about drug enforcement, officials said.

Among the civilians arrested were Thomas Newman, 29, the owner of the World Gym in Ronkonkoma and the Midnite Sun tanning salon in Bohemia, where investigators said some drug sales took places. Other sites included nightclubs, parties and homes, they said.

Thomas Foley, who was honored as a Cop of the Month by the Suffolk County Police Department three years ago, has been on medical leave because of a work-related injury. Sergeant Grettler has been on modified duty because of a domestic dispute with his girlfriend, city police officials said.

Officer Christy was suspended for 15 days earlier this year for fighting with another officer. All four officers are suspended from duty without pay, and they face departmental charges as well as criminal prosecution, the authorities said.

Cops on roids


Cops on roids 2


How to tell if the guy in the next squat rack is natural or artificially enhanced

Illustrations by Susan Gilbert, By Lou Schuler, Posted Date: December 7, 2004


Steroids may or may not increase the size of the skull; the effect is more often attributed to human growth hormone, which is sometimes taken in conjunction with anabolic steroids.


Bodybuilders’ skin sometimes takes on a reddish glow, since steroids cause water retention, which raises blood pressure. One writer described ‘roided bodybuilders as resembling walking erections, “all veiny and red.”

Deltoids, Traps:

Supersized muscles surrounding the shoulders–trapezius, lats, pectorals, deltoids, biceps, and triceps–are a good clue that Mr. Needle has been introduced to Mr. Buttock. Even if the lower body is normal size, upper-body muscles tend to be inflated.


One of the few consistent results of steroid-use studies is an increase in bench-press strength. When an experienced lifter makes sudden, dramatic strength gains, assume pharmacological intervention.


Upper-body acne is a common side effect in adults using steroids.


By any other name, gynecomastia is a bitch. Steroid-induced breast tissue can only be removed surgically.


Lifters can increase muscle mass by up to 25 percent with 10 weeks of steroid use, so stretch marks on biceps and pectorals are common.


This is anecdotal, but some have observed that the best natural bodybuilders have a thick bone structure. When you see a guy with huge forearm muscles rising off relatively small bones, it’s a pretty good sign he’s been hitting the Vitamin S.


Another way to tell the difference between natural and unnatural lifters: The juicers look as if they have more muscle fibers as well as bigger fibers. Steroids seem to trigger a process called hyperplasia, in which the body produces new muscle cells.


Steroids help reduce body fat even as they promote muscle growth. A guy who gains a lot of muscle quickly without steroids will also tend to add fat. Only a juicer can get substantially bigger in the chest and shoulders while losing fat from his waist.


Sportswriters are fond of saying steroids won’t help you hit a fastball. But, since testosterone regulates the nervous system, steroids are thought to increase quickness by decreasing reaction time. Next stop, McCovey Cove.


Anabolic steroids don’t reduce inflammation, but they can help torn muscles recover their strength. On the other hand, corticosteroids, which are commonly used to reduce inflammation quickly, can cause damage to a muscle’s structure and tissue regrowth.


Sports-medicine physicians have long suspected that steroids damage tendons and ligaments. Animal studies from the ’80s show that the damage to joints begins within a few days of steroid use, and that exercise combined with steroid use makes it worse. The lab animals ended up with stiffer, weaker tendons.


With artificial testosterone injected into your body, your testicles don’t need to make their own, so the assembly line shuts down, and the testes shrink.


Waldo goes wild, even while his two nutty friends turn into shrinking violets. Steroid users often develop voracious sexual appetites (despite the fact that they’re actually producing less sperm), along with feelings of euphoria and boundless energy.

Read more at Men’s Health:

Cops on roids 3


You know common side effects, but here are two more that’ll shock you

Expert Brian Haycock, Posted Date: December 7, 2004

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You’ve heard about many of the side effects of steroids–tiny testes, acne-pocked skin, male-pattern baldness (and that’s just the women). But here are two that were surprising, even to us.

Something to Chew On

It’s not uncommon to see a guy whose right biceps is a tad bigger than his left, but one bodybuilder walked into his doctor’s office with a lopsided jaw. Turns out he had chewed only on one side of his mouth while using steroids. So the chew-side grew out of proportion to the other.

Shrunken Testicles and Hiccups?

A steroid-using powerlifter decided to up his regular dose, figuring it would make him more competitive. Instead, it made him more repetitive. He started hiccuping, and couldn’t stop–a bit of a liability when you’re trying to squat three times your body weight. Once the steroids worked their way out of his system, the hiccuping stopped. (Doctors initially tried to scare him with pictures of the first guy’s hypertrophied jaw, but it didn’t work.)
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Cops on roids 4

Men’s Health answers your questions about steriod abuse

Researched by David Schipper, By Lou Schuler, By Mike Zimmerman, Posted Date: December 7, 2004

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With the allegations against ballplayers about steroids and human growth hormone, I’m curious: Which one is worse for your body? S.M., Toronto, ON

Overall, probably steroids. But that’s only because the steroid side-effect file is bulging by now: aggression, irritability, depression, acne, man boobs, elevated cholesterol. There isn’t as much research on illicit use of HGH yet. There is some evidence that it can burn off fat and build muscle without affecting a man’s overall weight, says Harrison Pope, M.D., a biological psychiatrist and steroid specialist at Harvard University medical school.

One long-term side effect: acromegaly, a.k.a. gigantism. “The only legitimate use of HGH is to help children with dwarfism or other growth problems. Even when it’s given to an adult, the body tries to grow more, creating a Frankenstein effect in the face, hands, and feet,” says Dr. Pope. Its price tag (thousands of dollars for a single cycle) keeps it out of the hands of the masses, but its real under-the-table value is that it’s hard to test for.

That’s also the appeal of the new designer steroid you’ve heard about: tetrahydrogestrinone, or THG, which disintegrates during the testing process. “Its safety and efficacy are unknown except for totally unsubstantiated claims emanating from the underground,” says Gary Wadler, M.D., a professor of medicine at the NYU school of medicine and an international expert on doping.

If you’re just an average guy like the rest of us, why risk your health—and an asterisk next to every personal best in your mental record book?

Is there any way to tell if someone is using steroids? Byron D., Lantana, FL

I can tell a guy’s on steroids if he can lift more than I can, or if he develops a Neanderthal forehead. These are more scientific signs:

• Rapid increase in strength and muscle mass, and a loss of body fat, in an advanced lifter. The price you pay for maximal size and strength is extra body fat . . . unless you give yourself the BALCO Boost.

• Outsized development of the muscles surrounding the shoulder girdle—the lats, trapezius, pectorals, and deltoids. Guys who aren’t on steroids can develop terrific physiques, but a natural lifter won’t end up with freaky shoulders.

• Impressive vascularity on really big muscles. Guys can get veiny and ripped, or they can get huge and kind of smooth, but they can’t get huge and veiny without some help.

What can I do about my man-boobs? R.B., FRESNO, CA

We love the look on women, oh yes, but man-boobs scare the breast jokes right out of us. Gynecomastia affects as many as 40 percent of men. Why so many? The condition can be brought on by obesity, excessive alcohol, pot smoking, and steroids—in other words, by simply acting stupid.

In many cases, however, there is no known cause. As for getting rid of them, drain that last tequila and stub out the blunt. If you’ve addressed all lifestyle causes, have lost weight, and still have a problem, you’re probably a candidate for breast-reduction surgery ($3,000). “The surgery can remove fat, breast tissue, and even extra skin in order to create a flatter chest,” says John A. Perrotti, M.D., a cosmetic plastic surgeon in Manhattan. “But you’ll want to lose extra weight first, because more fat removal may mean a larger scar.”

After surgery, there is swelling and bruising that gradually improves, but it may be as long as 6 months before you see the final result. If you’re skittish about scalpels, try the Male Compression Vest ($100 at, which can help give the appearance of a flat chest, yet is neither “bro” nor “manssiere.”

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Cops on roids 5

A new book says there’s even more to the Barry Bonds and steroids stories, but the pros aren’t the only ones who choose to use the juice

By Christopher McDougall, Photographs by Monte Isom, Posted Date: December 7, 2004

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Unless he changes his mind and makes a U-turn in the next 15 seconds, Bill is about to make the leap from average guy to federal felon.

A 45-year-old southern California sales executive, Bill has nearly a thousand dollars’ worth of illegal steroids bolted inside the armrest of his SUV, and only one car to go before the drug-sniffing dogs swarm around him at the Tijuana checkpoint. So does he wheel his vehicle around, dump his stash, and come home the law-abiding guy he was when he left the house this warm summer morning?

Or does he risk jail time and a rap sheet that could snuff his career and his marriage?

It’s worth it, Bill tells himself. He cranks up the air conditioner, eases his foot off the brake pedal, and glides up to the border patrolman and his choke-chained German shepherd.

“What were you doing in Mexico?” the patrolman asks.

“Just buying some presents for my wife,” Bill answers, holding up some handicraft jewelry he snuck out of his wife’s jewelry box. In fact, after making the drive to Tijuana, Bill bought steroids at a downtown pharmacy, then removed the four bolts that secure the SUV’s center console. He crammed the steroids inside, bolted the console back in place, and put a half-empty soda in the cupholder on top as camouflage.

“Are you carrying any prescription drugs?” the officer asks.

He knows, Bill worries. Why else would a muscular American businessman be making a 1-hour trip to Mexico during a workday?

“No,” Bill says.

“Pop your trunk,” the officer commands. Bill obliges, then stares straight ahead while the dogs snuffle frantically around his gym bag and spare quart of 40-weight. The officer returns to the driver’s side window, and Bill braces himself for the inevitable “Step out of the vehicle.”

But seconds later, he’s on his way, a freshly minted criminal with a grin on his face and just enough time, he realizes as he checks his watch, to make it back to his office before anyone realizes he’s gone. By the next morning, he’ll be injecting his way to a bigger, better body.

‘Roid Invasion

It’s no secret anymore that just about anyone who wrestles in a cage, flexes in a Speedo, or hits a heck of a lot more home runs than he did last year owes his extra power and thigh-size biceps to illegal anabolic steroids. But recently, another group has quietly joined the ranks of the ‘roided. They’re Wall Street brokers, cops, software developers–regular guys like Bill, in other words–who want to add muscle and melt fat, and don’t mind a little chemical help. They’re not out to be Smackdown champs or simulated Schwarzeneggers–they just want to look as good at age 30 or 40 as Mark Wahlberg did at 20.

“I call them ‘politely ‘roided,'” says Harrison Pope, M.D., a Harvard medical school specialist in steroid abuse and author of The Adonis Complex. “Steroids used to be the province of a certain small group, the people you’d think of as muscle freaks. That was in the ’70s and ’80s.” Over the past few years, however, the abuse has spread to mainstream men. They’re not the kind of guys who are bursting out of triple-X shirts, so they’re not so easily identifiable.

Dr. Pope is no envious, whining egghead. He’s been a gym rat himself for over 20 years, and it shows: With forearms bulging from his rolled-up sleeves, the 55-year-old doctor looks as if he could crank out a set of one-handed chinups in the doorway of his office. He started lifting at age 33 and became so “addicted,” he says, that he still slips out of his office nearly every midday for an hour or longer workout session.

So Dr. Pope knows what’s going on, despite the weight room’s mighty code of silence. And he estimates that as many as 1 million to 2 million Americans may have had juice in their veins at some time–a number that would ordinarily place steroid use in the epidemic category. But there’s no completely reliable data, because juicers have basically been overlooked, says Jack Stein, Ph.D., deputy director of science policy for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). “Unlike, say, crack addicts, the men who take steroids are basically healthy, clean-living people,” Stein explains. “We’ve been preoccupied with more immediate threats, like crack and heroin.”

Why It’s All the Rage

Studies are still continuing to verify estimates on adult steroid abusers, but Stein sees no reason to doubt Dr. Pope’s numbers. Lax law enforcement, America’s growing obsession with overgrown bodies, and the availability of steroids just across the border–and over the Internet–has created the steroid equivalent of a perfect storm. “In some of the gyms I’ve visited, I’ve been surprised by the sheer predominance of steroid use among men,” says Stein, who’s also a personal trainer. “People don’t see steroids as such a risk anymore.”

In fact, some see them as essential to a perfect body. Though health concerns compelled the U.S. Government to classify steroids as a controlled substance in 1991, they haven’t discouraged many body-conscious men–the very ones who would never smoke, drink, or allow chicken skin to pass their lips–from accepting steroids as little more than souped-up, fat-burning vitamins. “There’s a widespread belief that steroids are part of a healthy regimen,” confirms Dr. Pope, “like eating well and working out, and that they can be controlled through moderation.”

Is it just a gym rat’s fantasy, this idea that hormone-jangling drugs can actually be good for you? Not necessarily. There’s no question that large doses of steroids can cause any number of nasty side effects–from shrunken testicles to large breasts. What’s more, doctors have speculated that steroids may increase your risk of stroke, heart attack, liver disease, and prostate cancer, and lead to the superaggressive behavior known as ‘roid rage.

But the truth is, the medical community actually knows very little for certain about the long-term effects of steroid use–no one has done any large scientific studies. This is particularly true of the moderate doses favored by many of today’s casual users. And since steroids can be medicinal–doctors use them to treat certain types of anemia and several other conditions–there’s a growing belief in America’s gyms that a little bit of juice may be just what a body needs.

“In moderate dosages over the short term, can they be used safely?” asks Charles Yesalis, Sc.D., a Penn State professor of health policy and sports science, and author of The Steroids Game. “Probably, yes. The truth of the matter is that the majority of these performance-enhancing drugs have been cleared for medical use. So, clearly, they can be used safely.”

That’s not to say the long-term health concerns are false–it just means that no one has bothered to find out whether they’re true. Meanwhile, Arnold still strolls the Earth with a stogie in his hand and a smile on his face, a larger-than-life argument for steroids that no government agency has yet come up with the goods to refute.

One Man’s Obsession

While baseball’s steroid boom has been fueled by the quest for better numbers and bigger contracts, the average-guy juicing trend is less about performance than about looks. Take Bill. He’s also a recovering alcoholic, who became serious about bodybuilding 7 years ago, at age 38. (He figured that double sessions in the gym each day would keep his mind off booze.) Six months of intense lifting left his 6-foot, 5-inch frame looking better than it had in years. But one thing frustrated him: “I just couldn’t get any bigger,” he says. “Maybe it was an age thing–the body produces less testosterone as you grow older–but I maxed out at 212 pounds and couldn’t put on any more muscle.”

It didn’t take him long to find a solution. He’d never tried steroids before, but he quickly found a huge amount of information on the Internet, which in the past several years has become a vast, if not always reliable, repository for steroid data. Bill wavered for about a year before deciding to try his first “cycle,” a period of use (usually injections, pills, or ointments) that typically lasts 6 to 12 weeks, followed by downtime. First, however, he got a thorough physical. “I was pretty up front with my doc, and he was real cool about it,” Bill says. “He said as a doctor he couldn’t condone it, but he had a lot of patients on steroids. He didn’t try to talk me out of it.”

Bill’s new message-board buddies steered him toward a reliable supplier, a U.S-based black marketeer who demanded cash in advance but always delivered the drugs, by mail, within a week. Following another tip he’d gotten online, Bill had the package delivered to his doorstep, then “accidentally” kicked it into the shrubs and let it sit there a few days, thinking that would somehow fool the cops if he were being watched.

For his first “stack”–a combination of different steroids–Bill decided to go with the basics: two weekly injections to increase muscle mass, a shot of the hormone HCG to keep his testicles from shrinking too much while his body’s own testosterone was in chaos, and an oral dose of tamoxifen to help with enlarged breasts (“bitch tits,” as they’re commonly called). Steroids, after all, are basically synthetic testosterone: Flooding your bloodstream with them can fool the body into thinking it has enough of the real thing, so natural testosterone production shuts down.

Bill had never given an injection before, so at dawn one morning he sneaked out of bed before his wife was awake and practiced jabbing a needle into an orange. When he had the hang of it, he fitted a fresh needle onto the syringe and carefully sucked in 250 milligrams (mg) of Sustanon, a mixture of four different synthetic testosterones and a big favorite among juicers, since it’s widely available and known for fast muscle-mass gains. Bill swabbed a butt cheek with alcohol, braced himself, and plunged the needle home.

Damn! Good thing he’d been warned not to inject it into his shoulder; Sustanon can leave a nodule the size of a tennis ball. As soon as he stopped wincing, Bill followed the Sus with 200 mg of Deca-Durabolin, another favorite that helps the muscles absorb protein. One more shot to go: HCG, a natural hormone distilled from the urine of pregnant women.

And so, with a huge lump on his ass and pregnant-woman urine splashing around inside him, Bill headed off to the gym. “The first couple of days, I didn’t feel a thing,” he recalls. “If anything, I was a little tired and depressed.” But within 2 weeks, he felt a huge surge of strength, and after a month, his waist was shrinking and his chest expanding.

By the end of his 12-week cycle, Bill had added 80 pounds to his bench press, jacking it from 245 pounds to 325. His biceps had swollen from 16 inches to 18-1/2, and his waist had slimmed from a size 36 to a 34. In short, he’d given himself a radically larger, stronger, and leaner body in just 3 months. He was so big that his wife demanded to know what was going on. “She was freaked out at first,” Bill admits. “She insisted I go right out and buy more health insurance.”

The Pumping Iron Era

Despite his wife’s anxiety, Bill was ready to cycle again 8 months later. Since then, he has done at least one cycle a year for the past 6 years. He now weighs 265 pounds, with a very low, 12 percent body-fat ratio. He’s suffered no hint of ‘roid rage, he says, and his blood and liver enzymes are normal. “I got a little acne on my chest and back,” Bill shrugs. “Otherwise, I’m rockin’.”

Scientists have been searching for a magic, superman drug for more than 100 years, ever since a French researcher tried injecting himself with an extract of dog and guinea-pig testicles. The results of that experiment were disappointing–his special blend turned out to have no active hormones–but it didn’t prevent other scientists from continuing to search the scrotum for its secrets.

German scientists finally came up with a successful formula in the 1930s, when they found a way to chemically reproduce the original testosterone molecule. Early results were fantastic: The new _ber-hormones helped double the size of skeletal muscle and increased endurance and aggression. Some of these protosteroids were reportedly administered to Hitler’s troops in the 1940s, and later to Soviet athletes in the 1950s.

Soon after Iron Curtain powerlifters began annihilating their competition in the 1960s, anabolic steroids became the go-to drug for many elite athletes. Some negative side effects appeared, such as baldness, rampant acne, and plummeting sex drive. Even worse were the wild mood swings and frightening bursts of anger. Adolescents were suffering stunted growth, while female juicers saw their breasts flatten, their clitorises distend, and their faces sprout whiskers.

But there seemed to be little solid evidence, either then or in the decades that followed, that large numbers of ‘roided men were collapsing from strokes or other potentially fatal afflictions. On the contrary, some of the most prominent musclemen of the ’60s and ’70s–the heavily juiced Pumping Iron era–have passed into middle age with few discernible consequences of their track-marked youth. (Schwarzenegger’s 1997 heart surgery was to repair a congenital defect.) As for heart attacks and diseased prostates, to this day there’s no definitive link between these diseases and steroids. “We just don’t have the data,” says Dr. Yesalis. “Even though steroids have been epidemic in elite sports since the ’50s, we have yet to do the same epidemiological studies on them that we’ve done on tobacco, alcohol, and cocaine.”

Nor has law enforcement been trained to crack down on juicers. “When you look at what we have to deal with across the board, steroids are our responsibility but not our priority,” admits Will Glaspy, a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

No wonder so many average guys are acting as if the liquor store was left unlocked. “Look, more than 60 percent of the American population is overweight,” argues Mick Hart, the British fitness guru whose steroid-promoting Web site,, has made him an Internet hero to thousands of American steroid users. “If they can burn fat and add muscle by combining hard work with a little ‘gear,’ what’s the harm?” To back his point, Hart even put his 23-year-old son, Chris, on steroids, transforming him from a lumpy young man into a grinning, flexing hunk.

Judging by subscription rates for No Bull, Hart’s online steroid newsletter marketed toward middle-aged men, the juice business is booming, especially among Boomers. Last May, No Bull signed on 3,000 new subscribers.

“I get more than 200 e-mails a day from men all over the world,” Hart says. “Know what they all say? ‘I can’t wait to get started.'”

Unrealistic Expectations

Francis, a member of various anabolic chat rooms, is a 35-year-old New Yorker who is about to begin his second cycle with his lifting partner, a 37-year-old Wall Street broker. Francis first tried steroids 2 years ago, when the clerk at a national supplement-store chain startled him by saying he was wasting his time with legal supplements. “I was about to buy a testosterone booster called 1AD,” Francis recalls, “and the guy said I’d have to take 10 to 15 doses a day, which would do far more damage than a proper cycle.”

“If you’re going to do this stuff,” the clerk told him, “you might as well do steroids.” Francis spent 4 years reading detailed analyses of steroid composition and its effects, and finally decided the gains were worth the risks. “I don’t drink or smoke, and there is no history of heart disease or liver problems in my family,” he explains. Same for his broker buddy. Plus, their goals were modest–each just wanted to add a few inches to his chest and arms–so they felt confident they could keep their steroid use under control.

“We’re not muscle freaks,” Francis says. “In 2 years, this is only my second 8-week cycle on steroids.” All he wants to do, Francis says, is bulk up just enough to fill out his 6’4” frame. “I’ve been lifting since I was 17 and taking every supplement under the sun, and I finally realized that at 220 pounds, I’d gotten as big as I could naturally.”

Two hundred twenty pounds on a six-four frame? And he’s worried that he’s not big enough?

That, believes Dr. Pope, is cause for concern. In some men, once that hunger takes hold, there’s no satisfying it. “These men feel they never look good enough, and begin sacrificing their relationships, their careers, their peace of mind–because they are never satisfied with their bodies.”

This obsession has become so common that Dr. Pope has come up with a term for it: Adonis Complex. What fuels it, he says, are the ridiculously outsized bodies purveyed by Hollywood, magazine covers, and even action-toy manufacturers (just check out the size of G.I. Joe these days). “One of the biggest lies being handed to American men today is that you can somehow attain by natural means the huge shoulders and pectorals of the biggest men in the magazines,” says Dr. Pope. “Generations of young men are working hard in the gym and wondering what on earth they’re doing wrong. They don’t realize that the ‘hypermale’ look that’s so prevalent these days is essentially unattainable without steroids.”

Steroids have become so common, in fact, that Dr. Pope believes most of us no longer recognize a steroid-enhanced body when we see one. They’re all around us, bulging with injection-enhanced muscle but posing as clean. Because there are certain dimensions that cannot be attained without chemical help, Dr. Pope adds, he can walk through the mall or grab a stack of magazines and swiftly pick out many of the steroid users. The numbers, he says, are astonishingly high: “I once grabbed six men’s magazines at random, and I’m certain that more than half of them had steroid-enhanced men on the covers.

“No one wants to reveal that much of his impressive body is due to injections,” he continues. “I have met guys who would sooner tell you they had knocked over a convenience store or raped a girl in her dorm room than admit they had taken steroids.”

The ‘Roid Rage

Tragically, too many steroid users are guilty of just those crimes, and worse. As both a psychiatrist and a steroid expert, Dr. Pope has consulted in numerous criminal cases in which normally peaceful men, with no history of psychiatric problems, have suddenly gone berserk after a few cycles of steroids. In one case, a frail and timid 14-year-old boy began taking steroids to bulk up. He started having fits of anger so extreme that his mother took him to the emergency room to be examined. Two years later, at age 16, he stabbed his 14-year-old girlfriend to death with a carving knife while on a cycle of steroids.

There have been no systematic studies on steroid abuse among adult males, however, so there is still debate about the exact prevalence of  ‘roid rage and no clear understanding of its causes. However, Dr. Pope has no doubt that somewhere there is a cause and effect between synthetic testosterone and heightened aggression. “I’ve seen far too many examples of  ‘roid rage for this to be a coincidence,” Dr. Pope says. Even in sedate lab studies, steroid users have had violent reactions; in one early clinical test at the National Institute of Mental Health, for instance, a volunteer who’d taken a dose lower than used by the average bodybuilder became so out of control that he asked to be placed in the ward seclusion room.

Granted, medical science has yet to determine the long-term physiological risks or explain the cause of psychological flare-ups. But in the meantime, is it worth becoming a self-appointed guinea pig just to add a few inches of unnecessary bulk?

“My fear,” Dr. Pope says, “is that one day, we’ll look back on this period in steroid history the way smokers are looking back on the 1950s, before the link to lung cancer was well understood. Sometime in the future, many steroid users could be in trouble from some unforeseen long-term consequences of these drugs and wishing they’d known more in advance.”

Bill’s wife still wants him to stop, but unlike in his drinking days, she hasn’t given him the ultimatum. Bill knows why. “If she did,” he says, “she’d lose.” Steroids, he feels, have changed his life. Alcohol was an escape; steroids are who he is. “This is the body I was meant to have,” he explains. “It just took a little help to get there.” Currently, he’s in the midst of a new cycle, this time experimenting with Dianabol and Equipoise, a veterinary steroid designed for horses.

“I’ve never been healthier in my life,” Bill concludes. There’s no denying the joy in his voice–but his final comment is a chilling echo of Dr. Pope’s warning about size obsession.

“I feel like an Adonis!” Bill thunders.

Lose the Juice

Bulking up naturally is the way to go. Men’
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