Saturday, July 8, 2017

Interesting discovery while researching urinalysis and law enforcement

Recently, I took part in a discussion on why people receiving welfare should be subject to drug testing before they receive benefits. The discussion was set off by one of those "like if you support mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients " memes. I am one of those people who can see why there is a need for a certain program and why that system cannot be implemented without running afoul of the constitution, specifically the 4th amendment. It simple to see why there is a problem because saying the government will not help you unless you agree to drug testing could be viewed as a coercive way of having someone's 4th amendment right concerning search and seizure, unlawful ones. Still, I know there are those who use public assistance to support their drug habit and that is wrong. That argument is for another day because while reviewing the reasoning of one of the participants arguments I discovered things are not always as they seem and sometimes you find ugliness where you least expect it, law enforcement. I should not say law enforcement as a whole but a small percentage that is enough to cause concern.
The person arguing that welfare recipients undergo drug tests for welfare just like they have to to maintain their employment in law enforcement. As a former military member I know about drug testing because I was subject to the random urinalysis program all members of the military agree to when enlisting. In the Navy, and I assume it is the same for other branches of the military, a number is drawn when someone decides that a random testing is to be conducted. If your last digit of your social security number matches the number selected then you had to provide a urine sample under the watchful eye of a senior enlisted member or officer. It happened that day, under view so no one could get away with bringing in a thing of clean urine or anything to mess up the test. We were never warned in advance so there was no way to prepare beforehand. You always assumed you would called to pee everyday. I had no problem as I am quite the anti drug drug type and though I live in a state with legalized marijuana I will never partake, heck I don't even drink alcohol anymore.
Not being familiar with law enforcement policy on urinalysis, I am sure each department has their own way of handling it, I decided to research and compare the most common procedures with that of the military. I mean the person arguing that all welfare recipients undergo urinalysis made it seem like where they worked was about as strict in conducting urinalysis as the Navy. To my surprise I discovered much of the information on law enforcement and urinalysis doesn't concern the programs but methods to beat urinalysis and what not to worry about. Right now you are probably thinking one of two things: either you thinking I am anti cop and trying to slander law enforcement with bogus claims, or that I am saying cops are dirty and using drugs like meth, heroine, cocaine, or marijuana. Wrong on both accounts. First, what I found made me concerned for the safety of the public and the officers. Second, the thing I found out is that they are cops using steroids as a means of bulking up to stay on top of their job.
Where did I find this information? One, forums about bodybuilding and law enforcement. These forums can be found with Google search and since I am unclear about the legality of reprinting messages from these forums I will just paraphrase so to speak, better yet just cover the gist of the discussions. There were more than a few individuals who were concerned about if their steroid use would be detected during the preemployment intake urinalysis. I was shocked to read by the responses. First, most agencies don't test for steroids or growth hormones because of cost. Some were never tested at all. Second, most stated they were only tested once and that was the one before they were hired. The only drug they said to be concerned about were illegal narcautics. No one claimed to use illegal drugs or promoted the use thereof, only steroids and illegal supplements.
After this discovery I next searched for information on how prevalent steroids maybe in law enforcement. This lead me to this article by the Drug Enforcement Administration under the department of Justice.
Apparently this is a known issue and the DOJ has a program to address it, but since it seems voluntary I don't think it is used much. Also I don't think that police chiefs, sheriff's and other higher up law officials are aware they may have a problem in their respective departments. I don't see those in charge promoting the use of illegal substances, steroids and growth hormones, are illegal without a prescription. Plus, steroids and growth hormones are a danger to the users health. What is the trade off? Short term strength to subdue a suspect only to suffer a premature death from the effects of steroids? I know that law enforcement officers put their lives on the line everyday but do they also need to further put their lives in danger for a rockhard intimidating body? Let's say you retire from law enforcement and now plan to kick up your heals with your family and relax. If you used steroids or growth hormones chances are that will be a short retirement and your rockhard intimidating body won't mean anything to anyone but the worms once you're lowered into the ground.
In my life I have watched a few funerals for police officers killed in the line of duty, it tears the heart out me like it does everyone else. Seeing parents burying their child, wives receiving a folded American flag, the fallen officers children who will never see their parent again or see what they do in life, it is gut wrenching. The same picture can happen to a law enforcement officer using steroids to keep up, but instead of some punk putting them in the ground it will be their own hand, unintentionally but the result and picture will be the same.
I could go into the legality of this and say that every officer who uses illegal substances like steroids are crooks but what would that do? These are the men and women who put their life on the line Day in and day out, their intention is not of malice and whose to say what we would do or feel in their place, I would wish that there would be a guiding hand and voice that would say there is a tradeoff and it is not worth it. A bruise can heal, a bad heart will fail.