Portland cops now allowed to use illegal steroids on the job

Comments and questions

Portland cops now allowed to use illegal steroids on the job

Postby Brandon » Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:49 pm

http://blog.oregonlive.com/portland_impact/print.html?entry=/2013/11/portland_police_tentative_cont.html

Image

Portland police union's tentative contract protects officers who take supplements containing steroids

The Portland Police Association said the bureau's drug-testing policy would be revised to favor its members under a tentative four-year contract. How? It "protects members who take sports supplements that are tainted with steroids or prohormones,'' according to a union memo e-mailed to members this weekend.

The Oregonian

Maxine Bernstein

on November 18, 2013 at 3:34 PM, updated November 20, 2013 at 2:37 PM

The Portland police union's tentative contract contains a new protection for officers: They won't face repercussions if they take sports supplements that are "tainted with steroids or prohormones'' and test positive in random drug tests.

The new proposal, though, would essentially negate the Police Bureau's testing of officers for steroids, experts said Monday.

"If you test positive, you test positive. It's an illegal drug,'' said Dr. Linn Goldberg, head of OHSU's Health Promotion and Sports Medicine.

Because sport supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and are sold over-the-counter, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration have advised police officers across the country not to jeopardize their careers by taking the unknown substances.

Instead, experts recommend that police agencies or cities agree on a list of supplements voluntarily tested by their manufacturers that officers could use, said Phoenix police Cmdr. Kim Humphrey, who has written about steroid testing for the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Goldberg and Humphrey said they've never heard of the exception that's proposed in the next contract for the Portland Police Association. Humphrey called it ''unusual.''

"I don't get it,'' Goldberg said. "They're using something that was placed in a product illegally, but that's OK? It essentially voids the drug testing.''

Goldberg cited a 2003 study by the International Olympic Committee Medical Commission, which found that about 18 percent of dietary supplements sold in the U.S. for the purpose of building muscle and improving athletic performance have been contaminated with steroid-like chemicals. The commission, as a result, recommended athletes not take these supplements.

Goldberg said some manufacturers of sports supplements have their products tested by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, a scientific nonprofit organization that sets standards for the identity, strength, quality, and purity of medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements manufactured, distributed and consumed worldwide. Its drug standards are enforceable by the Food and Drug Administration, and its tested products contain a USP label.

"They should use supplements that are recommended, and not the other ones,'' Goldberg said.

Portland police union president Officer Daryl Turner, city labor negotiators and Mayor Charlie Hales have declined to speak about or release a copy of the tentative contract until it's ratified by members and adopted by the City Council.

But in a question-and-answer sheet submitted to all union members this weekend to encourage them to support the contract, the union wrote: "What's with the 'unlabeled sport supplement' change? This change to the substance abuse policy protects members who take sports supplements that are tainted with steroids or prohormones.''

The union ballots are to be counted Nov. 26.

In 2012, the Portland Police Bureau started random drug tests of officers. The bureau expected to test up to 55 officers a month, or 660 a year. The bureau included testing for steroids, despite stiff opposition from the union.

Last year, the Portland Police Association union wanted the city to conduct a special test for supplements if an officer tested positive for steroids. At the time, Turner wrote in a letter to the city's human resources director, ''To expect officers to read the list of ingredients on the back of a supplement bottle, many of which are in chemical terms, and then determine whether those chemicals might contain illegal substances is to ask the impossible.'' :lol:

But the city objected to further tests. Yvonne Deckard, who served as head of the city's Human Resources Bureau last year, stood firm in objecting to the union's concerns: "Other jurisdictions have steroid testing, period. If you test positive, you test positive, period. My position is, your employer now tests for steroids, and you agree to it. What your job is, is to make sure you don't test positive for steroids.''

Why the city apparently has moved away from this stance to a less stringent requirement was not clear Monday.

During contract talks this year, according to sources, the union proposed having an officer who tests positive for steroids be able to challenge the test by paying for a subsequent test of a sports supplement they were using. If the supplement contains steroids, the officer would be required to stop using the supplement but would not face other repercussions.
Humphrey said he appreciates the problem, but there's a better solution: Have the city and union agree on a vetted list of healthy supplements. Otherwise, the proposed contract policy is going to make the bureau's drug testing ineffective, he said.

"All an officer has to ever say is, 'I took that supplement,' '' Humphrey said. "And how would you know that's where it came from?''

Humphrey, who helped his department become the first major police agency to begin random tests of officers for steroids more than five years ago, said he recalled a case in which an officer tested positive for steroids and claimed it was from a sports supplement. Asked to produce the supplement, he couldn't, Humphrey said.

Under current policy, Portland officers who test positive for steroids or certain controlled substances, they face automatic termination. If officers test positive for alcohol or illegally used prescription drugs, they're given the option of seeking treatment, facing up to a 40-hour suspension without pay or having their police powers restricted and getting a desk job assignment. The bureau has been testing for five classes of drugs: marijuana, cocaine, opiates, phencyclidine or PCP and amphetamines.

--Maxine Bernstein
Close the world, txEn eht nepO.
User avatar
Brandon
Site Admin
 
Posts: 807
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:21 am

Return to Open Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests