Doctor illegally prescribed steroids to police officers, firefighters

Through word of mouth, a Jersey City doctor became the steroid supplier of choice for hundreds of policemen and firefighters throughout New Jersey in a scam that likely cost taxpayers in the state millions, reports the Newark-Star Ledger.

Before his death in 2007, Dr. Joseph Colao had provided fake prescriptions for at least 248 officers and firefighters from 53 agencies, beginning in 2005, according to an investigation by the Star Ledger. That included 40 police and 27 firemen in Jersey City, 18 people in Passaic's sheriff's department and 14 from the Hudson County sheriff's office and corrections department.

Colao would write prescriptions for anabolic steroids, human chorionic gonadotropic (often taken with steroids to kick-start the production of testosterone) and human growth hormone. He apparently steered clients to a neighborhood pharmacy in Brooklyn. In exchange, Lowen's Pharmacy in Bay Ridge sent him boxes of HGH as a kickback that he could sell for cash.

Over a 13-month period, Colao cranked out 235 growth hormone prescriptions for members of the Jersey City Police Department, alone. At an average price of $1,100 per month, those prescriptions likely cost the public nearly $260,000.

Colao's business as a steroid supplier started after a crash course on hormone replacement therapy. He wrote fake diagnoses for low testosterone levels or adult growth hormone deficiency, both relatively uncommon conditions.

Attorney General Paula Dow, New Jersey's top law enforcement official, condemned the alleged actions of the police officers, saying they were "disturbing."

"It's a fraud on the system," she added, "and it's something that should be stopped."

To learn more:
- read these two Star-Ledger articles: article 1 and article 2