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Must learnedly read, too; in part, of intellectual rigor
|Posted Monday, January 14, 2008|
|Prominent Entertainers Cited in Steroids Inquiry|
By BRUCE LAMBERT
Entertainers including the singer Mary J. Blige and the rapper 50 Cent are among thousands of people whose names are turning up in an investigation into obtaining steroids or human growth hormones, an Albany newspaper reported on Sunday.
The Times Union reported that the investigation, being conducted by the Albany County district attorney, P. David Soares, also found evidence that in addition to Ms. Blige and 50 Cent, other possible recipients included two other musicians, Wyclef Jean and Timbaland, and Tyler Perry, an author, actor and producer in theater, film and television.
The newspaper cited records it had gotten and information from witnesses on Long Island who were cooperating with the investigation. A spokeswoman for Mr. Soares declined to comment on the report on Sunday.
A spokeswoman for Ms. Blige, Karynne Tencer, said: Mary J. Blige has never taken any performance-enhancing illegal steroids. Ms. Tencer added that Ms. Blige had not taken any antiaging steroids either.
Representatives for the others were not immediately available for comment.
None of the celebrities was accused of violating the law. Instead, the investigation has focused on stopping the flow of the drugs by cracking down on doctors who illegally prescribe them without seeing patients, and on the so-called anti-aging clinics, pharmacies and other distributors that supply the drugs.
Since it became public nearly a year ago, the Albany inquiry has led investigators to suppliers in New York, Florida and Texas. To date, 10 defendants have pleaded guilty to various charges.
The Albany investigation has given a glimpse into how steroids and growth hormone have flourished into a multibillion-dollar underground industry with an international supply chain, law enforcement authorities say.
Major League Baseball has been rocked by a scandal over players use of steroids or growth hormone to enhance their performance. Other athletes have used the drugs, and the Albany investigation has also turned up New York City police officers among the recipients, some apparently using the drugs for bodybuilding.
While professional athletes have been the most frequently cited illicit users of the drugs, the report suggests that show-business celebrities also have resorted to them. For entertainers, the appeal of the drugs may be their reputed but scientifically unproven antiaging effects.
Medical experts say the drugs have legitimate uses for certain conditions, like promoting growth in stunted youngsters with hormone deficiencies. But misuse of the drugs can be harmful, causing physical and psychological damage, the experts say.
Steroids are regulated as controlled substances, but growth hormone is not. Proposed legislation would reclassify growth hormone and more tightly restrict its use.
Citing information from witnesses cooperating in the investigation, The Times Union said that drugs were shipped to celebrities, sometimes under pseudonyms, at their homes, studios and hotels and through the Clay Fitness Club and Spa on West 14th Street in Manhattan and the director of its antiaging and longevity program, Dr. Michael Diamond, a chiropractor from Long Island. He declined to comment because of patient confidentiality, the newspaper said.
The Clay Club and Dr. Diamonds Long Island office were closed on Sunday night, and there was no listing for a home phone.
According to The Times Union, records showed that prescriptions for Ms. Blige and other performers were signed by Dr. Gary Brandwein, an osteopath from Florida. He has been charged with felony drug violations in the Albany investigation and has pleaded not guilty. His lawyer, Terence L. Kindlon of Albany, declined to comment Sunday night.
Last February, the Albany investigation conducted raids of the Signature Compounding Pharmacy in Orlando, Fla., and a wellness center in Palm Beach, in connection with the suspected sale of millions of dollars of steroids. People involved in operating those businesses were indicted and are awaiting trial.
Serge F. Kovaleski and Ben Sisario contributed reporting.
Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company. Reprinted from The New York Times, New York Region, of Monday, January 14, 2008.
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