The ongoing investigation into steroid trafficking that has already sent shockwaves through professional baseball is now reportedly looking at members of the music industry as well. According to a report in Albany, New York's Times Union, citing confidential sources, the names of Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, Timbaland and Wyclef Jean have turned up in an Albany-based probe.
The report claims that the singers and rappers are among tens of thousands of people who may have either used or received prescribed shipments of steroids and injectable human growth hormone (HGH) in recent years. But law enforcement officials said they don't have evidence that musicians and other customers violated any laws. Instead, the probe focuses on anti-aging clinics, doctors and pharmacists who prescribed the drugs.
Medical experts told the paper that the alleged use of the drugs in the entertainment industry — which is already a human laboratory for anti-aging shortcuts from collagen, fat and botox injections to a laundry list of plastic-surgery procedures — is proof of how steroid use has spread in this country. Steroids and HGH, currently the focus of a congressional investigation into their use in professional baseball, are being illegally prescribed across the country at increasing rates under the misconception that they enhance healing, looks, strength and speed, and slow aging, but experts warn that the drugs can also have serious side effects when prescribed incorrectly.
The Times Union says it gained access to records from several unnamed cooperating witnesses on Long Island, New York, that reportedly indicate that human growth hormone or steroids were shipped to Blige and the others — sometimes under fictitious names — at hotels, production studios, private residences, an upscale Manhattan fitness club and through the Long Island office of chiropractor Michael Diamond. Diamond, who has not been identified as a target in the case or accused of breaking any laws, helps run an anti-aging program at Clay Gym in Manhattan.
Spokespeople for 50 Cent, Timbaland and Blige could not be reached for comment at press time — Jean's spokespeople were reached, but offered no comment — however the New York Daily News reported that Blige blasted the Times Union story Sunday night. "Mary J. Blige has never taken any performance-enhancing illegal steroids," spokeswoman Karynne Tencer told the Daily News.
Diamond said patient privacy laws prevent him from discussing whom he has treated or why, though he denied having anything to do with athletes. The Times Union noted that it "appears evident" that Diamond does cater to famous clients, as evidenced by the many stars, including faded action hero Steven Seagal, whose autographed photos line the walls of the doctor's office.
The Times Union claims it has also obtained records showing that performers received prescriptions signed by South Florida osteopath Dr. Gary Brandwein, who was named last year as the physician who prescribed steroids to professional wrestler Chris Benoit, who killed his wife, son and himself. Brandwein is awaiting trial in Albany on felony drug charges.
To date, the paper reported that, in addition to the stars and Major League baseball players, the probe has also exposed allegations of steroid use by professional wrestlers, NFL players, police officers, prison guards, top-ranked body builders and people with ties to high school and college wrestling programs. HGH made the news last year when actor Sylvester Stallone paid a $2,975 fine to settle charges in Australia that he illegally possessed vials of steroids and HGH during a customs inspection of his luggage. Stallone said at the time that he needed the drugs to treat a pituitary gland issue.