Testosterone: 'Viagra for the Boardroom'?

From police departments to Fortune 500 companies, more men are using performance-enhancing drugs.
3:00 | 09/21/12

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Transcript for Testosterone: 'Viagra for the Boardroom'?
You have could call it the macho man's little helper. The latest performance enhancing drug to sweep the nation. Banned in professional sports. Testosterone injections have become a magic bullet for men looking for more energy, more muscles, even a better sex life. But for some, the side effects can be dangerously unpredictable. So much so that police departments nation wiwide are cracking down on their own officers. Here's abc's neal karlinsky. Reporter: Chris running has bulging biceps, two homes and four businesses and still has time for walks on the beach and wine with his wife, rebecca. Cheers. Reporter: But he doesn't do it on his own. His secret, a little vial he injects into his leg twice a week. A tiny dose of testosterone. I wouldn't run four companies without this program. Reporter: He is part of a new generation. A driven, successful man who doesn't mind shooting up to get an edge and stay young. In less than three years, he says testosterone has transformed him. Stripping away 30 pounds of fat, building muscles that he never had and sharpening his mind to the point that he says he has an absolute edge over the next guy. Successful business people want to be more successful. And I think if they knew how effective testosterone could be for them, to have even more of an edge, they would be all over it. Reporter: T, as it is sometimes been called, has moved from the drug of shame in sports to something marketed by some doctors as a virtual fountain of youth for middle aged men. Prescriptions have doubled in the last six years. Might have a treatable condition called low t. Reporter: But there are possible side effects. Blood clots, prostate cancer, impatience and aggressive behavior. And it's that last side effect that is setting off alarm bells in, of all places, some of the nation's largest police departments. It can cause you, basically, to make rash decisions. Get angry. When you are talking about someone who is carrying a gun, that's a pretty dangerous situation. Reporter: Amy briton with "the star ledger" of newark discovered a startling case. 240 police officers and firefighters from 53 agencies tied to a jersey city physician giving out questionable prescriptions. In his first interview since the scandal, jersey city police chief thomas comey says his officers were using testosterone to bulk up. When we looked at it, what we determined was, there was a health concern for these officers. We all sanctioned by this government to carry a weapon and potentially use deadly force so you'd like to make sure that that season impacted by a potential increase in aggression. Reporter: His department is far from alone. We found police departments nationwide, which have begun a new series of drug the u.S.S. No longer just for marijuana and cocaine, but for testosterone and a variety of steroids. A amy brittain found a common theme. There was a need to feel stronger, faster, to feel better about yourself. Reporter: Testosterone is naturally occurring, which diminishes with age. But researchers we spoke to say normal testosterone levels fall into an incredibly vague thousands-point scale. In many cases, doctors are putting enthusiastic patients near the top end of the scale. A hormone level that may feel good, but with uncertain long-term effects. In san francisco, dr. Karron power is a believer in testosterone. Atom by atom, it matches what your body would have made on its own. Reporter: Doctors say the bad press is unfair, but in a strange way, also driving and in. So, in that way, the press that the athletes shine on testosterone drives meno the clinic for various other reasons. Reporter: The new england journal of medicine finds only about 2% of men over 40 should be getting any boost at all. It's a statistic that some t users strongly disagree with. You know, why not feel as good as you could possibly feel? I think this is quite as simple as that. At some point, do I have to take growth hormone because it will help me feel better and stay, you know, more fit and perform better, whatever that might mean? Whatever age I'm at? Then, I'm certainly do that. Reporter: A performance enhanced lifestyle, banned on the playing field, growing strong everywhere else. I'm neal karlinsky for "nightline" in california. Testosterone. Thank you, neal karlinsky, for

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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