Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The problem with drug testing

A few years back, it seemed the national mood favored mandatory drug testing for high school athletes. New Jersey, Texas and Florida all adopted limited programs and more states seemed likely to follow.

That never happened. Now Florida is abandoning its program.

The reason - at least, the primary one - is a surprise. Not enough kids were testing positive for steroids. In Florida last year, only one out of 600 players tested postive for a banned drug, and both the player and his coach vehemently challenged the result. Texas tested 10,117 students from February to June, and reported just two positives.

Various explanations are offered for positive results near zero, from overstated concerns about drug users in high school to doubts about the testing itself. This from USA Today: Former Penn State professor Charles Yesalis, who has been following doping issues for three decades, says, "Unless the kid has an IQ at room temperature, you wouldn't expect them to get caught. There's all this information out there all over the Internet on how to circumvent these tests. And a lot of these programs have loopholes, including the fact you aren't testing during the summer."

No comments: