should high school athletes be tested for steroids

you decide

IMO, you should NOT test for steroids , instead test for RECREATIONAL drugs

like coke, meth and other drugs!


High school athletes to face testing for steroids
Texas Senate and House aim for random checks starting in the fall
AUSTIN — Thousands of Texas high school athletes likely will face random tests for steroids next fall, as state lawmakers move to crack down on what they consider a serious problem in sports.

The tests and sanctions for offenders were ordered in similar bills approved 28-2 Tuesday by the Texas Senate and given preliminary approval on a voice vote in the House.

Differences between the two measures, including how to pay for the testing program and exactly how many athletes will be tested, will still have to be resolved before the legislation goes to the governor.

Under the Senate bill, the state would pay the costs, estimated at $2 million to $4 million a year. The House version would allow the University Interscholastic League, which would administer the testing program, to cover the costs by imposing additional admission fees at sporting events.

“Until we randomly test, I don’t know that we truly will get our arms around the problem,” said Sen. Kyle Janek, R-Houston, an anesthesiologist and author of the Senate bill, SB8.

Steroid abuse is a rapidly growing problem in high schools, Janek said. Young people are abusing steroids to become better athletes, but they have no idea how they can harm their bodies and minds, he said.
Testing for 3 percent
The Senate bill would require anyone participating in high school athletics to agree not to use illegal steroids and submit to random testing if selected for school teams. It also would require all athletic coaches from grades 7 through 12 to complete an educational program on the health effects of steroid abuse.

The testing program, as outlined by the Senate bill, would randomly test about 3 percent, or about 22,000, of the approximately 740,000 students who participate in Texas high school sports each year.

Athletes from at least 30 percent of the state’s high schools would be tested. The schools would be selected and other details of the testing program would be carried out by the UIL.

The Senate bill sets a minimum 30-day suspension from sports for an athlete who tests positive for steroids the first time, a one-year suspension for a second positive test and a permanent ban for a third positive test.

The House bill, HB346 by Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, would require the UIL, which governs high school athletics, to establish a “statistically significant number” of students to be tested and set ineligibility periods for those who fail.
‘A local decision’
There was no debate on the bill in either the House or the Senate.

“I think school districts already have the ability to do random drug testing now, and I think that’s sufficient,” said Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, who voted against the bill. “I think it needs to be a local decision that’s made by locally elected officials and the parents in the school district.”

State law prohibits the use, possession and dispensing of steroids unless prescribed by a physician. But in a 2004 national study, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the University of Michigan found that more than 40 percent of high school seniors described steroids as “fairly easy” or “very easy” to get.

Some schools already test athletes for steroids, and the House Research Organization cited a study by Texas A&M University showing that steroid use among Texas students in the seventh through 12th grades decreased from 2 percent in 2004 to 1.5 percent in 2006.

Supporters of the legislation say the downward trend is a strong indication that increased testing would be a deterrent to steroid use.

“Young athletes who want to improve their performance by using these substances are putting their lives at risk, and too often adults and peers are looking the other way,” said Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who has made the legislation a priority.
A local testing program
Don Ryan, president of the Cypress-Fairbanks school board in northwest Harris County, said he supports drug testing. His district initiated a three-year random drug-testing program this year, part of a $1 million U.S. Department of Education grant.

So far, Cypress-Fairbanks has tested about half of the 14,381 students eligible for random tests for steroids and other drugs — those enrolled in extracurricular activities, including athletics. So far, only 2.8 percent have failed a test, none for steroid use, said spokeswoman Kelli Durham.

Bellaire High School head football coach Jeff Walker considers the legislation “political posturing” and unnecessary, especially when teenagers are struggling with addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

“I haven’t seen it,” he said of steroid use. “I can think of no more than three occasions that I even suspected someone of it.”

But Walker said he wasn’t opposed to statewide steroid testing of athletes, as long as districts don’t have to pay for it, a sentiment echoed elsewhere in the Houston area.