Wishing to add to last week’s discussion on Texas legislators’ move to enforce random steroid testing for high school athletes, Rick Collins, the nation’s foremost legal authority on performance enhancing substances, had this to say:
Last time I looked, Senate Bill 8 was awaiting the signature of Governor Rick Perry, having been steered through the legislative process by the State’s Lieutenant Governor. Once the bill is signed into law, Texas will become the newest state to approve random testing of certain public school students for anabolic steroid use. The bill will take effect in the coming 2007-2008 school year.
The Texas approach is one whopping endeavor. The bill goes far beyond the limited program enacted last year in New Jersey or the one soon launching in Florida. Reports are that up to 22,000 Texas student athletes may be tested, suggesting a potential bureaucratic and logistical nightmare. While funding is in place for the coming school year, who’s going to fund it year after year?
Okay, look, nobody wants kids abusing drugs of any kind. Keeping teens away from steroids is a worthy idea, aside from its too-obvious political value as a “save the children” vote-grabber. And if the main gripes our society has with non-medical steroid use are 1) the physical dangers to kids and 2) the harm to sports fairness, then a control system to deter teen athletes from juicing up makes more sense than a maze of criminal laws mainly enforced against mature adult non-athletes. But there are other illicit drugs besides steroids that physically endanger our kids. While these drugs may not enhance sports performance, they are far more prevalent and they can and do kill. The way I see it, the three million dollar annual price tag for this program would be better spent addressing a broader array of more prevalent drugs of abuse. For further applicable criticism (regarding New Jersey ’s approach), see the News Headline dated 01/08/06 at www.steroidlaw.com.
In conclusion Kelly Baggett offered his feelings on the matter, saying that:
Since I do spend a significant amount of time in Texas I had 2 initial thoughts. The first one was “Oh boy, – now I have to listen to all these teenagers go around talking about how that creatine they’re taking is gonna make them fail their steroid test” The 2nd though I had was “There are probably also gonna be a bunch of punks busted for using legal prohormones and wondering how in the heck they came up positive when that guy from the local health food stored told them,’These ain’t steroids.'”
Overall I think it’s a waste of time and money and will create more problems and confusion than anything else.