Should High School Athletes be tested for Performance Enhancing Drugs and Steroids?

Author Carl Dueker’s FICTIONAL book “Gym Candy” takes a look at a rising high school football star. This player has always been bigger and better than everyone else, so when a teammate starts to out lift him in the weight room, pressure starts to build. The pressure from his mother and father both being great athletes. The pressure from being groomed to be great from when he was five years old. Finally, the pressure of failure. What does this high school athlete do? He turns to:

Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED’s)

The book may be fictional, but this kind of situation is happening everyday in high schools all over this country. It is a growing epidemic, and has only gotten worse over the past 15 years.

The argument about professional athletes has been talked about ad nauseam over the past few months, with both sides arguing about the legitimacy of weather there is really an advantage gained. These people are ADULTS, free to make their own choices and deal with the consequences. The real question that begs to be asked is:

Should high school athletes be tested for PED’s and supplements?

The state of Florida takes the lead…. The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) announced last week that they will implement tougher guidelines for PED testing that will be enforced by the individual school districts. In a quote to Miami Herald, FHSAA Executive Director Roger Dearing addressed the situation:

“We believe we must draw a line in the sand regarding performance enhancing drugs. It’s been the elephant in the room that all of us have known existed for a long time, but we may not have been as vigilant as we should have been.”

Florida has reason for its concern…. According to the Miami Herald, the client list of Biogenesis, the same firm that provided PED’s to professional athletes, including Alex Rodriguez, has high school players on its client list. In the list dated from October 2011, there are two current high school seniors, and five former high school athletes that were clients of Biogenesis.

Wouldn’t testing high school athletes level the playing field? They test in professional sports and college sports, why shouldn’t they test in high schools? Athletes are starting to train and lift at a younger and younger age, so shouldn’t hard work be the determining factor in their success?

The benefits are obvious….We would be making a dent in drug use in our public schools. Doctors and parents would be alerted to drug use in their children. Parents could then choose whether to tie further participation in team sports to their kids getting help and getting clean. We would be making a statement about what it takes to be a team player, do one’s best, respect one’s body and really “show up” to compete.

Sounds like a no-brainer doesn’t it? We can just test everyone, and that will put an end to this won’t it? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t that simple

Who pays for the test?…. If the individual school districts are enforcing the tests and its results, shouldn’t they pay FOR the testing? Way too expensive. Using Florida as an example, testing every high school athlete, at $150 dollars a test, would cost 42 million dollars! Can a process be developed where the school can randomly test an athlete that is under suspicion of using PED’s and steroids? That opens a whole new can of worms, and is the basis of the argument against basic testing.

Testing violates ones rights…. It’s the biggest argument you hear about why you can’t test high school athletes. It becomes a privacy issue. Why test me and not everyone else? Shouldn’t it be the parents responsibility to look after what their own child is doing? It is at all constitutional?

What exactly can be considered performance enhancing? Can the year round availability of a weight room, a batting cage, or a gym be considered a performance enhancer compared to other schools that don’t have that availability? In that case, isn’t the athlete that has those facilities considered to have an unfair advantage over those that don’t? What if a student NEEDS medication, such as Adderall, which would be considered a performance enhancing drug, but would ALSO provide the necessary treatment for certain types of attention-deficit disorder?

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