New focus on steroid and drug abuse by professional athletes has caused parents and officials enough concern to merit official drug testing for high school athletes as well. Why? The belief is that if professional athletes are using steroids younger athletes might be tempted to use them to be successful like their heroes. It is also believed that many of these athletes began using steroids as early as high school or college age. Little is known about how often athletes of high school age use these performance enhancing drugs because testing has until recent years been considered an invasion of privacy and an unnecessary step to preventing steroid and illegal drug use.
How is Drug Testing for Sports Conducted?
In most schools the student is randomly selected from the list of athletes on any given sports team and told to submit a urine sample at the assigned testing station. The student is usually observed (by an adult of the same sex as the student) as they give the sample and held there until they can submit a sample that is at least 90 ml and of the right temperature (meaning that they have a large enough sample and one that isn’t showing signs of tampering)and ph.
Once the sample is taken, it is shipped off to a lab to be tested for performance enhancing drugs; the results usually take 7-10 days depending on if it’s positive or negative. If the test is positive the student will be suspended from all sports for at least 30 days and until they can pass another screen.
Is There Anything in the Way of Prevention Offered by the School?
Yes, there are several forms of prevention offered along with drug testing to help make a more effective and successful drug-free program for students. Counseling is offered along with educational programs made to help teach students the dangers of these drugs. In no way is the program intended to be disciplinary. As a program intended to prevent drug use it offers every possible means of educating students and aiding them with any problems that need addressing to prevent drug use from developing or to resolve its use.
Will This Affect the Student’s Academic Career?
No, while there may be students who receive positive test results it will not be recorded in their student file or reported to the faculty. Only those to whom the information is relevant will be informed of the results whether positive or negative.
Who knows about the results? The student, their parents and a substance abuse counselor are able to see the test results. Every effort is made to keep results confidential in order to ease the process of recovery and encourage the student to get off of whatever drugs they tested positive for.
Counseling is provided and encouraged to further the process. While the student may be subject to a temporary suspension form activities their results aren’t discussed or in any way made public. When the student completes high school or leaves the school district in some other fashion their drug testing records are destroyed.