Testing for Steroids in High School?

Well our state legislators failed to do anything significant about property insurance and taxes. They did nothing to remove the hundreds of tax exemptions that screw up the funding of governmental service. They did nothing about the crumbling infrastructure of our highways and bridges.

But they did find time for an idiotic steroid testing plan. The State of Florida will begin an extremely limited, biased and foolish pilot program by randomly testing a whole one percent of athletes in three sports: baseball, football and weight lifting.

I've been a high school parent for eight years, and I can tell you there are dozens of problems in the schools that are FAR more important than steroid use/abuse. High school kids are using illegal drugs, drinking alcohol at a young age and smoking crack. Florida high school students are failing in the class room, dropping out at one of the highest rates in the nation. They are carrying weapons, committing crimes and ignoring their children.

But we're worried about steroids?

Look, I'm not advocating steroid use or abuse. People who use anabolic steroids for short term athletic gain are doing something dangerous and foolish. But randomly testing one percent of student-athletes in a very select group of sports won't do anything about any of that. The level of funding and supervision is so inadequate that beating these few tests won't be all that tricky. But there are a number of other problems with this idea as well.

It's discriminatory ----- Choosing just three sports suggests that those are the only sports where steroids might be used, which is absurd. Additionally, the powers that be chose two all male sports and just one (weight lifting) where males and females both compete. If you believe in fairness and support the constitutional principle of equal protection under the law, that's unacceptable.

It's expensive ----- Most estimates for steroid testing are around $125 per test, but that does not include the expense of actually taking the sample which must be done by a medical professional.

Privacy cannot be guaranteed ----- If pro sports with all their resources can not keep results under wraps, the high schools have no chance.

It's just plain wrong ----- Except in cases where public safety is a factor I am adamantly opposed to all forms of random, mandatory drug testing. It simply violates the basic concept of not having to prove you're innocent of wrongdoing. You can drug test for "cause" and with steroids it's very easy to define "cause". Dramatic weight and strength increases, personality changes (anger issues) and unusual increase in acne are obvious signs that warrant investigation.

Why single out kids? ----- Based on what I've seen over the years I'd like to see our elected officials drug screened regularly.

The State Legislature no doubt meant well passing this program. But nothing can be accomplished with this limited program unless they target one area of the state and test everyone in sight. That would be wrong too, but at least it might actually uncover a problem.


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