Should High School Athletes Be Drug Tested?

Sports Columnist Alan McGonigle makes a case.

Alan McGonigle, Sports Writer

Drug testing is a question that comes up amongst athletes every year. Throughout locker rooms and team meetings before the season starts, the question a lot of players ask is, “Will we be drug tested?”

It all started in 1995 when the Supreme Court ruled that it is Constitutional to drug test athletes as a requirement to participate in sports. It then turned to three states including Texas, Illinois, and New Jersey whom now already mandate drug testing amongst their athletes.

In the early 2000’s, Florida approved a drug testing program for high school athletes but it was short lived due to improper funding. The New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association is in it’s eighth year of drug testing, but the catch is that it is only during state tournaments and championship games.

Coach Franco, the head coach of the Santaluces baseball team, feels that high school athletes should be drug tested.

“I think drug testing would be a good idea for high school athletes,” said Franco. “But it is very expensive and I don’t think high school sports have enough money in the budget to support that. If the government paid for it, then I’m all for it.”

When it comes to the cost, it depends what is being testing. If testing for anabolic steroids, a testing kit ranges from $69 to $139. But a standard urine drug test can range from $17 to $36, according to Walgreens.com.

The problem with drug testing athletes is the political factor of it. Students, parents, and even coaches may not think it is right. In order for a drug testing program to follow through, it would need widespread support by parents and coaches.

At this time in life, teens are most vulnerable to fall into peer pressure of taking drugs, especially to enhance their performance on the field or on the court. Schools need to protect their athletes because athletes are one of the many representatives of high schools and could be considered role models to underclassmen and students throughout the school.

When athletes take performance enhancing drugs or any illicit drugs, it is cheating. Sports are supposed to be fun and support a healthy body and healthy mind. When athletes take drugs, they contradict that statement. It’s true that if athletes failed a drug test, they would be punished, but drug tests won’t hurt an athlete, they are solely to protect athletes and to encourage them to live a better, healthier lifestyle and to show them that drugs are not the way for athletes or anyone at all.

Overall, athletes may not like to be drug tested at all and it would most likely cost too much for many schools. But it would be worth the cost in the end stopping the athletes from taking any illicit or performance enhancing drugs at all. Drugs can ruin lives and have already ruined many great athletes’ lives: Josh Hamilton, Diego Maradona, Alex Rodriguez. All of them had great careers, but drugs ruined them.

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