ools for theParticipation ofExtra-Curricular Activities:Primarily Student AthletesFor LA: 401: Science, Technology, and Human ValuesSpring, 2004IntroductionWith the recent steroid a scandal in Major League Baseball, debatesover mandatory drug testing polices have sparked interest across thecountry.
One issue that is highly controversial, but has taken a back seatin the in the debate, is the issue of mandatory drug testing policies inhigh schools. With teenage drug use on the rise in the 90s’ the federalgovernment and the United States Supreme Court gave the green light tomandatory drug testing policies for student athletes and participants ofextra-curricular activities. In this paper I hope to prove that mandatorydrug testing of student athletes and participants of extra-curricular atthe high school level is a well-meaning but wrong-headed approach to teendrug prevention. Although mandatory drug testing is necessary at the collegiate andprofessional levels of competition in order to ensure a level playing fieldamong athletes, to preserve the credibility and integrity of the particularsport, and to prevent and protect athletes from drug abuse, mandatory drugtesting should be removed at the high school level because mandatory drugtesting can have a negative effect on the classroom or team, is a waste ofvaluable school financial resources, may be a potential barrier to joiningextra-curricular activities because drug testing is typically aimed atstudents who want to participate in those activities, drug tests being usedby high schools have been known to give false positives, which could punishinnocent students, and may cause several unintended consequences such as:students turning to more dangerous drugs that are not detectable by thetests currently being used, students out smarting the tests, and studentslearning that they are assumed guilty until they are proven innocent. DefinitionsAnabolic steroids are, “synthetic substances related to male sexhormones (androgens). They promote growth of skeletal muscle (anaboliceffect) and the development of male sexual characteristics (androgeniceffects).
” Users of anabolic steroids run the risk of stunted bone growth,permanent damage to the heart, liver, kidneys, and a known seventy othermajor physical and psychological side effects. Currently, anabolic steroidsare only legal in the United States by doctor prescription. Doctors usethese steroids to treat patients who have developed certain conditions thatforce the body to produce low amounts of testosterone, such as delaypuberty and some types of impotence, and also to treat body wasting inpatients with AIDS and other diseases. Finally, anabolic steroids aredifferent from steroidal supplements sold over the counter in the UnitedStates, such as dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione (known asAndro).
Users buy theses supplements through commercial sources includinghealth food stores, because they believe the supplements have anaboliceffects. This supplement was made popular during Mark McGwire’s recordsetting home run season and the controversy surround his admittance ofusing the supplement. Currently, there are three common drug-testing methods employed bythe public school system, they include urinalysis test, hair follicle test,and the use of a sweat patch test. The urinalysis test is the most commontest used in high schools, primarily because of its low cost per a test,usually ranging from $10 to $30 per test, however with the relative lowcost comes several problems.
The first is a urinalysis test cannot detectalcohol or tobacco uses, both are illegal at the high school age. Secondly,by using a urinalysis test a specimen has a possibility of beingadulterated. Finally, the urinalysis test is the most invasive of all drugtests because someone must be present when the specimen is collected. The second method of drug testing used by high schools is the hairfollicle test. The hair follicle test is the mot expensive test used byhigh schools at a cost of $60 to $75 per test.
The test is limited to thefive basic drug panel, which include marijuana, cocaine, opiate,amphetamines, and PCP. The test cannot detect alcohol use or recent druguse. Even though the hair follicle test is look at to be one of the morereliable drug tests, it does have its share problems. The test tends to bediscriminatory: “dark haired people are more likely to test positive thanblondes, and African-Americans are more likely to test positive thanCaucasians.
” In addition, exposure to drugs in the environment may lead tofalse positives, especially if those drugs are smoked. Finally, the third method of drug testing used by high schools is thesweat patch test. The sweat patch test is also relatively cheap at $20 to$30 per test. The sweat patch test is able to detect the most drugs of outof the three tests, but the test is plagued with several problems. First,very few labs in this country are able to process the results, which causesan inconvenience to school districts.
Secondly, passive exposure to drugscould result in false positives, due to contamination of the patch. Finally, any individual with excessive body hair, scrapes or cuts, and skineruptions cannot wear the patch. New drug testing techniques are being developed to be more accurateand less invasive. One of theses new techniques is the saliva test.
Thistest is said to be almost unbeatable because it uses a persons DNA. However, this test opens up new doors of controversy, because it looks deepinto ones past creating privacy issues and could open the door foremployers to genetically test for certain types of employees. Monitoring the Future is an ongoing study conducted by the institutefor Social Research at the University of Michigan, which surveys thebehaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students,college students, and young adults. The study first began in 1975, whenabout 50,000 12th graders were surveyed.
In 1991, 8th and 1oth graders wereadded to the survey. In addition to the survey, follow up questionnairesare mailed to a sample of each graduating class for a number of years afterthe initial survey. History of the IssueIn order to understand the mandatory drug testing issue completely,it is essential that we examine the background and history of eventscontributing to the establishment of mandatory drug testing of studentathletes and participates of extra-curricular activities in high schools. The testing of student athletes and extra-curricular participates did notbegin just recently.
However: until recently, the debate of drug testingeffectiveness was minimal. Impact of the ’60sIn the mid 1960’s with the coming of age of the Baby Boom generationand counter-culture revolution brought narcotics into the mainstream ofAmerica’s culture. By the late 1960’s middle-class youths and soldiersserving in Vietnam spurred on by popular music, had embraced certain drugslike marijuana, hallucinogens, and several others. In 1968, President Nixonwas elected president on a law-and-order platform that emphasized a crackdown on drug use. That same year mandatory drug testing was instituted bythe military, because of a growing number of drug addicted Vietnam vetsreturning home. War on DrugsIn 1970, Congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention andControl Act.
This act significantly lessened penalties for possession ofmany drugs. A year later, President Nixon declared the first “war ondrugs. ” In 1975, the University of Michigan’s Institute of Social Researchconducted the first of its series of “Monitoring the Future” studies onstudent drug use. In 1977, President Carter called for thedecriminalization of marijuana, but later he drops the idea. In 1979, druguse peaks and an anti-drug movement began, led mostly by parents.
Just Say NoThe 1980’s brought about many changes in the drug policy of theUnited States. The drug cocaine was gaining popularity, especially amongyoung, white, urban, professionals. In 1982, President Reagan declared asecond “war on drugs. ” In July of 1985, an Arkansas court ruled that “theexcessive intrusive nature” of drug testing student athletes withoutreasonable suspicion is not justified by its need. On June 19, 1986,University of Maryland basketball star Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose,his death prompted almost immediate change, when it came to drug testing. A few months after Bias’s death, President Reagan and the first ladylaunched the national “Just say no” anti-drug campaign.
President Reaganalso issued Executive Order 12564, calling for a “drug free workplace” inall federal agencies. In addition, in a symbolic gesture he and his senioradvisors provide urine samples to be tested for illegal drugs. Congressedfollowed suit and passed into law the Drug Free Schools and CommunitiesAct, which provide schools with funds to start anti-drug programs. ThePresident signed the law on Oct. 27, 1986. States across the country alsobegan to pass their own “Drug Free School Zone” laws.
That same year,Bias’s death prompted the NCAA to approve mandatory drug testing for allits athletes. The late 80’s brought on a continued focus on illegal drug use. In1988, President Bush established the White House Office of National DrugControl Policy. November 1988, Congress passed the Drug Free Work PlaceAct, which required all federal contractors or grant recipients to maintaindrug free work places.
This prompted many employers’ begin to set voluntarytesting programs. This also leads to lawsuits brought by employees,claiming drug testing is a violation of individual privacy rights. Thecourts responded and allowed suspicion less drug testing. In 1989,President Bush unveils his National Drug Control Strategy, which encourageddrug for workplace policies in the private sector and in state and localgovernment. That same year the Supreme Court upholds random drug testingwhen a “special need” outweighs individual privacy rights, in the NationalTreasury Employees Union v. Von Raab decision.
Roller Coaster ’90sThe 1990’s began with teen drug at an all time low and the expansionof drug testing policies. President Bush expanded the federal drug-testingprogram to include all White House personnel. In 1991, Congress passes theOmnibus Transportation and Employment Testing Act, which mandated drug andalcohol testing to 8 million private-sector pilots, drivers, and equipmentoperators. In 1992, President Clinton is elected and drug use beginsincreasing.
Some say the increase was due to the Persian Gulf War and themedia, especially the recording industry, with messages of sex, drug, androck-and-roll. One of President Clinton’s first acts in the White House wasto expand on the drug testing policies of Presidents Reagan and Bush; hestarts by authorizing mandatory drug testing in prisons. In 1995, the United States Supreme Court gave the green light tomandatory drug testing of high school athletes. In the case of VeroniaSchool District v. Acton, the supreme court ruled that mandatory drugtesting in high school athletics programs was not an unreasonable search orseizure, nor was the testing an invasion of the student athlete’s privacy. The Supreme Court ruled that suspicion less; random urinalysis drug testingof high school athletes was justified because the drug crisis in the schooldistrict had reached “epidemic proportions.
” In the four and half yearsprior to the case, the Veronica school district had found only 12 positivedrug tests. Ten years earlier the Supreme Court had struck down asunreasonable a New Jersey school’s athlete drug testing program, in which28 student athletes tested positive for drugs in a single year. In the Veronia case Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion;he was the same justice that wrote scornful dissent in the Von Raabdecision. Justice Scalia argued that student athletes have less privacyrights than the general student body because they dress and shower in closeproximity.
“Legitimate privacy expectations are even less with regard tostudent athletes. School sports are not for the bashful. They require”suiting up” before each practice or event, and showering and changingafterward. Public school locker rooms, the usual sites of these activities,are not notable for the privacy they afford. The locker rooms in Vernoniaare typical: no individual dressing rooms are provided; shower heads arelined up along the wall, unseparated by any sort of partition or curtain;not even all the toilet stalls have doors. ” Justice Scalia wrote.
JusticeScalia went on to add that the increase of drug use by the student body was”largely fueled by the ‘role model’ effect of athletes’ drug use. “Current SituationIn 2001, Congress allocated $185 million to the Office of NationalDrug Control Policy for advertisements and campaign projects, in 2002 theadministration only asked for $180 million. On February 12 of 2002,President George W. Bush unveiled a $19 billion anti-drug package thataimed to cut drug use in the United States by 10 percent in two years andby 25 percent in five years.
Also, the DARE program would receive $644million, $103 million less than it received in 2001. The decrease was dueto the program in recent years being ineffective and wasteful. PresidentBush’s plan also called for more emphasis on treatment and prevention, andfederal grants for drug treatment would be increased by more than 6percent, to $3. 8 billion for the fiscal year of 2003. Later that year theSupreme Court ruled on the landmark case of Board of Education ofIndependent School District No.
92 of Pottawatomie County v. Earls. In the case of the BOE v. Earls, the Supreme Court ruled that anOklahoma school policy of randomly drug testing students who participate incompetitive, non-athletic extra-curricular activities was in factconstitutional.
In a 5-4 decision the court reversed a federal courtruling. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority said that thecourt found such a policy “a reasonably effective means of addressing theschool district’s legitimate concerns in preventing, deterring, anddetecting drug use. ” In the dissent, Justice Ruth Ginsburg said the testingprogram was “capricious, even perverse,” infringing on the rights of a”student population least likely to be at risk from illicit drugs and theirdamaging effects. “Clarification of the ProblemMandatory drug testing plays a vital role in protecting individualsand sports at both the collegiate and professional levels.
Unfortunately,when mandatory drug testing is carried over to the high school level,several consequences arise. When teenage drug use began to rise in the mid90s’ public school districts began to adopt mandatory drug testingpolicies, these policies have since been upheld as constitutional by theUnited States Supreme Court. However, research has shown that thesepolicies are unsuccessful at deterring drug use among teenagers and mayeven hamper the process. The reason is simple mandatory drug testingpolicies at the high school level are aimed at the students who are at theleast risk of abusing drugs the athletes and extra-curricular participants.
Arguments For Removal of Mandatory Drug Testing at the High School LevelIt is extremely important for the government to remove mandatory drugtesting in high schools for student athletes and extra-curricularparticipates. Research has shown that mandatory drug testing at the highschool level is not effective for several reasons. Negative Impact on the Classroom or TeamThe first argument for the removal of mandatory drug testing at thehigh school level is that mandatory drug testing can have a negative effecton the classroom and on the team. Mandatory drug testing can underminestudent-teacher relationships by “pitting students against teachers,administrators, school nurses, and coaches who have to test them, becauseit erodes trust between the student and the tester and leaves the studentfeeling ashamed and resentful.
Whether a school district buys drug testdirectly from a manufacturer and administers the test themselves or has anindependent source brought in to administer the tests, someone must bepresent as the student urinates to be sure the sample is their own. Thiscollection process can be a humiliating violation of the student’s privacy,and can be especially embarrassing for adolescent. Lack of student-teacher or student-coach trust created by drugtesting also creates an unnecessarily tense school environment forstudents. In this type of environment students feel they cannot addresstheir fears or concerns, both about the use of drugs and factors in theirlives that could lead to drug use, including depression, peer pressure, andan unstable family life. “Essentially, you’re creating a prison-likeatmosphere where students filled with fear and mistrust of authority,” saysDr.
Gottfredson of the University of Maryland. Trust is also jeopardizedwhen teachers, administrators, and coaches act as confidants in somecircumstances and are forced to be police in others. Schools need to striveto create an environment where students feel welcomed, safe, and trusted. Waste of Valuable School Financial ResourcesThe second argument for the removal of mandatory drug testing at thehigh school level is mandatory drug testing is a waste of valuable schoolfinancial resources. Currently, it costs the NCAA $2. 9 million on testingits athletes annually, while Oklahoma State University spends between$25,000 and $30,000 to tests their athletes each year.
These figuresinclude the extra costs it takes for drug tests that are able to detectsteroid use and are comparable to the figures it costs an average schooldistrict to test their student athletes and extra-curricular participateswith tests that cannot detect steroid use. Today, drug testing costs schooldistricts an average of $42 per student tested, which amounts to $21,000for a school district testing 500 students. This figure is for the initialdrug test alone. Beyond the initial costs of drug testing, there are other long-termoperational and administrative costs. The process of dealing with apositive test is often times fairly long and involved. A second test mustbe administered to rule out a false positive result.
After the second testa treatment and follow up testing plan has to be in place. Other costsassociated with student drug testing include: monitoring students’urination for accurate samples, documenting, bookkeeping, compliance withconfidentiality requirements, and tort or other insurance to protect aschool district from potential lawsuits associated with their drug testingpolicy. Sometimes costs for student drug testing far exceeds the benefits thetests produce. Over the past year the Oak Mountain school district insuburban Birmingham, Alabama conducted roughly between 2,500-3,000 tests onits 11,000 middle and high school students, at a cost of $65,000. Thesetests in return netted fewer than 25 positive test results.
That’s anaverage cost of $2,600 per a student caught. The same can be said for theschool district of Dublin, Ohio. That school district netted only 11students who tested positive, those results ended up costing the district$35,000 (Appendix A). The cost of drug testing can exceed the total adistrict spends on existing drug education, prevention, counselingprograms, and could possible take scarce financial resources away fromother departments. The growing costs of mandatory drug testing of studentathletes and extra-curricular participants can seriously undermine theoriginal intent of the drug test. Potential Barrier to Joining Extra-Curricular ActivitiesThe third argument for the removal of mandatory drug testing at thehigh school level is that mandatory drug testing may be a potential barrierto joining extra-curricular activities.
Research has shown an increase injuvenile crime and adolescent drug use occurs during unsupervised hoursbetween the end of classes and the parents returning form work, usuallybetween 3 P. M. and 6 P. M. Research and studies have also proven thatstudents who participate in extra-curricular activities, includingathletics are less likely to develop substance abuse problems, less likelyto engage in dangerous behaviors, and more likely to stay in school, earnhigher grades, and achieve higher education goals.
The reasons for theseresults are that extra-curricular activities usually fill the time betweenwhen school releases and when the parents return home in the evening andstudents are in contact with teachers, coaches, or peers that help identifyand address problematic drug use. Since the Supreme Court ruled in the cases of Veronia v. Acton andBOE v. Earls, many school districts who perform drug testing has seen adecrease in participation of students involved in extra-curricularactivities.
The reason is simple; student drug testing is usually aimed atstudent athletes and participates in extra-curricular activities, becausedrug testing an entire student body is considered unconstitutional by theSupreme Court. The other reason school districts are seeing a reduction inparticipation of extra-curricular activities are concerns of theinvasiveness of the tests and the violation of ones privacy. The Tulia Independent School District in Texas is an example of aschool district that has seen a reduction in participation of extra-curricular activities and a rise in lawsuits regarding privacy issues,since it began a drug-testing program. One female student explained: “Iknow lots of kids who don’t want to get into sports and stuff because theydon’t want to get drug tested.
That’s one of the reasons I’m not into anyactivity. Cause. . .
I’m on medication, so I would always test positive, andthen they would have to ask me about my medication, and I would beembarrassed. And what if I’m on my period? I would be too embarrassed. ” Inthe Gardner v. Tulia Independent School District case, a Texas DistrictCourt ruled that the school drug testing policy violated students FourthAmendment rights, but the policy was upheld because of the precedence setforth by the United States Supreme Court. Results From False PositivesThe forth argument for the removal of mandatory drug testing at thehigh school level is that results from false positives could punishinnocent students. A positive drug test could be a possibly devastatingaccusation for an innocent student.
Currently, the most widely used drugtest by school districts is the urinalysis test, primarily because of itslow cost per test. The problem with this test is it may falsely accusestudents of being drug abusers, because the test has trouble distinguishingbetween drug metabolites that have closely similar structures. Someexamples of potential problems are: over the counter decongestants mayproduce positive results for amphetamines, codeine can produce a positiveresult for heroine, and the consumption of food products with poppy seedscan produce a positive result for opiates. Hair follicle tests have alsocome under scrutiny.
There has been no formal study or research to proveany bias between hair and skin color and results of the test. However,there are no national standards for labs to follow when testing hairfollicles, like urinalysis tests have. Without federal uniformed standardsin testing hair follicles, there is no complete way to rule out falsepositive results. In an effort to eliminate the chances of false positives, schooldistricts often ask their students to identify their prescriptionmedications before administering a drug test. This cause a couple ofproblems, it first compromises a students’ privacy rights, then it createsa burden for school districts to make sure a students’ private informationis safely guarded.
An example of this problem happened at Tecumseh HighSchool in Oklahoma when it first enacted its drug-testing program. A choirteacher at the high school looked at students’ prescription drug lists andcarelessly left the information on their desk, where other students couldsee it. Also, results of positive tests were handed out to 13 facultymembers at a time. Carelessness and the school environment, which is proneto leaks, can lead to the violation of students’ privacy rights and costlylitigation.
Unintended ConsequencesThe final argument for the removal of mandatory drug testing at thehigh school level is that mandatory drug testing of student athletes andextra-curricular participants can cause several unintended consequences. One of these consequences is that students may turn to drugs that cannot bedetected by tests currently be used by schools today. These drugs includeEcstasy, inhalants, or alcohol. These drugs in the long run could causegreater harm to the students and the community as a whole because they arenot being detected by drug testing. Alcohol is a great example of this,because it is the most commonly abused drug by teenagers and commonlyinvolved in teen drug related deaths. Another unintended consequence of mandatory drug testing is studentsmay try to outsmart the test.
Students who may fear testing positive on atest may try to find methods or products to cheat the test. If a studentwere to perform a search on the Internet, they would find links to websitesselling drug-free replacement urine, herbal detoxifiers, hair follicleshampoo, and other products all designed to help someone cheat current drugtests. An example of one of theses web sites is www. ureasample.
com, where astudent can order drug-free urine and a kit to insert the urine into thebody. In addition students may try to make a mockery of drug testingprograms. In one school district in Louisiana, students facing a hairfollicle test shaved all their head and body hair. Finally, students learn that they are guilty until proven innocent.
Under the United States Constitution, people are presumed innocent untilproven guilty and they have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Mandatorydrug testing takes both of theses rights away from students. A student isassumed guilty until he or she can provide a clean urine sample. Hans York,a deputy sheriff Wahkiakum, Washington, sued his local school districtafter they tried to force his son to submit to a testing program beforejoining the drama club. York, believed that having his son monitored fornormal sounds of urination was not only a violation of his privacy, butsent him a message that he’s guilty until proven innocent.
“As a guy whoputs on a gun everyday to go to work, I can tell you that a lot of thedialogue stops when you become the police. “Ethical ArgumentsKantian EthicsThe Kantian approach states that people should not be used as a meansto an end and universal principles should be adopted to protect humanfreedom and reason. Existentialism ApproachThe existential approach begins with the notion that human values areultimately a function of human freedom. Once restrictions of society arelifted, giving us freedom, are actions are deemed endorsement to ethicalbehavior.
Rawlsian ApproachThe Rawlsian approach states that ethical decisions should be madebehind the “veil of Ignorance. ” A decision produced by all parties involvedwho ignore his or her current status and view the issue to the degree ofwhat would be best for the weakest member of society. Rule Utilitarianism ApproachThe utilitarianism approach aims at producing the greatest happinessfor the greatest number of people. A rule utilitarian would ask, for aspecific ethical issue, “Which general action-guiding rule has been shownby history to create the greatest happiness?”Also, by using the risk-cost-benefit-analysis, one would find the risks oflitigation, from privacy issues and false positive test results, and thecosts for the drug testing program; far outweigh the benefits a high schoolreceives for testing its athletes or students involved in extra-curricularactivities (Appendix A).
Objections and RebuttalsCollegiate and Professional LevelsSome proponents of mandatory drug testing at the high school levelwould argue that sports at the collegiate and professional levels havemandatory drug testing policies in place, why shouldn’t there be testing atthe high school level. Currently, all NCAA Division I, II, and III studentathletes are subject to mandatory drug testing by both the NCAA and bytheir schools. The testing program ensures a fair playing field, protectsthe credibility of the sport, and tracks student athletes in danger ofusing drugs. The testing program by the NCAA also has proven to besuccessful in decreasing the amount of drug abuse by collegiate athletes. A2001 study conducted by the NCAA revealed that 17% of the athletes surveyedsaid the threat of failing a drug test discourage them from using bannedsubstances.
The survey also showed a decrease of steroid use to 3% amongfootball players. Most of the professional sport leagues in the United States havemandatory drug testing policies in place. The Olympics also tests all theirathletes for illegal substances before competition. Their policies are inplace for the same reasons the NCAA has drug testing. Collegiate and professional athletes should be subject to mandatorydrug testing because they are both being “paid to play” Collegiate athletesare on scholarships or receive preferred treatment (walk-ons) from theirrespective universities.
Theses scholarships can cover tuition, housing,books, and possibly stipends for the athletes. Since the universities areproviding compensation for the student athletes, then the student athletesshould be subject to policies that a university has in place and aregoverned by. Professional athletes like collegiate athletes are being paid toplay, except they receive income for participating in competition. Sincethey to are being “paid to play,” they should be subject to policies oftheir organization and their league.
Also with the commercialization ofsports in this country, these athletes are seen as role models in societyand their actions can and sometimes do, dictate those of society. Prevention and ProtectionThe second objection to the removal of mandatory drug testing at thehigh school level is that mandatory drug testing is necessary at the highschool level to prevent and protect students and athletes from drug abuse. A recent survey showed that steroid use among teenagers has rapidlyincreased over the last few years. This increase is both shown in athleteslooking to gain an edge over competition and students not involved inathletics, in attempts to appear more buff.
School districts have an obligation to protect the health and safetyof their students. When it comes to protecting their students they do thisin several ways and one being mandatory drug testing. Some school districtssee mandatory drug testing as a deterrent to drug use. Robert Weiner,former spokesperson for the White House Office of National Drug ControlPolicy said, “The majority of kids support drug testing because it givesthem an excuse to say no to drugs. ” Drug testing also helps schooldistricts to identify and help those students taking drugs. Other studentssay the fear of being caught by drug testing has deterred their use ofdrugs.
Current research has shown that education and drug awareness have agreater impact on preventing teen drug use than mandatory drug testingdoes. Mandatory drug testing is also a barrier to participation of extra-curricular activities which research has proven to be a deterrent to teendrug abuse. Students who might already be at risk of using drugs might bediscourage from joining extra-curricular activities that could have a goodimpact on their lives. Also students who are already engaged in extra-curricular activities may feel mistrusted and may set back the positivesocial development the student has under gone as a result of extra-curricular activities. Finally, a recent study published in the Journal of School Healthshowed no evidence that schools engaged in mandatory drug testing were moreeffective in deterring drug use than those who didn’t. This study wasconducted by a team of Monitoring the Future researchers and surveyed statsfrom 75,000 students in more than 700 schools.
Rates at the drug testingschools and school that didn’t test were virtually identical (Appendix B). This test alone raises questions on whether mandatory drug testing in highschools is a wise investment. Level Playing FieldA third objection to the removal of mandatory drug testing at thehigh school level is that mandatory drug testing is necessary at the highschool level to ensure a level playing field among athletes. The 2001Monitoring the Future study, showed an increase of steroid use between the8th and 12th grades. The tend also suggests that these adolescents perceivesteroids as a harmless way of bulking up and are unaware of the long termhealth risks involved with steroid abuse.
Steroid use is also seen adramatic increase in the southern states. A 2001 survey conducted by theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 11. 2% of high schoolboys in Louisiana and 5. 7% of high school girls in Tennessee use steroids. With the current trend of rising steroid users among adolescents,some student athletes want mandatory drug testing to ensure a level playingfield.
Ed Boos, supervisor of prevention, health, and wellness for the PolkCounty School District in Florida, said he has heard from student athletesthat support steroid testing because of the unfair advantage of performanceenhancing drugs give to those who use them. To date only a handful school districts perform tests that can detectthe use of steroids. One school district that does is the wealthy ParadiseValley School District in Phoenix, Arizona. They randomly administer $50urinalysis tests to students participating in everything from football tobadminton. Most of the tests conducted by other school districts only testfor the five basic drugs. The reason why school districts do not test forsteroids is the costs per test.
A reliable steroid test can cost between$50 and $100 and that is for the test alone, it does not include thecollecting and handling of the test. Few schools are willing to spend thatkind of money on extra tests. Supreme CourtA fourth objection to the removal of mandatory drug testing at thehigh school level is mandatory drug testing of athletes and extra-curricular participants at the high school level was ruled to beconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court. In the 1995 ruling inthe Veronia v.
Acton case and the 2002 ruling in the Pottawatomie v. Earlscase the Supreme Court established precedent for the testing of studentathletes and extra-curricular participants at the high school level. In the Veronia v. Acton and Pottawatomie v.
Earls the Supreme Courtruled it was constitutional to test student athletes and participants inextra-curricular activities. However, the court did not say that schoolsare required to test those involved in competitive extra-curricularactivities, drug testing of the entire student body or groups outside ofcompetitive extra-curricular activities was constitutional, it isconstitutional to drug test elementary students, it is constitutional totest by means other than urinalysis, and schools are protected fromlawsuits under their respective state law. When the Supreme Court made its rulings they were interpretingfederal law, however school districts are also subject to state law, whichmay provide greater protection for student privacy rights. Privacy lawsvary greatly from state to state and in many states the law has yet to bewell defined. In several states including: Arkansas, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan,Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Washington, lawsuits have been filedagainst school districts for their drug testing policies. These schooldistricts could spend thousands of taxpayers’ dollars and several yearsfighting lawsuits that have no guarantee of victory.
Public PolicyWhat Is Being Done?Currently, the NCAA conducts test on their athletes annually. TheNCAA visits each university once a year and tests three or four varsityteams. The universities are then left up to test their athletes at theirdiscretion. The NCAA also randomly tests their athletes at NCAAchampionship events and before all football bowl games. Institutions thathave been randomly selected are notified by the NCAA 48 hours before thetesting is to be performed. The tests are conducted by the National Centerfor Drug Free Sport.
Any athlete that tests positives may lose theireligibility for a year. The athlete could possibly lose his or herscholarship depending on the policy set forth by his or her institution. In the National Basketball Association, rookie players are tested upto four times a season. Veterans are subject to one test and that takesplace during training camp. The NBA prohibits the use of amphetamines,cocaine, LSD, opiates, PCP, marijuana, and steroids.
Any player who testspositive on a drug test can face anywhere from game suspensions to alifetime ban. In the National Football League, steroid use is banned. Players arerandomly drug tested and those who test positive could face gamesuspensions. There is no mandatory drug testing policy in the National HockeyLeague. Mandatory drug testing is only conducted on players that arecurrently in the league’s substance abuse aftercare program. Players whoare abusers can seek help the first time with facing exposure orsuspension.
In boxing, policies vary from state to state, though most do not testboxers. The state of Nevada began testing boxers in 2002 for use of illegalsteroids. Using the urinalysis test samples are checked for 25 differentsteroids. Currently the Professional Golf Association does not test itsathletes for performance enhancing drugs. The reason for this is there hasbeen no evidence that performance-enhancing drugs can improve a player’sgame. However, they will begin to test for unfair clubs next year.
Major League Baseball has come under scrutiny lately for its drugtesting policy. Starting next year all players will be tested for steroids. The first time a player tests positive, he will be placed in a treatmentprogram. For any subsequent positive tests the player will be fined between$10,000 and $100,000 and could be suspended from 30 days to a year withoutpay. Testing of all players will continue until positive tests drop below2. 5% in two consecutive years.
At the high school level a national survey conducted six years afterthe Veronia v. Acton ruling showed only 5% of school districts havemandatory drug testing policies for student athletes, and only 3% for extra-curricular participants. The survey indicated that mandatory drug testingwas most common in rural school districts. It also showed that no schooldistrict tests all their students and none of the ten largest schoolsystems in the United States have mandatory drug testing policies in place. Also, currently no school district tests for anabolic steroids, primarilybecause of the costs of tests. The justification for mandatory drug testingin school districts vary from school to school as much as drug testingpolicies themselves, but most school districts that decide not to testtheir students acknowledge that money is more wisely spent on education,counseling, and treatment.
Today, several state legislatures have tabled or defeated bills thatwould allow mandatory drug testing in high schools over concerns of privacyconfidentiality, liability issues, and the overall effectiveness of drugtesting programs. In other states, steroid abuse seems to be the hot topicof debate. In Florida, state representative Marcelo Llorente is pushing abill that would require counties to test a percentage of their high schoolathletes for steroids. In California, state Senator Jackie Speier hasintroduced legislation to ban the sale of supplements such as ANDRO toteens.
She is also pushing for the state to focus on statewide testing ofhigh school athletes for steroids and supplements. The federal government has also stepped up its efforts in the preventionof steroid abuse. Congress has introduced several bills to aid in thisgrowing epidemic. The first bill introduced was to direct the NationalInstitute of Standards and Technology to establish a program to supportresearch and training in new methods of detecting the use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes and for other purposes. The second bill wasdesigned to clarify a definition of anabolic steroids and to providefunding fund for steroid research and education.
Finally the last bill wasdesigned to give Major League Baseball a wake up call to improve their drugtesting policies or Congress would step in and improve the policies forthem. President George W. Bush also stepped up his drug policies for theupcoming election year. During this years State of the Union address,President Bush proposed to expand federal monies for school drug testingprograms more than tenfold, to $23 million. During his speech, thePresident called drug testing the “silver bullet” that would eliminate teendrug use. The Presidents Office of National Drug Control Policy said partof the new money would go towards the study of a nationwide expansion oftesting.
President Bush’s justification for this use of this new federalmoney is the reduction of teen drug use the past two years and arguing thatdrug testing in schools were an effective part in the decrease. What Should Be Done?There are several things we can do to decrease the use of drugs amongteenagers. The first step would be the removal of mandatory drug testing atthe high school level. Mandatory drug testing has proven to be a: negativeeffect on the classroom or team, waste of valuable school financialresources, potential barrier to joining extra-curricular activities, falsepositive result could punish an innocent student.
and could produce severalunintended consequences. Another reason for the removal of mandatory drugtesting at the high school level is that research has shown that the drugtesting policies have no real effect on deterring teen drug use. Money that was to be spent on drug testing should go into other meansof drug prevention such as: counselors, anti-drug campaigns or education,drug awareness programs for athletes, and training for coaches, teachers,and administrators to help with spotting potential drug abusers. Teenagersare not like pilots or military personnel that will confine to drugscreening.
Teenagers rebel against authority and someone is forcing them tobe tested they will rebel against the school district. The second step to reducing teenage drug use is stricter drugpolicies at the professional level of athletics, especially in Major LeagueBaseball. Professional athletes are seen as role models for today’s youth. If a teenager sees an athlete using performance enhancing drugs or steroidsto improve themselves, they may see that as a sign that those drugs aren’tpotentially dangerous.
An example of this happened when Mark McGwire brokethe home run record and admitted to using ANDRO. Almost immediately ANDROsales rose and most of the consumers were teenagers looking to get an edgeover their competition. Finally, the third step to reducing teenage drug use is federalgovernment increase its efforts in more productive manners. Congress needto continue to pass bills that allowing funding for research of bettertechniques of finding drug abuses. Congress also needs to step in and crackdown on steroid and performance enhancing drug use. The first step is tocome up with a solid definition of performance enhancing drugs, then put inplace measures to prevent the use of them by athletes and teenagers.
President Bush needs to spend the money he proposed to spend on drugtesting for more effective ways of prevention like drug education andresearch to find more reliable and less invasive way of testing for drugs. President Bush also needs to step up and address the nation on the dangersof performance enhancing drugs and steroids. The President also needs toencourage the American people to voice their opinions and force stricterdrug testing policies at the professional levels of sports. ConclusionAfter researching mandatory drug testing, it has become apparent thatmandatory drug testing in schools is an issue that needs to be addressed.
It not only affects adolescents who must go through the tests, but itaffects teachers, coaches, administrators, the school district, parents,and society as a whole. Mandatory drug testing has been proven valuable inthe work place, collegiate athletics, and professional athletics. However,mandatory drug testing has proven to be a costly tool that is not effectivein a middle or high school environment. Therefore, local, state, andfederal authorities must work to ensure theses types of tests remain out ofthe school system. It is also the duty of the government to continue toeducate teenagers, both students and athletes, about the dangers of drugabuse. The government also has an obligation to continue funding researchto find new and effective ways of reducing drug abuse.
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