Drug Tests for Student Athletes

As the athletes pile into the locker room, they see the state representative; he is there to test them for the use of performance enhancing drugs.

All the athletes know members of their team have used steroids, but none of them test positive, they have outsmarted the tests. Now the state is out thousands of dollars with nothing to show for it. This is what is happening in high school locker rooms nationwide now that more states are testing their athletes for steroids. The truth is that athletes are not stupid and they know how to beat these tests; also, most athletes do not use steroids and these tests are too expensive for the number of students they will catch. The truth is that testing for performance enhancing drugs is far too expensive for the amount of athletes it will catch using these drugs.

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The cost of a test ranges from $150 to $200 for every test. In the state of New Jersey alone, the state legislature and the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association contributed a combined amount of $100,000 towards the testing program (Student-Athletes). The state could have used this money to help finance schools and their athletic programs instead of wasting it on testing the athletes. Emmy Zack, the director of communications for the California Interscholastic Federation, talks about testing for the use of steroids and says, “It’s just not financially feasible.” Another reason not to test is that even if they use steroids, smart athletes will know to cycle off.

Another idea is to test athletes whose teams make it to the post season (Student-Athletes). However, administering steroid-detecting tests to these athletes would be like a punishment for being successful. This may work in some states, but in states like California, this would leave out thousands of students. According to Emmy Zack, “Limiting the tests to those in post season play would leave a pool of tens of thousands of students.” It would be too hard to decide when to test athletes, and the conniving clever ones will cycle off to beat the test if they know it is coming.

If a pro baseball player like Barry Bonds can beat an advanced steroid test like the one he faced, high school athletes should have no trouble beating their tests. An additional motive not to test student athletes for performance enhancing drugs is most students do not use them. According to a Monitoring the Future survey given in 2005, only about 2.6 percent of high school seniors said they used illegal steroids (Student-Athletes). This means the odds of catching someone that has used illegal steroids is like trying to catch a leaf in a hurricane. Furthermore, another study done said that by the 12th grade, 52 percent of students have tried marijuana.

This drug has roamed the hallways of schools for years but has somehow managed to fly under the radar when it came to drug testing for athletes. If schools tested their students for illegal drugs rather than steroids, they would catch more people and make their schools a better place. Overall testing for steroids is a waste of money and time for schools and states. The tests cost a couple hundred dollars to administer. Most athletes do not even use steroids, and if they do, they have ways of getting around the tests.

Schools should spend their money on more important things, such as their students’ education, and pay little attention to the miniscule amount of athletes that actually use performance enhancing drugs. Even though using steroids to get ahead of the competition is wrong, the students could be doing much worse things. After all, with all the drug and alcohol abuse that goes on in high schools these days, should not the school administrators target the bigger problem?