There are many strong reasons to encourage steroid testing. Some of the most notable include making the game fair and student health issues. The negative side of the argument usually boils down to the cost of testing.
Steroids Create an Unfair AdvantageReal steroids are illegal for everyone. Some student athletes using steroids creates an unfair advantage for them and their teams. High school sports are very competitive especially when college scholarships are being handed out for the most elite athletes. Free tuition for excelling in student sports provides adequate incentive for teenagers to reap athletic rewards in high school by using performance-enhancing drugs..
Steroids are Bad for Your HealthTeenagers are often unaware of potential health risks or ignore the medical consequences of consuming legal and illegal performance-enhancing substances. Steroids can cause permanent damage to a person’s hormone levels, damage your liver, cause depression etc. Legal prohormones and designer steroids are not even recommended for those under 21 years of age, so the real deal definitely should not be touched.
Testing is Too ExpensiveAccording to a news article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the cost per steroid drug test can be up to $200 to perform (4). State legislatures are unwilling to spend thousands of dollars to test its student athletes, especially with the failing economy and shortage of funds (1).
What Does the Data Say?Recently, the state of Texas has instituted drug testing for its student athletes. Out of almost 19,000 student athletes only 7 students tested positive for steroids. That is less than 4 one-hundredths of a percent of Texas student athletes (1).
There is a research study called “Monitoring the Future” that examines the drug use by 8th, 10, and 12th grade students. There were 46,348 students surveyed; please note that this study does not only include student athletes. According to this study 1.5% of 12th grade students had used steroids in the past year and 1% used steroids during the past month (3). Let’s compare these numbers to other illegal drugs:
- Marijuana use during the past month – 19.4%
- Alcohol use during the past month - 43.1%
- Cigarette use during the past month – 20.4%
- Cocaine use during the past month – 1.9%
- Marijuana use during the past year – 32.4%
- Alcohol use during the past year – 65.5%
- Cigarette use during the past year – 44.7%
- Cocaine use during the past year – 4.4%
Should High School Students Be Tested for Steroids?I vote no.
If health concerns were the real issue, than there are other dangerous drugs that affect a larger percentage of the student population than steroids. According to the previous data about alcohol and other drug use that runs rampant among high schools, I think there are better places to spend multiple thousands of dollars on than testing student athletes for steroids. I’d rather they test every student at every school for marijuana use than to single out one small segment of the student population for drug testing, it would be far better use of public money
I feel that people who are urging for school systems to enact a steroid testing program are viewing the situation through a narrow scope. Is the game unfair when student use steroids? Certainly it is, but when only 7 students out of 19,000 actually test positive, it can’t be as unfair as people think.
It is well known that some prohormones do not show up on drug tests, yet they are nearly as dangerous as real steroids and can produce similar performance gains. If a substance made me test positive on a drug test, I would find a suitable replacement that would not make me pop positive to use. Healthwise, I am no better off than before.
Testing for steroids has a very expensive price that our current economy cannot afford. 7 Students out of 19000, you do the math.
Written by jglickfield