Local News

Bill Would Mean Random Drug Testing for High School Athletes

Posted February 14, 2007
Updated February 15, 2007

— A Gaston County lawmaker this week introduced a bill in the state Senate that would require random drug tests for high school athletes.

Dr. James Forrester says the use of performance-enhancing drugs, such as steroids, is becoming "a real public health threat" among high school students. Within the past few years, he says, the number of high school athletes admitting to using steroids has increased 3 percent.

Senate Bill 161 would allocate $50,000 to test students across the state. The bill also bans student athletes from playing if they test positive or refuse to take the test.

"It might just be one in a high school, two in a high school or county that would be tested, but the threat of being tested is enough to deter a lot of students from taking steroids," he said.

But some people, such as Southeast Raleigh High School Athletic Director Gary Powers, say they don't necessarily see the need for testing.

"We run a weight program every day, and we're not seeing it," Powers said. "If it's a problem, I'm just not seeing it. I think our kids are clean, and they're getting stronger by being in the weight room."

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association adds that alcohol -- not steroids -- is the No. 1 substance-abuse problem among high school athletes.

"We're going to do what they tell us to do, obviously, but at this point, I think our money could be better spent elsewhere."

The United States Supreme Court ruled that mandatory random drug tests for high school athletes are legal, but the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina says the tests would have an unintended effect: Taking the test can be embarrassing, and that might keep someone from playing a sport.

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  • romeopm Feb 21, 2007

    i really hope smoothtip99 dont have any kids.if he does, they dont need to test the kids they need to test him....idiot!

  • peppercorns Feb 19, 2007

    Test them and everybody else in the school. Drugs are illegal and anyone taking them should get busted. We are too light on these kids. If they are caught they should be banned from the teams they are on and automatically suspended for the remaining year of school.

  • NotTHE1 Feb 19, 2007

    I think a lot of parents don't want their kids tested because they are afraid of what the results will show. Testing the kids in school is a great idea. At least the admin. staff and other students will know who the drug users are. Test all students, athelets, club members, band members, chess club members, teachers, EVERYBODY.

  • twright530 Feb 19, 2007

    As a retired high school football coach I know that the use of steroids are sky high among high school athletes.

  • yukonjohn3 Feb 16, 2007

    Everyone that posts on here has access to a computer. Please, please go and read the constitution and the bill of rights. I don't know how in the world you can confuse this issue. Unless I spent 10 years in the military defending people that care nothing about their personal rights. Before we step out on this limb, let us all examine one of our most treasured documents.

  • oldrebel Feb 15, 2007

    Plenty of people who are hired into various jobs know there is drug testing as part of getting hired. So they clean up, and then after getting the job, they fall right back into the slop of drug abuse. Teachers, admin., students..everyone in the school system should be tested to get a baseline of just how big the problem is. Then you can make remarks like "I know what I'm talking about"....as a lot of us "know what is going on too" and it's that teachers are not immune to drug abuse, just like their young charges. So test everyone. As long as there's denial of the problem, there will be no solution.

  • wondermom67 Feb 15, 2007

    Test all the kids....This way teh school can notify the parents, and the parents can get the child hlep before they become addicted. I do hope that they will do this. I think this is a good beginning.

  • crash Feb 15, 2007

    I think they should be tested. Matter of fact if we want drug free schools then test all the kids, not just the kids who want to play sports but every single one of them, lets make it fair. Then lets test everyone in health care and everyone in law enforcement, and everyone at wal-mart and food-lion etc...Let's make it fair. If we are going to test the kids, then we need to test everybody.

  • Red Feb 15, 2007

    Testing school children starts them off with the idea that they have no choice. In the court of public opinion, they are automatically convicted if they resist. And since teenagers are particularly susceptible to pressure they will relent. Children often view the world as fiat authority. No one teaches kids to not use cocaine or meth because it'll make your teeth fall out. They instead say it's illegal and you won't get to play basketball, a seemingly disconnected effect to a cause. This is bad logic. When you don't teach kids how to make good decisions on their own, when they make it to adulthood, they still won't be able to. They'll NEED a nanny state to coddle them through life. Besides, this completely ignores all the other ways kids can get high. So Johny isn't taking steroids. Does it screen for excessive caffeine? Nicotine? Other prescription drugs he borrowed from his girlfriend? These are the reasons the War on Drugs has failed.

  • Lit Feb 15, 2007

    Unless a parent specifically requests it, I don't understand how mandatory random drug tests just for student-athletes is going to help them, their parents, or the school. It should be left up to individual parents.

    And like I said earlier, how about random drug testing these politicians...I think we'd be surprised at the results (or would we?)...