In 2006, New Jersey became the first state to adopt a statewide steroid testing policy for high school athletes. This came as a response to statistics from the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention which estimate that nearly 6% of high school students nationwide use steroids or performance enhancing drugs. Individual school districts in other states, such as Pennsylvania, also test athletes for steroids. It appears likely that many other states will follow this trend and allow for steroid testing.
The Supreme Court has upheld random drug testing for high school students involved in extracurricular activities. While they have not yet heard a challenge to New Jersey’s law, it is likely that they would also uphold random steroid testing for high school athletes.
What Types of Performance Enhancing Drugs May My Child Be Tested For?
Under the New Jersey plan, schools will test athletes for anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs such as amphetamines. Additionally, schools will test for diuretics which are used to mask the presence of drugs in the urine. In all, about 100 banned substances can be tested for. It is important to note that many products formally sold legally at health and nutrition stores and on the internet are now banned. These include androstene and products containing ephedra.
What Will Happen if My Child Tests Positive for Steroids or a Performance Enhancing Drug?
It depends what your state or school district policy is. In most cases, your child will be suspended from participating in athletics for a period of time. Subsequent positive tests may lead to a permanent ban from athletic participation.
What Should I do if My Child Fails a Drug Test?
If your child fails a drug test, they should deny taking a performance enhancing drug and demand a retest. Drug tests are unreliable and many people who have never used drugs have tested positive (called a false positive).
If you know or believe that your child has taken steroids or other performance enhancing drugs, you may want to discuss the potential dangers that are associated with them. Useful information can be found at www.drugfree.org.
Do I Need a Lawyer if My Child Fails a Steroid Test?
You should contact a criminal attorney if you feel that your child-athlete’s rights were violated by a school steroid test. A lawyer will be able to advise you on the legality of the drug testing policy and can help you fight a false positive test result or appeal a disciplinary action.