To be or not to be: drug testing athletes

Krista Nicholson, managing editor

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They’re good on the field, they’re good on the court, they’re good when they’re playing the sport. But when it comes down to what’s happening outside the game, are they being good?

Athlete drug testing is a pretty controversial topic. I believe athletes should not be drug tested to play a sport.

Drug tests are not cheap. If we decided to start drug testing our athletes, it would probably not just be a one time thing. Depending on how often it was decided to give the drug tests, the cost would quickly rack up. This would take a lot of money that our school system might not have to spend.

“[Drug] testing ranges on average from $15-$35 per person,” athletic director Frank Carr said. “If we chose to test 400 athletes at an average of $25, the cost is $10,000.”

Not only would drug testing the athletes be expensive, but it would also be discriminatory. If we decided we needed to drug test our athletes, we would need to drug test all other extracurricular activities too.

“There are guidelines and policies that vary from school to school,” assistant athletic director/English teacher Jeremy Hill said. “I don’t know of any schools that just test athletes. If they test, it is random. All extracurriculars are included.”

Drug testing our athletes could be risk a students opportunity to play that sport in college. If they were doing drugs because they believed it enhances their performance, all of their hard work would be for nothing. The possibility of being caught or the possibility of a fatal occurance is high. Athletes should not use it for their enhancment of the sport,  but if they’re choosing to do it, it should be up to them.

Athletes should be trusted to do the right thing. Forcing them into drug tests may push them away from playing the sport which could easily impact their future.

“Drugs are a societal issue,” Hill said. “We see the results of drug abuse in the media daily. The presentation from the Wayne County Drug Task Force made it clear that drugs don’t discriminate, anyone can be a victim.”

If the athletes aren’t causing a noticeable problem with the team or out on the field, I don’t think we should make a problem out of it.

“I prefer to be reactive rather than proactive,” Hill said. “I think we have a much better chance of long term success using our current methods.”

If our school decided to start drug testing the athletes, it might backfire on our athletic program. The drug tests may risk the athletes to quit the sport rather than quit the drug, putting a dent in the number and quality of our student athletes.

“Questions exist as to the effectiveness of drug testing in high school,” Carr said. “Studies show that there is some effect in deterring drug use but not as large an effect as one might think.”

The athletes are already held to high standards. Beginning to drug test might add on to the stress they’re already feeling at school.

“Our student athletes’ current average GPA is, and has historically been, well above a 3.0,” Hill said. “They also continue to have great success in college and the workforce while contributing to their community.”

When it comes to doing drugs, we shouldn’t only be concerned with the athletes. The effects of drugs can be extreme and cause any person, student or adult, to alter their entire life.

“I’m concerned with any of our students doing drugs,” Carr said. “The consequences are life changing and often times life ending.”baseball

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