Sunday, July 4, 2004

Ohio bans steroid use, but doesn't test

The regulations

By Tom Groeschen
Enquirer staff writer

The National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations has issued a statement discouraging the use of performance enhancers, and most states have followed suit.

For instance, the Ohio High School Athletic Association policy on steroids and other performance enhancers states: "A student who uses anabolic steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs is ineligible for interscholastic competition until such time as medical evidence can be presented that the student's system is free of anabolic steroids or other performance enhancing drugs."

Some high schools use an NCAA-approved test for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamines that costs about $22, plus collecting and handling expenses. But a steroid test costs $50 to $100, not counting collecting and handling.

Expense might be a reason most schools rely on education rather than drug/supplement testing programs.

The OHSAA does not track individual cases.

"The only time we might be aware of a case is in the unlikely event that there was a usage issue surrounding one of our OHSAA tournaments," said Dr. Deborah Moore, an assistant commissioner. "It is the responsibility of the member school that suspects steroid usage to require that the student demonstrate that he or she has not used."

Moore said the OHSAA has received occasional questions about steroids and supplements from parents and schools but said the organization has no way of knowing whether inquiries actually lead to a documented violation.

"Regarding prevalence, we can only assume that usage patterns in Ohio do not differ significantly from the national data, which reveal a lifetime usage of less than 3.5 percent," Moore said.

In Florida, state Rep. Marcelo Llorente wants high school athletes to undergo mandatory testing for steroids. In California, state Sen. Jackie Speier has introduced legislation to ban the sale of supplements to teens.

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