New Jersey is going to be the first state to institute a regular system of random drug tests at the high school level. The cost of the tests is going to be split between the state government and the state’s sports association. All in all, they will be testing about 500 of the 10,000 high school athletes at a cost of $175 per test.
Frank Uryasz, president of Drug Free Sport, said that based on his experience with college testing programs he expects about 1 to 2 percent of the tests to come back positive. That amounts to 5 to 10 athletes each year.
I think that this is a great move. I hope that the program is successful and that other states adopt something similar. Catch ’em while they’re young works for the testers as well as it works for the pushers. There is no need at the high school level for an athlete to take performance enhancing drugs. Of course, I don’t think there is a need at any level. At the high school level there is no real financial incentive to it. They may get into a better sports program on a scholarship, but that just increases the likelihood of getting caught.
Kids in high school are at the point in their development where steroids can do the most damage to their growth and long term health. I hope that the program catches less than the expected 1 to 2 percent, and I hope that it keeps the 1 to 2 percent that may actually be using drugs or are considering it from continuing that practice.