USATFAmerican athletes have been subject to drug testing when competing in international competition for years, but have not been subject to it domestically on any but the smallest scale. That is about to change in the coming years for the Intermediate (15-16 years old) and Young Men/Woman (17-18) divisions.

Starting in 2008, all youth championship races are going to have in-person drug education for the kids so that they know what the process involves and why they should avoid performance enhancing drugs. The idea is to instill a lifelong habit of fairplay by teaching them at a younger age to compete ethically and in such a way as to avoid the health risks of doping.

Beginning in 2009, there will be in-competition drug testing at all of the youth competitions.

I think that this is a great move. I believe that the younger generations coming up are already better educated than the previous generation, and I think that all of the recent doping scandals are bringing to light the fact that even if you get away with something in the short term you still stand to lose everything you have accomplished if you are discovered in the long term. This initiative should further reinforce that trend, and any children that are caught doping will have more of an opportunity to clean up and still have a competitive career.

(More Info: USATF)