NCAA considering new policies for recreational, performance-enhancing drugs

NCAA Policies ImageIn a move that goes against its former drug-policies, the NCAA may be tightening the reins for college athletes who utilize performance-enhancing drugs, while simultaneously lessening the consequences for those players that utilize recreational drugs such as marijuana and opiates. The NCAA drug testing website currently states, “The NCAA shares the responsibility of promoting a drug-free athletics environment with its member institutions to protect the health of student-athletes and preserve fair competition.” However, the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports is considering changing its policy on recreational drugs by “focus[ing] on educational programs instead of a traditional testing model.” The programs would include intervention and behavioral management programs, as well as “drug testing at the campus level,” though it is not specified how that testing would differ from the testing that the NCAA previously — and currently — is conducting. “It is our hope the proposed model will address drug deterrence in the most effective way to change behavior,” said Committee Chair and Harvard’s Head Athletic Trainer Brant Berkstresser. “We feel that the NCAA should be focused on drug testing for those substances that may provide an unfair performance advantages.” Athletes are currently tested for performance-enhancing drugs at least once a year. Previously, recreational drug testing has not been shown to be much of a deterrent. The NCAA has been conducting drug tests on its student athletes for both performance-enhancing and recreational drugs since 1986, and in that time, it has not seen an overall decrease in positive drug tests. In a news release, the committee stated, “Use of recreational drugs should absolutely be discouraged … but because they do not provide a competitive advantage, alternative approaches to testing should be developed.” The release also said that those who are penalized for recreational drug use by losing their eligibility to play are more likely to drop out of school; however, allowing athletes to skirt the consequences of their actions provides another, perhaps unintended, lesson to those students. photo credit: source via photopin (license)]]>

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