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Sunday, April 17, 2005

Ind. Decisions - Random testing in schools for steroids

"Testing an expensive proposition" is the headline to this story in the Munster (NW Indiana) Times by Jeff Carroll. Some quotes:

With budgets already stretched, school systems are not anxious to take on added expense.

That's what steroid testing would be -- and a pricey one at that.

Extensive tests for steroids can run as high as $300 -- that's how much the laboratory used by the University of Texas-El Paso charges, athletic director Bob Stull told ESPN.com.

Most steroid tests, even less-sophisticated ones that scan only for the most common steroids, cost $100-plus. That's still much more than tests for street drugs like cocaine and marijuana, which usually cost about $20.

Homewood-Flossmoor High School has conducted random drug testing of its student athletes for more than a decade, and it has been pleased with the overall results. However, H-F conducts its testing in a shroud of semi-secrecy, for practical reasons.

"We really don't talk about our program, what we do test for and what we don't test for," said Dave Thieman, a Homewood-Flossmoor spokesman. "We leave it general. We don't want to tip off the students that we don't test for certain things or that we do test for certain things.

"Our program has been very successful. It's given students an easy way out, an easy way to say, 'I can't do those types of things because I might be tested.' The community has supported it, and it's been a big success."

Not all communities are as receptive to random drug testing. Some programs have been challenged as being discriminatory to athletes and a violation of student civil liberties.

Two former Lake Central players said steroid use in its football program was widespread in 2000. That was the same year the school put a planned drug-testing program on hold, and Chesterton and Munster high schools suspended programs already in place because of an Indiana Court of Appeals ruling.

The court deemed testing at Northwestern High School near Kokomo a violation of constitutional protection of illegal search and seizure.

The Indiana Supreme Court later overruled that decision in Linke v. Northwestern School Corp.

Here are the Curt of Appeals 8/21/2000 decision, the Court of Appeals' 10/6/2000 opinion on petition for rehearing, and the Indiana Supreme Court's 3/5/2002 3-2 reversal (affirming the decision of the trial court).

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 17, 2005 04:34 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions