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STEROID PRIMER : Chemists, Coaches Stress Testing in High Schools

Associated Press

A coaches’ association, in conjunction with the American Assn. for Clinical Chemistry, Wednesday announced plans to send each U.S. high school a primer on steroids, stressing testing as the best method to stop abuse.

The “High School Coaches’ Guide to Steroid Use and Detection” will be sent to about 19,000 U.S. high schools before the football season starts, said Skip Morris, executive director of the National High School Athletic Coaches Assn.

The guide, produced by the chemists’ association, claims steroid use is growing to epidemic proportions among high school athletes and that the only sure-fire method of detection is from a urinalysis.

Anabolic steroids, a derivative of the male hormone testosterone, can enhance muscle development and performance, but doctors claim the drugs have harmful side effects, particularly for teen-agers.

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“Schools are beginning to look at testing programs as a tool to rid their schools of these dangerous drugs,” Morris said. “A complete program of education and testing can move us forward.”

Because the cost of a steroid test is approaching $200, Morris said most schools would choose random testing. He dismissed possible civil rights and privacy objections, saying many young athletes have asked for testing programs.

Morris said high school athletes already conform to certain requirements, such as maintaining their grades, and suggested that drug testing could be an additional requirement to play.


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