Written by Matt Wixon
UIL steroid testing program should be dropped, according to legislative advisory commission
The UIL's steroid testing program, which dates back to 2008, will probably soon end. But it's not over until the state legislature makes it official during its next legislative session, which begins in January.
However, the Sunset Advisory Commission - a Texas Legislature group that makes recommendations on the need for various state agencies - says testing should be discontinued. That report first came out in May, and it's being discussed today and Wednesday as the Sunset Commission meets in Austin. That has led to some Twitter buzz about the testing program, so here's some background.
From the Sunset Commission's report in May:
Limited Funding and Changing Attitudes Have Reduced the Need For and Effectiveness of the State's Steroid Testing Program
The state's steroid testing program began in 2008 with the goal of reducing illegal steroid use through random testing of high school student athletes and educating students, parents, and coaches about the dangers of steroid use. Texas is now one of only three states to test for steroids, spending $9.3 million over the life of the program while averaging positive test results of less than one-third of 1 percent.
Since the program began, changing attitudes in Texas and nationally toward steroid use have resulted in reduced use among teens. Additionally, the Legislature has reduced funding for the program each biennium, resulting in fewer tests being conducted and diminishing the program's deterrent effect.
Discontinuing the steroid testing program, but maintaining the educational component would ensure coaches and students remain aware of the dangers of steroids while saving the State $1 million over the next biennium. Individual school districts would continue to be allowed to implement their own drug testing programs at the local level if needed.
Key recommendation: Discontinue the statewide steroid testing program
You can read more of the Commission report here.
The program started out with a state allocation of $3 million per year for the testing. It has been cut drastically over the years.