Mar 23, 2015
Testing Program Likely to be Dropped

Texas made national headlines in 2007 when it started a statewide high school steroid testing program. Now, after spending $10 million and seeing few positive tests, ABC News reports that the state will likely defund the program this summer. 

While surveys of high schoolers have found that seven percent report using steroids, Texas’ program uncovered a fraction of positives. During the 2013-14 school year, just two of 2,633 student-athletes tested positive.

The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, which reviewed the program last year, concluded that the testing would not be effective unless the state put more money into it.

“The program they developed was bound to fail,” Don Catlin, who spent years conducting the NCAA’s tests at UCLA, said, citing issues with both scope and testing protocols. “I told them years ago to put the money into something else.”

Don Hooton, who helped push for the program’s creation after his son’s suicide was linked to steroid use, believes that it’s allowed lawmakers to look at the numbers in the wrong light: 

“Coaches, schools, and politicians have used the abysmal number of positive tests to prove there’s no steroid problem,” Hooton said. “What did we do here? We just lulled the public to sleep.”

Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, is critical of a decision to drop the program in a state where spending lavishly on athletics is rarely seen as an issue.

“They’re willing to spend ($60) million building one high school football stadium but can’t find a fraction of that to protect the health and safety of young athletes? Come on,” he said. “It’s a joke.”

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