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EUSD plans to return to steroid testing for student athletes

EUSD plans to return to steroid testing for student athletes

Exeter Unified reviews student athlete drug testing policy in Board subcommittee to discuss adding steroid testing after removing it from the policy just months ago

By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN

EXETER – The Exeter Unified School District’s curriculum and instruction subcommittee took a second look at steroids, only two months after they struck it from the books.

In 2016 the District decided that they would begin randomly drug testing their student athletes in the name of safety. Overall, they tested for a whole host of substances including: marijuana metabolite, cocaine metabolite, opiates, phencyclidine (PCP), amphetamines, alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, propaxyhene (Darvocet), methadone, oxycotin, and steroids.

It was not until their June 12 meeting this year when the Board voted 6-0, Dewayne Faulkner abstaining, to end the steroid test and change test administrators. 

Superintendent George Eddy said that steroid tests have been inconclusive. 

“Because adolescent boys can have a high level of testosterone, we’ve had a couple of incidents where students tested positive on the initial test,” Eddy said. 

He added that after students went to their own doctor, they concluded that there was enough testosterone in the athlete to trigger a positive steroid test. Eddy said that student athletes have to sit out two weeks while the family is seeking their own opinion. And while the Board decided to do away with steroid testing last month, the District’s attorneys suggested they put steroids back in the policy in case they want to test students in the future. 

There is also the issue of cost. By switching from their first test administrator, Recovery Resources, to Courage to Change, the District is saving between $35,000 and $40,000. Although, Eddy notes that most of the savings is due to not mandating steroid testing. 

Despite the supposed waffling over steroids, the rest of the policy has stayed the same. 

If an athlete tests positive for any of these substances they will be immediately excluded from participation in athletics for two weeks. Then they must test negative for any of the substances or provide a doctor’s note stating that it is safe for them to return. And that is in conjunction with a 12-week (12 sessions) education/counseling program held at the school, which includes up to six random drug tests.

A second positive test will make athletes ineligible for six full weeks, and include the 12-week program. A third positive test will result in a full calendar year of ineligibility and an even stricter program. In addition to the 12-week education/counseling program, athletes will have to submit to random drug tests for the rest of their high school athletic career. A fourth test will result in athletes being permanently ineligible for the rest of their high school athletic career.

Athletes can opt out of the 12-week course provided by the district if they have another acceptable provider. Athletes can also not enroll in the program, but they will not be allowed to return to athletics until the program is completed. Therefore, athletes who do not choose to enter the program can extend their ineligibility indefinitely.

The results of a positive test are cumulative, meaning that if an athlete tests positive his senior year he is subject to the first response of two weeks of ineligibility and the 12-week program. If the same athlete tests positive his junior year, he will be subject to the second response of six weeks of ineligibility plus the 12-week program.

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