Drug Testing in Students and Athletes

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Drug testing student-athletes can be very debatable but very important. Performance-enhancing drugs can be an unfair advantage to students who don’t use these drugs and might encourage them to do so. Although people think drug testing is privacy violating and doesn't respect the rights concerning the Fourth Amendment. Health factors come into play as well and using these drugs can risk your life and health. Drug testing is very important and needed in the world of sports.

There are many opinions about drug testing student athletes and nonathletes, but most have opinions on why student-athletes and nonathletes should get drug tested all together. There have been many surveys about if drug testing should be performed or not. “Approximately 87% of all respondents either agreed or strongly agree that it is unethical to participate in sports when using performance-enhancing drugs” (Hamilton 5). Students have been surveyed and most opinions were positive about drug testing, although there are negative opinions as well. A number of people say it is a violation of privacy. Even though it is a type of violation, it is still needed to have healthy sports programs. “The opposing view is that athletes should be held accountable only for substances that would give them an unfair advantage over their competitors and that testing for substances other than those identified as performance-enhancing is both unnecessary and in violation of the privacy of the students” (Diacin 2). Multiple people think that students who do performance-enhancing drugs should only be punished for drugs that actually give an unfair advantage to their opponents. Testing for other things that are not specified as “performance-enhancing” drugs is unnecessary.

Students and student athletes think drug testing is a violation of privacy. Privacy is very important to students and people in general, but it is also important to be in good health. Being in good health totally rules out privacy entirely even though drug testing has come unliked by many. “Not surprisingly, suspicionless drug testing has come under attack from a number of quarters” (Taylor 2). The Fourth Amendment has also come into play of being violated because of random drug testing. A growing amount of controversies have come about because many believe that it is intrusive to students’ rights. “One source of controversy stems from the program protocol that allows random testing of athletes, even those not suspected of drug use” (Diacin 2). Random drug testing is when a student is randomly picked to get tested. This has been talked about and debated about ever since drug testing has been initiated and is not liked by a variety of people because of privacy violation. Even students who are not suspected to have done drugs, still can be randomly tested for protocol.

The government and the United States Anti-Doping Agency has also done things that prohibits certain drugs and substances. They watch over and run the drug testing program for Olympic athletes. “...the United States Anti-Doping Agency, an independent entity, administers and oversees the drug-testing program for American Olympic athletes” (Mitten 4). They also have a criteria for certain drugs and substances as well. Professional athletes are overseen by this agency if any professional is under the suspicion of doing any drug usage. “In addition all NCAA student athletes are subject to drug testing at NCAA championship events and at post-season bowl games” (Diacin 2). The NCAA has a protocol to drug test all student athletes and oversees the NCAA athletes for any red flags. Anyone who doesn’t get drug tested and refuses is not allowed to perform in any NCAA championship games or events.

Drug-testing is very important and student athletes should be tested. Drug usage for performance enhancement has many health risks. “...Concerned with the use of performance enhancing drugs because of the potential health risks to the student-athlete as they continue to turn an eye from range of temporary and more permanent health consequences associated with contact sports” (Bahrke). Drug usage is very risky when in a contact sport; it is a very important thing relating to health. If a student athlete wants to be the “best” on their team and they do these drugs, it is the riskiest thing they could ever do regarding their physical and mental health. “Pharmacological performance-enhancing substances are banned because of their adverse effects on both athletes’ health and competitive integrity” (Mitten 4). Many substances are banned because of how bad the effects are on student athletes. Even pharmacists and pharmacies are concerned about what these drugs can actually do and make someone feel.

There are many different substances and drugs that are tested including performance enhancing drugs or recreational. Different types of steroids are used and also different types of hormones. Even though alcohol is not performance-enhancing, it is still tested; alcohol is illegal for high school students to consume as well as being a recreational substance. “Anabolic steroids, when combined with vigorous physical training, do enhance athletic performance by making users bigger, stronger, and faster— while also speeding up their recovery time after strenuous exercise” (Mitten 2). When using performance enhancing drugs, it can be very dangerous. Different ways athletes want to accomplish something is by using drugs to help their performance. “The use of performance-enhancing drugs like steroids in … sports is dangerous, and it sends the wrong message that there are shortcuts to accomplishment, and that performance is more important than character” (Woolf 6). Many steroids and hormones are both of the biggest types of drugs athletes use to enhance performance; recovering after exercise and make users stronger and faster which is insane. Using theses drugs sends the message of cheating in a school or in any sport program. Using these drugs is a shortcut to accomplishment which is unfair to opponents and others who want to be successful in a certain sport.

Many people have made it clear that athletes who are using performance-enhancing drugs may have an unfair advantage over their opponent. The epidemic of athletes and even non-athletes using these substances have taken over and are making non users want to do these drugs. “Use of these “doping” drugs and methods may provide competitors with an unfair advantage, enticing non-users to become users in order to compete on a “level playing field” within a culture of “winning at any cost” and avoiding, at all costs, being a loser” (Bahrke). Other non-users start using these drugs because they don’t want to have an unfair advantage to those who do. They want to be equal to those who are “cheating.” “As is often the case, the high school student-athletes are modeling this illicit behavior of drug use by the professional and college athletes” (Stinchcomb 1). This behavior is being shown through athletes and is setting a very bad advantage to those who are looking up to these athletes. Cheating is one of the most hated thing in the sports industry and drugs is just making it even more hated. The message that is being shown is very bad and negative.

Many surveys and questioning of high school athletes and college athletes has been done and a lot of data has been obtained. “... More than 90% of all respondents feel that drug testing results in safer participation as evidenced by responses …” (Hamilton 4). Also, three types of drug testing are performed on student-athletes. “There are traditionally three types of drug testing selection processes; mandatory selection, voluntary selection, and random selection” (Stinchcomb). Random selection is the test that many think is privacy violating. Random selection is when someone is suspicionless and doesn’t know they will get tested. Mandatory selection is when for example, an athlete has to get tested before their season and after their season or they wouldn’t be able to play. Lastly, voluntary selection is when someone volunteers to get drug tested.

Even though technology has improved drug testing, it can still be unreliable. Certain drugs that people may take for medical issues like birth control pills, can come up positive. “A third issue associated with NCAA drug testing involves reliability to test results” (Diacin 2). This problem has come up and has made a concern with people who do take medically prescribed drugs that may come up positive. Although drug testing is said to be unreliable, it has improved greatly by technology. “Testing for banned substances became increasingly reliable through advances in modern science, but unfortunately, doping practices also advanced with technology” (Woolf 7). Technology has improved the reliability of drug testing. However, doping is improving with testing and how reliable it is. Certain drugs can be tested positive even though it is not performance enhancing. Medically prescribed drugs are needed by people but when tested, it could come up positive and have that student punished. This is a very big dilemma in drug testing and reliability is the most important thing when testing. If something does come up positive, that students’ sports future would be tainted even though that student might have not done any drugs.

When tested and resulting in a positive result can be very consequential. There are many penalties that come with a positive test. “A penalty structure was developed which included a suspension for 90 days of any athlete found having traces of illegal drugs” (Hamilton 2). These consequences happen in every level of sports if your results do come out positive. The penalties for the higher levels therefore, are fairly more powerful than lower levels. Students can be suspended from their team for a certain amount of days for the season or the entire season. A bigger offense would be not being able to participate in any other sport program. “Any later “positive” test would result in suspension for a full year” (Hamilton 2). More offenses can result in a greater punishment. If a student is doing these drugs and keeps on coming up positive, their season or even professional career could be in danger. The reason why athletes keep on using these drugs is because they are addicted to becoming the best they can be without having to do anything.

There are many messages that sports programs and schools don’t want to share because of performance-enhancing drug usage. Users of the drugs make non users want to try it and have a fairer advantage although it is a risk to your health. “Developing the attitude that a student-athlete can find a shortcut to success in the sport arena by using drugs is not a message in which secondary education wants to be attached” (Stinchcomb 2). Risking your life to be a “better” athlete is not as important as being healthy so you are able to play those sport you want to get better at by cheating. What people don’t understand is that doing these drugs is an addiction. These young students and athletes are addicted to these drugs to get better at what sport they play and they think they have to use drugs in order to do so. They need help and need to see what drugs and opioids really do to them in order to get an advantage on their opponent.

In conclusion, drug testing is a very debatable topic. Many people think it is a great thing to do for students and athletes and also professional athletes. But, there is always an opposing side which says that it is privacy violation and that it takes away rights of students. Even though privacy is very important, so is you physical and mental health. Using these drugs can be a health risk and very dangerous. The government has been present to oversee drug testing and how they should be used. Using them for sports and to enhance performance is certainly not the way to use them. It also gives an unfair advantage to the opponent and shouldn’t be tolerated. Student athletes and sports is that future in this generation and needs to be controlled. But not controlled with drugs.

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Drug Testing in Students and Athletes. (2021, Mar 26). Retrieved December 1, 2023 , from

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