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Random drug testing not reliable in keeping teen athletes from using
Date:10/18/2007

histicated programs are not likely to be more successful," said Diane Elliot, M.D., co-investigator and certified doping control officer for the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

The two-year study was conducted in 11 high schools within 150 miles of Portland, Ore. Participating schools were randomly assigned to one of two study groups: schools that designed and implemented a drug and alcohol testing policy; and schools that had designed a policy but agreed to defer their policy drug testing until the study had concluded .

Athletes at drug and alcohol testing schools were at risk for random testing throughout the academic year. If an athlete tested positive for drug use, the results were reported to parents or guardians, and counseling was mandatory. Before the study began, voluntary consents were obtained from students and parents so that students could complete confidential questionnaires at the beginning and end of each school year. The questionnaires asked about alcohol and drug use and student attitudes about drug testing.

After two complete years, with surveys collected five times, the researchers found that drug and alcohol use during the month leading up to the test did not differ among student-athletes at schools with drug and alcohol testing and those with no drug and alcohol testing at any time point. Ironically, they found athletes at schools with drug and alcohol testing felt less athletically competent, perceived school authorities were less opposed to drug use, and believed less in the benefits of drug testing.

The researchers conclude that because some predictors of drug and alcohol use increased and past one-month use did not change with random testing, more research should be done to examine the policy of drug and alcohol testing.


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Contact: Tamara Hargens-Bradley
hargenst@ohsu.edu
503-494-8231
Oregon Health & Science University
Source:Eurekalert

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