Senator Andrew Lanza (R - Staten Island) has introduced legislation which would require random steroid screenings of high school athletes. The legislation, which mirrors a bill that has passed in the Texas Legislature, will require athletes to agree not to use illegal steroids and submit to random testing if selected.
The latest survey from the Centers for Disease Control says at least 700,000 teenagers, or five percent of all high school students, use steroids. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held hearings this week regarding the issues surrounding performance enhancing substances in Major League Baseball identified by former Senator George Mitchell in his report on the subject.
"Steroid abuse is a growing problem which poses a health significant health threat to our high school athletes," said Senator Lanza. "In addition to educating kids about the harmful physical and emotional consequences steroids can have, we need to strongly deter student athletes from using these harmful drugs to begin with. This legislation sheds light on the issue and sends the message that steroid use will not be tolerated by any school athletic program."
Councilman James Oddo has been a leader on this issue since May of 2005, when he and Congressman Fossella hosted a three-hour meeting with the athletic directors and coaches of Staten Island’s high schools to discuss steroid issues. All present at the meeting agreed that it is a real problem facing sports programs on Staten Island and that legislation may be appropriate to mandate testing. On June 1, 2005, Oddo wrote a letter to New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein requesting the institution of a pilot-testing program, only to receive a generic response from the DOE stating that the agency was aware of the problem and that coaches receive information as part of their coaches’ clinics.
Oddo worked on legislation mandating testing for performance enhancing substances on the city level but after extensive research and discussions, it was determined that it was more practical to continue on the state level.
Councilman Oddo said, "Senator Mitchell reaffirmed what we have long feared, that across the country, including in our own borough, young kids are emulating their heroes and experimenting with performance enhancing drugs. Due to the scope of this problem it was not practical to address this issue on a local level, which is why the leadership of Senator Lanza is so welcome."
Click here to see the CBS story.