Steroids more than a national issue

Commerce – Steroids scandals have rocked major league baseball in the past year, instigating several Congressional hearings on the matter, the most recent of which was held yesterday. The problem is not confined to professional sports, however. Recently, nine students from Colleyville Heritage High School near Fort Worth admitted using steroids in one of the largest confirmed cases of steroid use at an American High School. A&M-Commerce Sports Information Director Bill Powers said steroids can be especially harmful for young users.

POWERS: Especially for younger athletes. Its something that high school athletes and college athletes don't need to be getting into because it is still a very harmful drug.

The Colleyville Heritage case drew the attention of lawmakers. The Texas House passed a measure last week that would create a steroid education program and authorizes a study on the extent of steroid abuse in high schools. A University Interscholastic League advisory panel declined to recommend mandatory statewide steroid testing in April after many schools objected to the idea, citing financial reasons.

POWERS: I think, unfortunately, at some point there will have to be some kind of testing program, but the question is where is the funding going to come from? Steroid testing is expensive, and I'm not sure if everybody is ready to step up to the plate yet.

The measure passed by the House gives the UIL two years to report findings from the steroid study, and the state could direct the UIL to conduct random testing if steroid use has not significantly declined. The bill is now before the State Senate.

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