In recent years, the number of athletes caught using drugs has increased dramatically. Not only are they using anabolic steroids to become stronger, they are also using narcotics and other illegal drugs. Several big stars have failed drug tests, including baseball greats Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi and cyclist Floyd Landis, the now-stripped winner of the 2006 Tour de France. Even though some athletes are not using performance-enhancing drugs, the fact that they are using drugs at all is a bigger problem.
Whether in high school or the major league, an athlete represents his or her sport and consequently is responsible for upholding its prestige. Athletes are obligated to set a good example. If the rules of the sport or their contract prohibit use of certain substances, they shouldn’t be using them.
If a player signs a contract, they give up their right to act as they desire. They sign on to be a role model for the sport, which includes following its rules. Therefore it is appropriate to have routine drug testing at all levels of athletics, including high school.
Additionally, the little drug testing that does occur is no deterrent for student athletes or pros to stop using. While they know that using drugs is illegal, athletes will not stop unless there are consequences or a significant possibility of getting caught. Even though the use of some drugs may benefit the team as a whole, it is still against the rules and should be dealt with harshly.
Most high school teams refuse to perform drug tests because they suspect athletes use drugs. This avoidance of the truth allows many athletes to get places they do not belong. Star athletes who use drugs are living a big lie - their fame and prestige are falsely earned.
It is important that drug testing occurs because for a school if someone were in fact caught using drugs. With the necessary precautions, constant drug testing and a zero-tolerance policy, high schools, colleges and professional sports could wipe out the use of drugs and consequently purify the world of sports.
Therefore, I believe that drug testing should be a mandatory test administered once a month. In the words of a great athletic director, “Playing a sport is a privilege and not a right.” It does not matter how good the athlete is, a zero-tolerance policy should be in place at all levels of competition.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.