Vainieri Huttle, Jasey & Mukherji Bill to Expand Steroid Testing for High School Athletes Gains Final Legislative OK
(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Mila Jasey and Raj Mukherji to expand steroid testing and education throughout New Jersey high schools was approved 37-0 Monday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval.
"Student athletes who see steroids as a quick fix, fail to realize how detrimental they can be to a person's physical and psychological health," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "I can understand how a young person who has hopes of playing professionally wants to get an edge over the competition, but risking your health is not worth it. Random testing of student athletes can help deter steroid use among young people who might be more concerned with getting caught than the harmful side effects."
The bill (A-2353) builds upon the recommendations in the December 2005 report of the Governor's Task Force on Steroid Use and Prevention by expanding the state's existing random steroid testing program beyond just those athletes who qualify for playoffs to include student athletes in general.
"Young people often tend to be more impulsive and willing to take risks, regardless of whether it puts their health in danger," said Jasey (D-Essex/Morris). "Random testing, coupled with an information campaign focused on prevention, can help keep student athletes away from steroids and its harmful side effects."
The bill requires the Department of Education and the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) to work jointly to develop and implement, by the next school year, a program of random steroid testing of student-athletes. Under the bill, any person who coaches a public school district or nonpublic school interscholastic sport, dance, or cheerleading team must incorporate into the team's training activities a gender-specific program designed to reduce the use of steroids and performance enhancing supplements, alcohol, and drugs, and to promote healthy nutrition and exercise.
"Having just concluded the summer Olympics where doping concerns garnered a number of headlines, it's important that we stress to young people the dangers and heavy consequences that accompany steroid use," said Mukherji (D-Hudson). "Increasing testing and prevention education will hopefully deter more student athletes from pursuing this reckless path."Read more