High schools in Florida may begin cracking down on students suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs, or PEDs.
Following the accusations that a clinic in Florida provided PEDs to professional baseball players like superstar Alex Rodriguez, allegations arose that the same clinic also provided the substances to high school athletes.
The Miami Herald reported this week that at least two current high school seniors and five college students were at one time clients of Biogenesis of America, the anti-aging clinic that Major League Baseball investigated for distributing PEDs.
The Florida High School Athletic Association now says it wants to encourage school districts to crack down on such abuses by testing high school athletes for performance enhancers.
"We must draw a line in the sand against performance-enhancing drugs," the athletic association's executive director, Roger Dearing, said on a conference call with multiple media outlets, adding,remain "School districts simply cannot tolerate coaches who encourage or look the other way when they know student-athletes are using performance-enhancing drugs."
While Dearing recognized that it would be unrealistic for schools to test all 283,000 of Florida's high school student athletes –- especially given the high costs of such tests –- he expressed confidence that schools would be able to implement an effective testing system.
“There’s no way we can test every child," he said, "but we can ask school districts if they can test kids who are under suspicion of using PEDs.”
He went on to say that communities should take responsibility for ensuring that schools are drug-free environments.
“The [Florida High School Athletic Association]'s overriding priority is the safety, well-being and constructive development of young student-athletes, whose bodies and character are still forming,” Dearing said. “Performance-enhancing drugs undermine every aspect of this goal, and so it is imperative that our student-athletes adhere to a zero-tolerance policy toward these inherently unfair and dangerous substances.”
The athletic association's plan comes on the heels of the MLB's suspension of New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez and 12 other MLB players amid findings that linked them to Biogenesis and performance-enhancing drugs.