A study conducted at 11 Oregon high schools found that testing athletes for drug use does not deter them from taking |drugs.
The two-year study based its conclusions on surveys of athletes, not drug-test results. It showed that reported drug and alcohol use of tested athletes during the month leading to the test did not vary from athletes at schools in a control group who were not tested for drugs.
"It shocked us," said Dr. Linn Goldberg of Oregon Health Science University, who oversaw the study.
Findings of the study, first reported by The Oregonian newspaper, were to be released today in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
The study involved roughly 1,400 teenagers and was the first randomized clinical trial to determine the deterrent effects of drug testing on high school athletes.
The study comes at a time when an increasing number of high schools are testing for drugs &
a controversial practice. The study itself was also controversial.
In 2002, two years after the study began, students and parents complained that they were being forced to participate. Students at Dallas High School west of Salem filed a federal lawsuit, and the study was halted a few months before its scheduled completion.
Schools that had drug testing included Astoria, Creswell, Dallas, Monroe and Scio. Athletes at six other schools &
Gervais, Philomath, Santiam, Sherman, Silverton and Warrenton &
completed surveys but were not tested.
Goldberg, who leads the Division of Health Promotion and Sports Medicine at OHSU, said those conducting the study were neither for nor against drug testing.
"We thought it was important to study the issue," he said.
"Why waste money if it's not going to work."
Athletes were tested for alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines and other drugs. Those with positive tests were referred to drug counseling. If they refused the help, they were not allowed to participate in sports.
Information from: The Oregonian, http:www.oregonlive.com
Study: Oregon prep athletes say drug testing does not deter