Those on football, baseball and weightlifting teams will be required to take random tests.
The most recent state statistics show nearly 20,000 Florida high schoolers admit to using steroids, 5,600 of them within the past month.
Baseball coach Aaron Clark hopes a new law to test high school athletes for steroids will help to change the drug culture perpetuated by the many of the sports stars these kids idolize.
"They all have a television," Clark said. "They all watch ESPN and they see that these guys are making millions of dollars and doing certain things and they all want to be a part of that, and there’s no magic pill." The new law establishes a pilot program starting this fall to randomly test football players, baseball players, and weightlifters. The question for many people though is: Does this legislation go far enough?
There are so many supplements legally on the market, like creatine, for example, that even a 13-year-old can easily get his hands on. Some might also wonder if the punishment will be enough of a deterrent, just a 90-day suspension from sports for testing positive.
Bill sponsor Marcelo Llorente says he hopes the law will someday have more teeth.
"But I think it’s a first step," the state representative (R - Miami). "And I think it’s a good first step in the right direction and Florida is in essence leading the way and there are only a few other states that have done anything as relates to high school athletes and steroids use and I’m glad that we’re one of them."
The threat of random drug testing may be enough to help at least some athletes "just say no."
All public and private high schools must participate in the random steroid testing of athletes to be eligible to participate in the Florida High School Athletic Association.
Students’ records related to the steroid testing are required to be kept private and separate from their academic records, and test results can’t be used as part of a criminal prosecution.
Gov. Crist also signed a separate bill designed to help consumers deal with the piles of paperwork involved in a home mortgage. The new law says all fees have to be disclosed up front and it increases the penalty for mortgage fraud making it a felony instead of a misdemeanor.
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