ROBBINSVILLE – The state of New Jersey recently provided the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) with a $50,000 reimbursement to help fund a steroid testing program designed to protect high school student athletes from the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs.
According to an ongoing partnership agreement, the NJSIAA receives $50,000 annually from the state, which it matches with its own $50,000 contribution. The funds provided by New Jersey represent the state’s sole payment to the independent association.
This latest reimbursement covers costs for the testing program during the current, 2011-2012 school year. The state is committed to additional annual contributions in the future. Each of these reimbursements will be matched by the NJSIAA, which serves as the testing program’s administrator and lone arbiter.
At approximately $200 per test the initiative is costly, but it’s critical in preventing steroid abuse.
“Last year, we had four positive tests, which is the most in this program’s five-year history,” says Steven J. Timko, the NJSIAA’s executive director. “That means our testing protocols are effective, and with this renewed funding, we can look forward to continued success in the fight against these potentially lethal drugs.”
The program began in June 2006, making New Jersey the first state with a comprehensive steroid testing policy for athletes at the high school level. In 2010-2011, the association conducted 492 tests on athletes from 86 different member schools – with more than half being focused on student athletes in sports in which steroid use is most prevalent. These include football, wrestling, swimming, and lacrosse.
Under the current NJSIAA program, any student who tests positive for steroids or other banned substances included on a list patterned after the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) list, will automatically forfeit one year of athletic eligibility. Athletes randomly designated for testing are selected by the National Center for Drug-Free Sport computer system. The tests, which can identify more than 80 banned substances, are analyzed by the University of California, Los Angeles Olympic Analytical Laboratory.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!