Anabolic Steroids In Basketball

The recent studies, surveys, and anecdotal evidences reveal that the rate of nonmedical use of anabolic steroids has been surging. The use of anabolic steroids in sports is not new thing. These performance enhancing drugs have intruded in all major sports, such as basket ball, baseball, football, etc.

The NBA (National Basketball Association the USA’s premier professional men’s basketball league) adopted the first drug program in 1983. The program at the outset was mainly focused on drugs of abuse, particularly cocaine and heroin. The Veteran players who tested positive for these substances were immediately dismissed from the NBA for a minimum of two years.

There were a number of surveys indicating the use of anabolic steroids in Basketball. According to a survey in 1988, 1 percent of women in track and field and basketball reported taking steroids. The report of a 1989 survey on steroids conducted by Michael Gray, sponsored by the National Youth Sports Research and Development Center KY, revealed that basketball was the most common sport among the participants; 78% for boys and 65% for girls in basketball were reported using anabolic steroids.

The situation of increasing use of anabolic steroids in Basketball compelled the NBA to modify its drug policy in 1999. The NBA’s list of banned substances was expanded to include anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs. The testing was expanded to cover veterans as well as rookie players, and penalties for violators were increased.

The testing of NBA players for anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs started with the 1999-2000 season. The players were tested once during training camp, rookies were tested three additional times during the course of the regular season. The testing was conducted on a random basis i.e., without prior notice to the player. The players who tested positive under the 1999 program were required to be suspended for 5 games (first offense), 10 games (second offense), and 25 games (subsequent offenses).

The list of banned substances was further expanded, when androstenedione and DHEA were added to the NBA’s banned list by the Prohibited Substances Committee in November 2000. The Prohibited Substances Committee added six more substances, such as ephedra and related products, to the list in September 2003; the FDA banned ephedra and related products in February 2004. The Prohibited Substances Committee banned Gestrinone and THG in December 2003. The NBA has conducted over 4,200 tests for anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs since the steroids were added to the list of banned substances.

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