Steroid testing program ends over money


Florida's pilot steroid-testing program has been eliminated, the result of budget concerns from state officials who said they cannot justify spending the $100,000 needed to do the testing.

Only one steroid user was found among 600 teens tested. Tests were randomly administered at 53 schools, at a cost of $166 apiece.

"We completely understand," said Cristina Alvarez, spokeswoman for the Florida High School Athletic Association. "We know that money has to go to certain things right now to help the entire state, not just one association."

The program took effect in July 2007 with Florida high school athletes participating in football, baseball and weightlifting subject to random testing. According to guidelines, any athlete who refused to provide a urine sample would be ineligible to remain on the team. Those who test positive would be suspended from the team, but could be reinstated if they pass a follow-up test later.

The Florida High School Athletics Association supervised the testing. Its membership includes 426 public schools and 224 private schools. The decision leaves just three states -- New Jersey, Illinois and Texas -- that test high school athletes for steroids.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.