NBA's New Drug Policy Being Implemented 

NBA's New Drug Policy Being Implemented 
Posted by FoM on October 09, 1999 at 06:06:55 PT
By Stephen A. Smith
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
 NBA enforcement officials, ready to police the league's new drug policy, will visit each team before Nov. 2, the day regular season begins.For the first time, testing won't be restricted to cocaine and heroin. Marijuana has been added to the list.
On the day of the unannounced visits, players will be notified during practice that they will be required to provide urine samples before leaving.Not only players, but head coaches, assistant coaches, trainers and other team personnel are subjected to the latest regulations."I couldn't be happier," said Larry Brown, the 76ers' head coach. "I think it's great for the league, especially with the fact that all on-court personnel has to be a part of it. It sends a great message to kids out there and to the general public that we understand our responsibilities and we're taking care of it.""It's long overdue," point guard Eric Snow said. "Why not? If it's illegal, it's illegal. People shouldn't do it. There may be a lot of people that feel differently than I do. But that's how I see it."In a national survey of 25,500 drug users conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and released in August, 60 percent reported using marijuana only, suggesting that marijuana is the most frequently used illegal drug.Even before the results of that survey were released, the NBA felt questioned why the National Basketball Players Association would oppose testing for marijuana.Cocaine and heroin had been covered by the NBA's anti-drug policy since the early 1980s, when the league's image of being drug-infested helped account for acres of empty arena seats. But when numerous incidents involving players and marijuana began cropping up, the league became determined to cover marijuana in its policy."There was a time when our image was absolutely terrible," commissioner David Stern said recently. "We never want to return to that again."Marijuana testing was approved by both sides in January during collective bargaining.From now through at least the 2003-2004 season, everyone covered by the policy will be tested at least once during the four-week preseason. Rookies will be tested three more times, randomly and without notification, each season. Veterans will be tested during the preseason only.Anyone testing positive for cocaine, heroin or other "hard drugs" will be barred from the NBA for two years, Russ Granik, the NBA's deputy commissioner, said yesterday."They will be gone," he added. "No ifs, ands or buts."Those who test positive for marijuana, Granik said, will "go into a treatment program after the first offense. They're fined for the second offense. And any additional offenses will lead to more fines and subsequent suspensions."At least one player appears more concerned that players receive help rather than fines or suspensions."I feel it's good for the league, just because I feel it's good for any organization," Sixers center Matt Geiger said. "Whether it's a computer company, athletics or any kind of business you're running where you want to maximize the performance level, you want to know about your employees. But it's about giving help, too."A lot of times, some people don't realize the problems they can get into. In the beginning, they can get caught up into it. They don't see the potential damage down the road because they're not educated [about it]. So this is a way to get people educated and get them to realize how negative drugs can be."The Sixers have not been tested yet, but none of them seem concerned about it."I love it," Brown said."It doesn't bother me at all," guard Larry Hughes said.Notes. Allen Iverson practiced yesterday, although he was still suffering from a stomachache. . . . Billy Owens, still rehabilitating a knee that was operated on over the summer, didn't practice, but he did ride an exercise bike. 1998 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc. The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 9, 1999Cannabis News Drug Testing Articles:
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Comment #1 posted by Scott on October 09, 1999 at 08:46:59 PT:
There goes the neighborhood
Well, there goes 70% of the NBA, not to mention the drug testing will probably bring higher drinking rates, since alcohol will get you messed up and it's completly legal. *sigh*Scott
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