New Drug Policy Working, NBA Says 

New Drug Policy Working, NBA Says 
Posted by FoM on February 14, 2000 at 14:15:13 PT
By Roscoe Nance, USA Today
Source: USA Today
The NBA and the players union weren't always on the same page about including marijuana on the league's list of banned substances.But the sides are in accord now that all players and league personnel for the first time have been subjected to the new drug policy, which includes testing for marijuana.
Terms of the drug policy limit what league and union officials can talk about in terms of testing, but The New York Times reported that only 12 of 430 active players tested positive for marijuana. ''We're pleased with our drug policy thus far,'' NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik says. ''I think it does appear that some of the speculation about how many players would test positive was substantially exaggerated.''A Times report in 1997 quoted unnamed players who estimated that as much as 60%-70% of the league smoked marijuana.Richard Dumas, who was suspended for drug and alcohol abuse in the early '90s, once said that if the NBA tested players for marijuana, ''there would be no NBA.''''Being a player in the NBA, I knew it wasn't 70%,'' Detroit Pistons player representative Jerome Williams says. ''That would have included more than half of my teammates, and I know that's false. Numbers in speculation always tend to go up. We're not happy there's 12.''But we're definitely happy to find out it's a lot less than people expected, and to at least let fans know speculation was just speculation.''More than 500 players and coaches were tested during training camp. Of the players who tested positive, 12 remained on active rosters after teams made their final cuts before the regular season began. They were ordered into an aftercare program.''If it is 12, it's a low number,'' union vice president Dikembe Mutombo says. ''It doesn't make us look as bad as people predicted us to be. We were known as crackheads and drug dealers. If there are things we need to solve, we can solve them. Even if some players test positive for marijuana and need treatment, we will send them for treatment.''Under the league's old drug policy, the league tested only rookies and only for cocaine and heroin. Veterans were tested only if there was reasonable suspicion that they were using those drugs.Philadelphia 76ers center Stanley Roberts became the first player banned under the new policy when he tested positive for an amphetamine-based drug in November.During the summer, the union launched a mail campaign reminding players they would be tested for marijuana. Critics say that because players knew when they would be tested, it was easy for them to avoid a positive result and the numbers are skewed.''I think with marijuana in particular, that's not necessarily so because it can stay in your system for a number of months,'' Granik says. ''I think for the most part, players in the NBA have gotten the message. Players understand what's expected and what's not expected.''Says union vice president Alonzo Mourning: ''It's still not good. We want it to be zero. Unfortunately it's not at that point. It's an unfortunate circumstance we have to go through that. I'm hoping we can take control of the situation where we won't have to address it all and it won't be an issue.''  Published: February 14, 2000 Copyright 2000 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.  CannabisNews Articles On The NBA:N.B.A. Finds Minimal Use of Marijuana in First Test
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