Miami-Dade's New High School Steroid Testing Plan Is a Joke

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Tony Bosch has admitted to selling steroids to at least 18 high school athletes in Miami.
Two weeks ago, Biogenesis clinic founder Tony Bosch and six others were indicted and charged with, among other things, selling steroids to at least 18 local high school athletes. The very next day, Miami-Dade County Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced with a flourish a new pilot program to drug test for local high school athletes.

Too bad the new rules are a farce unlikely to cause any kind of change. The reason: The county has allocated a comically tiny $73,000 for the program. Even the best-funded high school -testing of performance-enhancing drugs is counterproductive, some advocates say, because the easy-to-beat screenings obscure the number of kids actually using.

See also: Tony Bosch and Biogenesis: MLB Steroid Scandal

"You're not only wasting money, you're doing more harm than good," says Don Hooton, who runs the Taylor Hooton Foundation, a group named for his son, a high school pitcher who killed himself after taking steroids. "No one will test positive except for one idiot, and then the superintendent and coaches and parents can walk away and say, 'See, there wasn't a steroid problem at all!' "

In addition, the state has instituted new rules that are dependent on tips, but New Times has learned only six have been filed in the past five years, resulting in no action at the state level.

It seems school leaders and coaches have taken the wrong lesson from Biogenesis' high school scandal. Education programs about the dangers of PEDs, not useless testing policies or token rule changes, should be the focus, Hooton says. Yet to date, zero new funds have been earmarked for steroid education. "Spend it where it can count -- in educating the coaches, educating the kids, which is not being done," he says.

Hooton wasn't always against youth steroid testing. Taylor's mental illness was accelerated by the steroids he'd taken with his Dallas high school teammates, he says. So after the boy's June 15, 2003 suicide, Don Hooton became a full-time activist fighting the drugs' use by young athletes. One of the first steps he took was to push Texas to institute statewide random testing for high-schoolers. That measure took years to find any traction.

Florida's first foray into statewide steroid testing started in 2007, when then-Gov. Charlie Crist signed a bill ordering random tests for high school football, baseball, and weightlifting athletes. That decision came in the wake of the BALCO scandal and just before the investigation by Sen. George Mitchell into Major League Baseball's rampant steroid problems.

The results should have been a warning sign for drug-testing advocates. With a paltry budget from Tallahassee, less than 1 percent of the state's athletes were tested. And of the more than 600 kids tested, only one athlete failed. Crist soon canceled the program.
The next year in Texas, thanks in part to Hooton's lobbying, the Lone Star State began its program. It was better funded than Florida's effort, with $3 million allocated to test more than 10,000 student-athletes. Yet Hooton was shocked at the results. Only 26 kids failed. That's less than 1 percent.

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The random Performance Enhancement Drug (PED) testing program recently announced by the vainglorious, self-absorbed, attention-seeking, political illusionist superintendent Alberto Carvalho did and does exactly what it sets out to do; get Carvalho more microphone and camera time. That's it...nothing more...nothing less. 

This program is as much of a cheat to tax-payers as the athletes that use these drugs are to their respective sports. Random testing, especially for these types of illicit drugs, is costly to conduct and a very slippery slope. Major organizations, ones with sole focal points that are athletics such as the National Football League, Major League Baseball, Olympic Committee and World Anti-Doping Agency have struggled with testing for PEDs. 

What would lead a reasonable person, or nine of them for that matter, assuming we believed the Miami Dade School Board were reasonable and not controlled by their alleged adulterous [remember the Herald reporter] superintendent, to think the school system could handle this fools errand? 

Miami Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) should stick to academic testing rather than piss away, not via urinalysis, funding for PEDs. This is nothing more than another cart of freshly made bullshit, on the "Carvalho Express" locomotive, that is careening full-speed through our community, once again with the start of a new school year. 

This guy hasn't found a line that he will not cross to promote himself and his political agenda. His entire superintendcy has become a telenovela, filled with fairytale stories and melodrama selfies, all scripted and snapped by Carvalho and his minions.

The use of PEDs in sports is a longstanding unfortunate problem that has altered the course of sports. It has left a permanent blemish on so many careers and continues to pose a risk to the health of athletes and the integrity of the game. This is without question. 

Now lets stop there. There is no place in society for a school board to be involved in random PED testing. Especially one that employs a leader who himself, according to media reports and water cooler talk at the district, was allegedly involved in a scandalous and cheating situation. 

In the case of Alberto, he who professes so much and so loudly and so often to morality and ethics, has a gaping void in that area himself. Cheating is cheating, isn't it? Injecting a syringe of testosterone in sports is cheating. Having the answers to an exam in class is cheating. Being married and allegedly having an affair with a Herald reporter covering the school system is cheating. 

Now, granted, who better to catch a cheater than an alleged cheater, may be the mindset or theory of the school board, but what's next? Is the school board going to do a government overreach, much like Congress has done, and subpoena student athletes and coaches, asking them questions and having them to testify before the school board about PEDs? This is slapdash and as inflated an idea for political attention as the biceps you get from using the PEDs. 

Each year, Carvalho parades out a zillion new initiatives and hogs up the media attention for days, promoting himself in his circle-jerk opening of schools. Many of these programs are akin to gobs of make-up and cheap perfume on a first date. One has to seriously question his shenanigans and constant attention seeking behavior as to a cross between testing political waters and narcissistic immaturity.

The latest announcement of MDCPS PED testing is just another fly around the bulls' ass. The program is wasteful and drips with hyperbole. It convolutes the truth and misleads and mesmerizes the public into thinking it has even a minimal chance of being remotely effective. In baseball jargon, a pitcher would have a better shot at leading the big leagues in home-runs than the school system's failed attempt at catching PED offenders. 

MDCPS PED random testing program, like the drugs it will claim to detect, is a cheat, announced and championed by an alleged cheater.  

Lissette Puerto
Lissette Puerto

What are schools doing to check on this??? Or do they want to keep it under wraps?

Albert Louis Albaladejo
Albert Louis Albaladejo

it's really not that hard to tell who's using steroids. "wow this 16 year old can bench press 500 lbs and is destroying his peers. maybe we should test him for steroids?" you don't need all that money for a urinalysis of suspected steroid users.

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