A bill to discourage steroid use among student athletes received final legislative approval Monday, and now heads to Governor Chris Christie's desk. The measure would implement the recommendations of the 2005 report of the Governor's Task Force on Steroid Use and Prevention.

It would require a program of random steroid testing of student-athletes who qualify to compete in championship tournaments.

Richard Codey, sponsor of the measure in the Senate, said more than 200 students were randomly tested last year.

"There were five positives," he said. That's five too many."

The bill would also require all public school coaches and non-public interscholastic sports, dance and cheerleading coaches to develop a program designed to reduce the use of steroids, alcohol and other drugs.

The developed programs would have to be submitted to the school's Athletic Director.

Codey explained steroids bring about heart, liver and other problems later in life for New Jersey's youth.

"We've seen suicides by athletes attributed to steroids," Codey said.

In addition, the bill would require the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association to provide anti-steroid material for sale or distribution at any NJSIAA-sanctioned tournament.


Also, under the bill, the third week in September would be known as "Steroid Awareness Week" in New Jersey.

Codey expressed confidence Christie would sign the measure that addresses such a pressing issue for New Jersey's young population.

Codey continued, "We have to get them while they're young and prevent premature death."

Final legislative approval was received in the full Assembly on Monday by a vote of 74-2.

Video by Dino Flammia