Steroids have made their way to the playing fields of New Jersey's high schools.

Sean Gallup, Getty Images
Sean Gallup, Getty Images

The state Senate has advanced a measure that would deter the use of performance enhancing drugs among the state's middle and high school students.

The bill requires the Department of Education and the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) to work jointly to develop and implement, by the following school year, a program of random steroid testing of student-athletes who qualify to compete in championship tournaments sanctioned by the association.

"What we're trying to do is help kids understand there are natural, healthy ways to make your body stronger that don't involve the use of illegal drugs" said Senator Steve Oroho (R-24), a co-sponsor of the legislation. The bill is sponsored by Senator Dick Codey (D-Essex).

Under the bill, any person who coaches a public school district or nonpublic school interscholastic sport, dance, or cheerleading team must incorporate into the team's training activities a gender-specific program designed to reduce the use of steroids and performance enhancing supplements, alcohol, and drugs, and to promote healthy nutrition and exercise.

"I coached high school football for a number of years and I know there is pressure to be faster and stronger, but we need to educate kids about the dangers of these performance enhancing drugs" said Oroho.

The bill also requires the NJSIAA to develop and implement a steroid and performance enhancing supplement prevention information program for all public and nonpublic middle school and high school coaches and athletic directors.

The program would establish procedures and protocols designed to: provide coaches and athletic directors with information on the dangers of steroids and performance enhancing supplements; identify the use of steroids and performance enhancing supplements in student athletes; and effectively incorporate healthy alternatives for strength building into coaches' training programs.

The NJSIAA would also provide anti-steroid and anti-performance enhancing supplement advertisements in any brochure, pamphlet, handout, program, book, or other type of material produced for sale or distribution at a tournament sanctioned by the association.

The bill establishes the third week in September as "Steroid Awareness Week" in New Jersey and requires school districts to observe this week by organizing activities to raise awareness of the hazards of using steroids and performance enhancing supplements.

The measure must be approved by the Assembly before heading to Governor Christie's desk.


More From New Jersey 101.5 FM