Senate President’s Plan Would Combine Comprehensive Education with Testing
TRENTON – By a vote of 36 to 0, the state Senate today approved a bill sponsored by Senate President Richard J. Codey that would give New Jersey one of the most comprehensive anti-steroid programs in the nation, combining testing, education, instructional training and advertising for students from elementary school on up through high school.
“When a kid grows up idolizing a professional athlete and then finds out that person broke this record or that one because he was using steroids his whole career, well what’s to stop that kid from wanting to use the drugs too?” said Sen. Codey (D-Essex). “We need to get to our kids early and show them that these drugs are not without consequences.”
The legislation – S752 – is aimed at codifying and expanding upon a number of directives and recommendations that emerged from the Governor’s Task Force on Steroid Use and Prevention established by Codey while he was Governor. Chiefly, the bill would make permanent the current random drug testing program for high school athletes who qualify to compete in championship tournaments, which has been in place since the 2006-2007 school year.
“Like I’ve said from day one, the public health threat posed by steroid use is not something that can be combated by any one parent, coach, or teacher. What we need is a full court press, starting early and targeting many aspects of a student’s life – in the classroom, on the field, in the hallways and at home. Through education, we hope to empower our students to rise above this threat and make the right choices,” said Sen. Codey.
Other major components of the bill include:
Public School coaches (and coaches of non-public schools that compete in interscholastic sports) must implement both male and female specific programs into their athletic program that are aimed at reducing the use of steroids, performance enhancing supplements, alcohol and drugs, as well as promoting healthy nutrition, body image and exercise.
The NJSIAA (NJ State Interscholastic Athletic Association) will implement an annual workshop for all public and non-public middle school and high school coaches on steroid and performance enhancing supplement prevention.
The NJSIAA will provide anti-steroid and anti-performance enhancing supplement advertisements in any brochure, pamphlet, handout, program, book, etc. offered for sale or distribution at athletic tournaments.
The Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse will prepare an instructional poster for display in gyms and locker rooms that warns of the potential health risks of steroids and the penalties for their use and possession.
Establishing a week in September as “Steroid Awareness Week” wherein schools would be required to hold school-wide assemblies and opportunities for discussion on the health hazards and legal consequences of using steroids and performance enhancing substances; and strategies and alternatives to prevent the use of steroids.
Require the Commissioner of Education to biannually issue a report that compiles and analyzes the results of surveys submitted by school districts from the New Jersey Student Health Survey and the data on steroid use that is collected annually by the Division of Addiction Services.
Requiring specific steroid education to be included in the Core Curriculum Content Standards.
“I’m pleased that the Senate recognizes the importance of following through with the recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force. This was an extremely important undertaking, one that put New Jersey ahead of the curve in terms of warding off a dangerous and growing trend. This bill will continue to keep us ahead of the curve,” added Sen. Codey.
The bill now awaits approval by the Assembly.
# # #