NCAA Drug Policy Needs an Overhaul!
There are few certainties when dealing with chemical misuse but one of them is that treatment works better than punishment. Part of the diagnostic criteria is that the individual is willing to use in spite of negative consequences (like punishment).
In Section 188.8.131.52.1 4 (yes, that’s what it says) the NCAA drug policy states that if a student athlete (a questionable label in and of itself) tests positive for a street drug a second time they will lose all remaining eligibility. So in other words, “we will threaten and punish you” two things that almost never work with chemical abuse. Additionally, what is done with these “bad” kids who would use street drugs? Not much, I surmise. What University can claim a mental health professional as a member of the staff? Not one across campus in an over extended counseling office but one integrated into the daily lives of young people? None that I know.
As an additional weirdness, only the rifle sports ban alcohol. That is good policy: “give a kid a gun; don’t let them get drunk”. What the NCAA is saying is: go ahead and use the most damaging drug, the one that financially supports us.
I agree that being drug free is a good idea for athletes; I think it’s a good idea for everyone, but why is a very dangerous psycho reactive drug (Etoh, demon alcohol) not banned with the rest of them? Additionally, why is there not a proactive plan to engage athletes before the damage is done? And why, oh why, is there not treatment for the young people who fall into a very easy trap?
The NCAA is a very important system to have sensible, realistic policy. At some point in their lives many young people aspire to be accomplished athletes so a system like the NCAA is an important communicator whether they realize it or not or feel they have a responsibility to the issue is another question.