NFL discussing changing drug policy

Intensified testing program may include more substances.

nfl 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
nfl 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The NFL is talking with its players' union about beefing up its testing program for performance-enhancing drugs with the changes possibly taking effect this season, according to a newspaper report. The changes could include more testing and increasing the number of banned substances, The New York Times reported Wednesday. "We are in the process of reevaluation, trying to determine if more is better, if it's the right time to add substances, to add more tests," Harold Henderson, the league's executive vice president for labor relations, told the paper. "It might make sense to do some tweaking." The NFL does approximately 10,000 tests for performance-enhancing drugs a year and there are about 2,000 players in the league. Players are randomly selected for testing and can be tested during the off season. The NFL announced in June that it added amphetamines to the list of banned performance-enhancers starting this season. Amphetamines were previously listed as a "substance abuse drug," but are now in the same category as steroids and other enhancers that carry much stronger penalties. This season will serve as a transition year, where a first positive test would bring a warning and put a player into the drug program. But in 2007, amphetamines will be tested for on a regular basis. A first positive test will result in a four-game suspension - the same penalty now levied for positive steroids tests.