Last month, the US-based Major League Baseball organization (MLB), announced their updated drug testing policies and associated penalties. In a shocking move that has yet to be seen in other major sporting leagues in the US, the MLB has decided not to test its players for cannabis. Until now, the MLB actually did not test its players for recreational or mainstream pharmaceutical drugs, as all of their drug testing was focused on steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.
However, in light of the recent opiate epidemic, which is closely tied to prescription pain pills that many players use, the league has decided to start testing its players for hard drugs. Cannabis will not be on the new banned list of substances, and will be treated very similar to players enjoying a few alcoholic beverages when they are off the field.
The new drug policy was enacted shortly after the overdose death of the 27-year-old Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
Tony Clark, head of the player’s union, says that treatment plans will be available for players who test positive for hard drugs, and they will not face any further penalties if they complete the treatment plan.
“Players from our side of the equation recognize that there was an opportunity to take a leadership role here in this discussion. Players aren’t immune to issues that affect all of us, and so the situation this year only heightened that, brought it even closer to home,” Clark said, according to the Spokesman.
“It was a part of a larger conversation that was reflective of the attitudes changing in many parts of the country,” he added.
In addition to giving players more freedom in their personal lives, this new policy could also result in more players turning to cannabis instead of opiates for pain management.
IMAGE FEATURED1: Ievgen Onyshchenko
IMAGE FEATURED2: Pikrepo