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Miami-Dade District Will Test Student Athletes for Steroid Use

The school board in Miami-Dade County, Fla., has announced that the 345,000-student district would start a pilot drug-testing program in the coming school year to both deter and root out high school atheletes who use steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

Last week's decision came a day after a Florida man at the center of a Major League Baseball steroid scandal admitted that he had provided performance-enhancing drugs to high school athletes as young as 15, the Miami Herald reported.

School district officials said that no Miami-Dade high school athletes had been on the client list of Antonio Bosch, the founder of the Biogenesis clinic, who has been charged with providing illegal performance-enhancing drugs to major-league baseball players, including New York Yankees player Alex Rodriguez. Bosch signed a sworn statement that included an admission that he had provided the drugs to 18 high school athletes in Florida, the Herald reported.

Alberto Carvalho, the superintendent in Miami-Dade, urged the board to support the pilot testing in the district. The board approved spending $73,000 on the pilot in the 2014-15 school year. Drug testing is an expensive undertaking for school districts, with comprehensive tests of individual students running to as much as $100. Carvalho also said he would seek private money to support the effort.

As of July 1, a new bylaw approved earlier this year by the Florida High School Athletic Association took effect to help address the use of performance-enhancing drugs by young athletes. It added human growth hormone, steroids, performance-enhancing drugs and Schedule 3 narcotics to the list of substances that are banned for use by high school student-athletes. Students who use such substances would be suspended from competing.

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