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Substance Abuse Policies for Student Athletes

NCJ Number
Ohio Police Chief Volume: 27 Issue: 1 Dated: (Winter 1989) Pages: 25,27
W A Stephens
Date Published
2 pages
The Tiffin, Ohio, Police Department and two high schools have worked together to establish guidelines governing the problems of student athletes involved in drug or alcohol abuse offenses.
Several years ago, both high schools had rules that basically expelled students from athletic activities if they were involved in drugs or alcohol. Recognizing that this was not always an effective approach, the police department and the schools consulted with experts in the fields of alcohol and drug counseling and psychology and drafted a plan of action for handling student athlete substance abuse problems. The result was a change to standardized rules and penalties, not only for student athletes, but also for all students who participate in extracurricular activities. If student athletes are involved in substance abuse incidents, they are not just kicked off the team. Instead, they are suspended from competition for 20 percent of the scheduled contests on a first offense. In addition, the school makes a counseling referral. If student athletes keep the counseling appointment and follow counselor recommendations, they will be reinstated on the team once they sit out the required 20 percent of the contests. If students refuse counseling, they are denied competition privileges. Counseling is offered free of charge when the schools make the referral. If student athletes commit a subsequent offense, they are suspended from competition for the remainder of the season. The new policy is viewed as a success, particularly because coaches are more willing to expose substance abuse problems since they know they are not going to lose an athlete for an entire season.


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