- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 6, 2006

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK — 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 testing more and increasing the number of banned substances, the New York Times reported today.

“We are in the process of re-evaluation, 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 a year for performance-enhancing drugs, and there are about 2,000 players in the league. Players are selected randomly for testing and can be tested during the off-season.

The NFL announced in June that it was adding amphetamines to the list of banned performance enhancers starting this season.

Amphetamines previously were listed as “substance-abuse drugs,” but now are in the same category as steroids and other enhancers that carry much stronger penalties. This season will serve as a transition year, in which a first positive test would bring a warning and put a player into the drug program.

In 2007, however, tests for amphetamines will be performed on a regular basis. A first positive test will result in a four-game suspension, the same penalty now levied for positive steroids tests.

In addition to the amphetamines change, the penalty for a second positive test for performance-enhancing drugs was increased from six to eight games. A third positive test still carries a one-year suspension.

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