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June 23, 1989

Athlete Drug Testing Receiving More Attention Than Ever Before in History of Competition

JAMA. 1989;261(24):3510-3516. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420240014004

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ONE OUTCOME of the Olympic Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea, was that drug testing of athletes came under sharper scrutiny.

Drug testing has continued to be news in the months since the Games. The International Olympic Committee is taking a second look at some of its approved laboratories. William J. Bennett, PhD, the federal drug coordinator, is meeting with commissioners and player representatives of several professional sports.

And, although not related to athletic competition, the Pentagon is expected to begin a pilot program of testing some military personnel for anabolic steroids, making it the first federal government agency to do so (JAMA. 1989;261:2784-2785, 2788).

Are Results Reliable?  Questions about drug testing may be inevitable since the almost unvarying defense of every athlete with a positive drug test is that an error was made in the laboratory. The reliability of the drug-testing laboratories obviously is a major concern, not only for