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The annual report about baseball’s drug program is out

Nov 30, 2012, 5:00 PM EDT


From MLB’s media relations department to my inbox to your eyes:  MLB and the MLBPA released the annual public report from the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program’s Independent Program Administrator. It’s the thing that says how many positive drug tests there were, for what, etc.

The notable numbers, which cover the period starting when the 2011 World Series ended until the 2012 World Series ended:

  • The total number of drug tests: 5136. Of these, 3,955 were urine tests and 1,181 were blood tests;
  • There were eighteen positives that resulted in discipline. Seven were for PEDs, 11 were for stimulants;
  • There were 119 Therapeutic Use Exemptions granted. Of these, 116 were for ADD, two were for hypertension and one was for the always-popular hypergonadism.

I know a lot of people shuffle on and off of 40-man rosters, but figure at any given time you 1,200 men on those rosters. One hundred sixteen guys represents 9.6% of players being  allowed to take ADD drugs despite them otherwise being banned stimulants. For what it’s worth, the National Resource Center on ADHD and the Attention Deficit Disorder Association report that approximately 7% of children and 5% of adults have ADD or ADHD.

I have no idea whether athletic men in their 20s and 30s skew higher in this regard, and I make no assumptions about it one way or the other. Just offering that information.

  1. proudlycanadian - Nov 30, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    If my memory is correct, news about drug suspensions tended to come out on Fridays, so it is no surprise that this report came out on a Friday.

  2. raysfan1 - Nov 30, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    Thanks for including the population stats.

    Hypogonadism, of course, means that person gets to take testosterone legally.

    • sophiethegreatdane - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:49 PM

      It was listed as hyper- not hypo- Testosterone would only exacerbate the condition.

      • raysfan1 - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:10 AM

        You’re right, I read that wrong. Treating that would require estrogen compounds, which are on the banned list due to their using as steroid masking agents. Interesting.

  3. shanabartels - Nov 30, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    I never actually took a statistics class in school, so I don’t know for a fact whether the difference between 5% and 9.6% is statistically significant. I would guess it’s sort of negligible, but if it is considered statistically significant, it’s not that difficult to account for the discrepancy.

    A lot of people believe that kids in this country are diagnosed with ADD way too often these days (and implicitly that said kids should get off their lawns while they’re at it). Whether ADD is simply more prevalent in kids these days (like autism and life-threatening peanut allergies) or it’s just understood better than it was a generation ago and doctors recognize it better is almost irrelevant; it’s probably a combination of both factors. For the kids who really need medication in order to function (I was diagnosed in 5th grade [1996] and it changed my life), the medication is a godsend. I suppose there may be a component of kids who are misdiagnosed, but that is not usually the case.

    For adults, however, it is a very different picture. Adults in the United States are woefully underdiagnosed and undertreated for ADD. I have known a lot of people who had textbook cases of ADD and refused to seek treatment. It used to drive me nuts when my ex would stay at his office until 11pm because he apparently didn’t get a lot of work done during normal office hours but managed to focus better and increase his productivity after other people went home and the place was quiet. My aunt does the same thing. I would probably be like that too if not for the medication. I get it. But I value my quality of life and don’t want to stay at work until midnight. Imagine that.

    Maybe since baseball players have health insurance (must be nice!) and access to care, they are diagnosed and treated at a slightly higher rate than the average American who may or may not see a doctor on a regular basis (or may be irrational like the people I mentioned who could afford treatment but refuse it for reasons I will never understand). Just a hypothesis.

    Meanwhile, there is still a lot of stigma to having ADD. I usually don’t tell people I have it, because it is poorly understood and people have so many misconceptions. I don’t have a learning disability. I have well-above-average intelligence. I graduated from a highly prestigious private research university. I’m not stupid or lazy. I didn’t ask for extra time to take the SAT (I knew people who did) or any other special treatment in school, because I’m not dyslexic or anything seriously challenging like that and didn’t want to be treated differently from anyone else. I eagerly await the day when there isn’t this kind of stigma… oh, and I’d also really like to have health insurance.

    One more thing, as I almost forgot. If you are one of those people who does not have ADD and abuses the medication, please re-evaluate your life. There are shortages now because the DEA limits how much can be manufactured. So if you don’t actually need it and you are limiting the supply for people who really do need it, please stop being a horrible person.

    Ugh. I am the most overly verbose person ever. Sorry this was so long. And thanks for reading the whole thing, if anyone actually did.

    • Bryz - Dec 1, 2012 at 9:44 AM

      I never actually took a statistics class in school, so I don’t know for a fact whether the difference between 5% and 9.6% is statistically significant. I would guess it’s sort of negligible, but if it is considered statistically significant, it’s not that difficult to account for the discrepancy.

      Good point. Considering Craig’s 9.6% is coming from a sample size of just over 1000, I think we could argue that the difference between 9.6% of this sample versus 5% of the nation’s population is not statistically significant, even without having to do any math.

  4. scotttheskeptic - Nov 30, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    Still harbor a lot if ill-will towards Bonds, Clemens, etc… Yet loved the 93 Phillies. I think I am at the point for baseball, and society, that a regulated legalization is better than (the game, especially) living in the shadows.

  5. DJ MC - Nov 30, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    Five bucks says the guy with hypergonadism is Ryan Braun.

  6. danielcp0303 - Dec 1, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    After a quick glance, I thought those were chicken nuggets

    • stlouis1baseball - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      Hahaha! That makes two of us Daniel.

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