USAWA Drug Testing Program

by Al Myers

Over the past year, several changes  have been made  to our drug testing program.  I feel these changes have been VERY POSITIVE to insure that our organization may be called a drug-free weightlifting organization.  Last year at the Annual General Meeting of the USAWA we elected a Drug Enforcement Director.  Chad Ullom was  selected  for this role.  The Drug Enforcement Director is under the direction of the Executive Board, as outlined in the USAWA Bylaws.  He is the “man in charge” of insuring that drug testing is carried out at competitions and maintaining a vigilant testing program.  Last year we tested four USAWA events (the most events EVER tested in one year in the USAWA).  This year  more events will be tested than that.   Our Drug Testing Program was started in 2002.  Before that it was “hit and miss”.  At times meets were tested, but not with any consistency. No written policy was in affect.   The biggest obstacle in drug testing is expense.  For a small organization like ours, too much testing expense will break our bank account!  In 2009 we spent over $3000 in testing – and we tested ONLY TWO COMPETITIONS!  Last year we spent around $1000, which is our “budget” for this year.  A good Drug Testing Program has to be able to get “the most value for a dollar”.  I feel we are now going in the right direction with that.

I have always had problems with weightlifting organizations who tout themselves as “drug free” but never test at meets. How can you be a drug-free organization without testing?  YOU CAN’T!!!   You MUST sign a Drug Testing Consent and Waiver Form to be granted membership in the USAWA.  In the waiver it states, “I understand that selection for testing may be based on random selection, reasonable suspicion, or position of finish in an event.  I further understand that I may be selected for testing for no reason at all.”  This means you may selected “just cause we feel like it.”!  We WILL NOT pretend to be doing random testing if it’s not random!   I  have an issue with that concerning other organizations – proclaiming to be doing random testing but in reality lifters are selected for reasons other than random!   Seems hypocritical to me. I am pretty sure that I have been “the most tested man in the USAWA”  since 2002.  I don’t know of anyone else that has been tested as many times as myself.  I never mind being selected for testing because I know a good drug testing program insures that my competition is drug free as well. Most drug-free athletes feel the same way.

Several drug tests will be performed at the Dino Gym Challenge next weekend.  I just want everyone who is coming to know that in advance.  Now don’t think we will announce EVERY competition that we will test in advance – some will be surprises!  You just have to assume that every USAWA event might be tested.  We may even test at record days that have only a handful of competitors.  If you are selected for testing and then “dodge the test” the penalties may be as severe as a positive test.  The waiver also clearly states, “I understand that failure to appear for drug testing at the designated time will constitute withdrawal of my consent to be tested and will result in disqualification from the event and/or permanent suspension from the USAWA.”

We have a complete section in our Rule Book that outlines the USAWA Drug Testing Policy.

III. Drug Testing

1. The lifter must agree to and sign the Drug Testing Consent and Waiver Form in order to be granted membership in the USAWA.

2. The Drug Enforcement Director under the direction of the USAWA executive board will make the decisions on which competitions or events drug testing may take place, and when it may occur during the competition. The lifters may not be notified which competitions or events will be drug tested.

3. Drug testing may be done out of competition. The lifter will be notified no more than 48 hours prior to the test.

4. Drug testing will be only for elevated testosterone, anabolic agents, and anabolic enhancers. Diuretics and ephedrine are not tested for. A complete list of banned substances is available from the USAWA secretary.

5. An appeal may be made to the executive board by a lifter for an exception for a specific agent or agents. The appeal must be for medical reasons. The lifter must provide documentation supporting the appeal. This is done on an individual basis and must be done prior to a lifter being called for drug testing. The executive board’s decision will be decided by majority vote.

6. A positive test will result in a 6 month suspension from the USAWA for the first offense. All awards, records, and titles won will be forfeited if the positive test occurred in a competition.

7. A second offense for a positive test will result in a 2 year suspension from the USAWA.

8. A third offense for a positive test will result in a lifetime ban from the USAWA.

Truthfully, I hope that we don’t have any positive drug tests in the coming year.  That is the reason why I am making this very clear to everyone!  If you are in violation – please don’t enter any USAWA competition  because you will be caught.

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