A total of 12 NBA players tested positive for marijuana during training camp last fall, The New York Times reported today.
More than 500 players and coaches were tested for marijuana and other drugs, and the 12 positive results came from a group of 430 players who made opening day rosters, said the report, which cited league sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"This marks a step forward for the NBA," said Rob Houseman, the deputy director of strategic planning for the White House Drug Control Policy Office. "It's a mixed bag. On one hand, it's probably accurate 12 out of 430 players did test positive. Part of that is, they knew when the tests were going to be given. Part of that also has to do with a tremendous deterrence effect. That shouldn't be discounted."
Marijuana, steroids, amphetamines and LSD were added to the league's drug agreement with the players' union during the last round of collective bargaining talks. Previously, players were only tested for cocaine and heroin.
Players were told months in advance when they would be tested.
Anyone testing positive must enter the league's after-care program. A second positive test for marijuana results in a fine of $15,000, and if a player tests positive a third time he can be suspended for five games.
Players cannot be dismissed from the league for marijuana use, but they can serve continuous five-game suspensions.
A single positive test for cocaine, heroin, amphetamines or LSD can result in banishment from the game. A player can request reinstatement two years after the date of his dismissal.
Stanley Roberts of the Philadelphia 76ers was expelled from the NBA earlier this season after testing positive for an amphetamine-based drug. He tried to join a team in Europe, but FIBA - the governing body for international basketball - decided to honor the NBA's suspension and also banned Roberts.
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