Amphetamines Gone, So MLBers Turn To Ritalin?

After the crackdown on amphetamines, and the increasingly harsh consequences of being caught, MLBers are turning elsewhere to keep *sharp* for their long, hot summer.

ritalin baseball drugse

One trend that has surfaced, as reported by NEWSWEEK, is the increased use of Ritalin, Adderall, and other drugs normally used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

With the penalties for being caught with a banned substance climbing so high, coupled with the benefits of enhanced performance remaining so great, players are turning to ADD medication through a loophole called “therapeutic use exemptions.” From NEWSWEEK:

According to records MLB officials turned over to congressional investigators as part of George Mitchell’s probe into steroid use in baseball, the number of players getting “therapeutic use exemptions” from baseball’s amphetamines ban jumped in one year from 28 to 103—which means that, suddenly, 7.6 percent of the 1,354 players on major-league rosters had been diagnosed with ADD.

One possible reason for this increase: in 2005 baseball banned the use of “greenies,” amphetamines that help players remained focused and energetic…[In some clubhouses,] greenies were used to spike the coffee. Players are now seeking doctors’ prescriptions for ADD medications, usually Ritalin and Adderall, apparently to replace the now-illegal energy boosting drugs.

While MLB commissioner Bud Selig concedes that some players have a legitimate need, he did say the league would investigate the diagnoses. Oh, so now you’re a doctor, too, Bud? Good luck with that.

A diagnosis of ADD requires not only evaluating an adult’s behavior and mental state but also looking into the individual’s childhood and family background. ADD is a genetic condition that makes its first appearance early in life.

The symptoms of other conditions—bipolar disease, anxiety disorder, depression, developmental or learning differences—can make ADD diagnoses tricky and subjective. Complicating the issue is that sports can both strengthen and undermine a person’s mental well-being.

Look, they’re not going to catch everything. But now we have to root through a player’s medical history? His childhood? Just to see if he might be skirting the system?

Also on the rise is the speculation of collusion between MLB owners to not sign those players that were named in the Mitchell Report. Despite their best efforts, Barry Bonds, Jay Gibbons, and Nook Logan can’t get so much as a look from any team, according to ESPN.COM:

The agent for Bonds says that no team is interested in his client — not even for a minimum salary — and the circumstances for the lack of offers make him “suspicious.”

“I’ve talked to all the teams numerous times,” said Jeff Borris, Bonds’ agent. “There’s not a stone that I’ve left unturned.”

Weeks ago, the Major League Baseball Players Association began its own inquiry into the question of whether some members of the free-agent class of 2007-08 may have fallen victim to collusion. Major League Baseball has steadfastly maintained there has been no collusion against players.

I really hate all of this steroid business because it’s such a slippery slope. First they’ll be taking urine, then blood. What next, DNA? Where does it end? At what point do we stop this “the sanctity of the game” crap and realize that players that want to get a boost will do so?

The drug problem in baseball is quickly taking a backseat to the witch hunt problem in baseball. We don’t care when a guy tears a rotator cuff and can’t play anymore. Oh, but the side effects of steroids! Think of the children that might emulate these athletes! Please. Just climb back on your moral high horse and gallop into the sunset. And let me watch the game.