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Speed Keeps MLB Players Speedy – The Rising Use of ADHD Drugs in Baseball.

posted 03:56 PM EST, Thu January 17, 2008

What started as an investigation into steroids and growth hormones has suddenly blossomed wider, as congressional hearings brought the use of amphetamines in the ballpark under closer scrutiny.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, had few answers for Rep. John Teirney, who asked how it was that the numbers of players claiming a therapeutic exemption to use ADHD drugs such as Ritalin or Adderal, had exploded from 28 in 2006, to 103 this last year.

These drugs, used therapeutically by children and adults with ADD, and ADHD help to calm and focus an otherwise scattered and excitable mind in a true patient, but when used for non-medical reasons, induce a response quite similar to traditional amphetamines, to which they are very closely related.

Tierney claims that the use of such drugs by Major League Baseball players is at a level of more than 8 times what would be normal in the adult population, and inquired as to "how baseball had allowed this to happen?"

Amphetamines have long been a ballpark standby, and their wide usage in past years got no more than lip service discipline by management eager to ignore the issue. With amphetamines added to the list of controlled substances tested for by the league in 2006, it looks as though savvy players have found a legal loophole to get the performance enhancing drugs they need, or want.

Commissioner Selig quickly passed responsibility to league doctor, Dr Bryan W. Smith or North Carolina, responsible for approving medical exemptions; saying that he trusted the doctor's judgment in medical matters.

Baseball players caught using amphetamines without a medical exemption face a 25 game suspension for a 2nd positive test.

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