Major League Baseball announced on Thursday that it will begin testing players for opioids and cocaine, and will remove marijuana from the list of drug abuse.
The players association and MLB came into an agreement that only players who do not cooperate with their treatment plan will be disciplined for opioid abuse. Although opioids have been listed as a drug of abuse since 2002, but testing for the abuse was limited. However, after the unfortunate death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher, Tyler Skaggs, talks of testing for the drug came to the forefront. Skaggs died of overdose of painkillers and alcohol on July 1.
Marijuana will no longer be on the banned list of substances and will be treated in the same class as alcohol. With many states legalizing marijuana, this move makes sense.
In addition to opioids, MLB will also begin testing for Fentanyl, cocaine, and synthetic Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). If a player tests positive for any of these drugs, they will be referred to the treatment board that is established under the new agreement.
Both players and staff will be required to attend mandatory educational programs in 2020 and 2021. The programs will revolve around the dangers of opioids and practical approaches to marijuana use.