Amid all of the hub bub from last week’s Media Tour, it was announced that NASCAR was adding the drug policy to it’s rule book for each series. The 2009 season was the first for a hard and fast policy against substance abuse for NASCAR, and needless to say, it didn’t go so well. An actual written policy or list of banned substances was never really published, so the news that NASCAR is finally putting one out is certainly a step in the right direction.
Since we started this site in April 2008, we’ve written about drugs and testing no less then seven times (and that doesn’t count the majority of the Mayfield posts). You can see those old posts by browsing around this link. One of those posts I wrote in May of last year addressed this issue specifically. In it, I wrote:
As a NASCAR licensee and hard card holder, I’ve suddenly realized that my career could be in serious jeopardy because I don’t know what I can and can’t use. I’m not a doctor, and I’m not up on what is against the rules and what isn’t. I’m certainly not using any performance enhancers, and I don’t use recreational drugs, but this really scares me.
Now, that the official policy has been put out there, I feel a ton better about the testing program.
I’ve actually seen the full version of the policy and while I won’t recreate it here (not sure if it’s allowed) I will tell you that the text covers prohibited substances, medications, alcohol, supplements, testing, disciplinary action, and self-reporting among other things. The policy applies to drivers, crew members, and officials.
While I can’t pronounce most of the substances listed (see dehydryochlormethyltestosterone), it’s comforting to know that we at least have something we can refer to in the event we have a question about a substance or the testing procedure. NASCAR cannot claim to have an effective policy without having a list of banned substances and a published version of the policy for all to see.
Now that we’ve gotten a list though, I still think NASCAR should take more from the other sports leagues’ policies and implement things like a drug hotline. I’ve heard that the drivers can call the infamous Dr. David Black with questions about the policy, but there needs to be a liaison for the crew members as well. They need to give us every opportunity to make sure we are doing things right and not putting substances into our bodies that may cause us to test positive.
After a rough rookie campaign for the drug policy, we certainly have to give NASCAR credit for continuing to improve on it. The nature of substance abuse is constantly changing, and NASCAR needs to be diligent in making sure their policy changes with it. They now have a solid base to work from, but more improvements are still needed.