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SBD/28/Leagues Governing Bodies
EXAMINATION OF NBA'S DRUG POLICY CONTINUES IN BOSTON
Published April 28, 1995
In the wake of the Reggie Lewis controversy which engulfed the city of Boston and NBA circles last month, the NBA's drug policy is examined in a front-page piece in this morning's BOSTON GLOBE. Noting that only two of the over 300 players in the NBA have been in treatment, Daniel Golden writes, "This small proportion compared with some other pro sports and the American workforce in general may mean only that the NBA is virtually drug-free." Yet in the wake of the disputed Lewis story, "drug specialists and several NBA coaches and players suggest that the league's policy may be ineffective in uncovering drug use." Dr. Lloyd Bacchus, an Atlanta psychiatrist who took over the NBA's drug program last year, "expressed concern" about the number of players treated. Bacchus has brought on two former NBA players, both recovering addicts, to counsel players on whether to come forward. Two key parts of the policy get close examination: the need for "probable cause" (as established by an arbitrator) before a veteran can be tested; and the exclusion of the teams from testing and treatment. NBA Senior VP for Legal & Business Affairs Jeffrey Mishkin, who noted that the policy is being reexamined as part of talks with the NBPA: "We believe the drug policy is working. We believe it's had a tremendous deterrent effect. Are we ferreting out every last use of cocaine? Probably not. There are obvious reasons why not" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/28). STAY IN SCHOOL? In Washington, Tom Knott notes the "hypocrisy" of the NBA's "Stay in School" program while college sophomores and juniors are considering leaving school to enter the NBA draft (WASHINGTON TIMES, 4/28).