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Volume 26 No. 226
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MLB, Union Working On New Policy For Opioids Testing

MLB and the MLBPA are negotiating changes to their current drug policy that would "for the first time include random testing of all players for opioids," and the sides are hopeful of reaching an agreement "before the end of the year," according to Diamond & Radnofsky of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The issue has come to the forefront following the opioid-related death of Angels P Tyler Skaggs this summer. MLB currently tests for opioids and "other so-called 'drugs of abuse' only if it has 'reasonable cause' to do so." The union has "long rejected mandatory testing for 'drugs of abuse' out of privacy and due-process concerns." That opposition largely "has been fueled by suspicion on how the league would handle a positive test." Sources said that MLB is "open to an agreement in which it would test all players for opioids, but keep the 'reasonable cause' standard for other drugs such as marijuana." Mandatory testing is "divisive among opioids policy experts," though they all agree "on how baseball would handle a positive test." That includes "no suspensions, no loss of wages, no naming and shaming, and no other punishment for players willing to engage with treatment -- the exact opposite of the response for PEDs" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/27).