DALLAS The nation's largest steroids testing program caught only two Texas high school athletes taking unauthorized substances out of more than 10,000 students who were tested, according to results issued by the state Wednesday.
The results renewed criticism about the two-year $6 million program approved by lawmakers last year.
The two students weren't identified by name, school or sport. Documents obtained by The Associated Press showed that a senior tested positive for the anabolic steroid boldenone, and a 10th grader was found using a steroid called methylandrostandiol.
Four tests came back unresolved and three students refused to be tested, according to the figures released by the University Interscholastic League. One athlete left a testing area without cause or approval, and 18 missed the mandatory testing without an excused absence.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, one of the key figures in pushing the plan through the Legislature, was "encouraged" by the results Wednesday and feels the program's success should be measured by the number of students who never begin using steroids, said spokesman Mike Wintemute.
A critic, Republican state Sen. Dan Patrick, said the initiative is a "feel good" program that is not acting as a deterrent and should be abolished.
"It's turned out to be a colossal waste of taxpayer money," said Patrick. He said he would rather spend the money battling alcohol abuse among teens, arguing that it is a much bigger problem.
UIL spokeswoman Kim Rogers said the two students who tested positive are multi-sport athletes, but that the sports they play are unknown. Rogers said she did not know when conclusive results from the four unresolved tests would be ready.
Testing was conducted at 195 schools, involving 6,455 boys and 3,662 girls. More than 3,300 football players were tested, more than three times the number of any other sport.
Testing started in February after the program was stalled while guidelines were created and a company was chosen to implement the program. The contract was awarded to the National Center for Drug Free Sport, which also handles testing for the NCAA.
In submitting its results to the UIL, the company wrote that "we must steer clear of the temptation to use the number of positive cases generated by this short period of testing to draw any conclusions about the success, or lack thereof, of this testing initiative."Random testing resumes in the fall, and state officials say 40,000 to 50,000 student athletes will be screened during the school year.
Associated Press writer Kelley Shannon in Austin contributed to this report.