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The Battle May Be Over, but War Has Just Begun

May 17, 1986

The Times article, "Ueberroth Says Baseball's Battle With Drugs Is Over," May 8, quotes the commissioner as saying: "Frankly, the battle is over."

That statement is naive and seriously flawed. Urine testing of minor league baseball players will not curtail drug abuse in baseball, or even have considerable effect. Recreational drug use is pervasive in our society and results in certain individuals becoming chemically dependent. This is especially true in occupations that involve acute periods of stress alternating with long periods of boredom. This is existent with professional athletes, but it is equally true in many other professions.

It is unrealistic to believe that the problem is essentially solved. New "designer drugs" defy detection by ordinary urine testing. Chemical dependency is not a drug problem, but a "living problem." The alcoholic or drug addict is trying to cope with life chemically.

Urine drug testing is a good beginning. Baseball should avail itself of expertise such as was used in the Olympic Games. Please, Mr. Commissioner, don't make irresponsible claims. This is a greater problem than you realize.

ROBERT P. FREMONT, M.D.

Addictive Disease Treatment Unit

Beverly Hills Medical Center

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