Adderall Use On The Rise In Major League Baseball

By McCarton Ackerman 12/04/13

Buried under the high-profile steroid cases involving Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun is the growing use of stimulants by pro baseball players.

Ruiz was 1 of 8 players who tested positive in 2013
Photo via Shutterstock

Adderall, an amphetamine used to to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, has now found its way into Major League Baseball. A drug report conducted between the MLB and MLB Players’ Association was recently released and confirmed that eight players tested positive for using performance enhancing substances. Seven of the positive tests were for Adderall and one was for Methylhexaneamine; all of the players, most notably Carlos Ruiz of the Philadelphia Phillies, faced disciplinary action afterwards. The findings came from 5,391 tests conducted from the 2012 off-season till the end of the 2013 post-season, which included 4,022 urine samples and 1,369 blood samples.

However, the positive tests reported don’t account for the huge number of players who have received “Adderall exemptions” due to medical treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder. The report implies that 10 percent of MLB players are treated for ADD with Adderall, which is approximately double the rate of the general population. Twenty-eight Adderall exemptions were granted in 2006, but skyrocketed to 103 in 2007 after amphetamines were banned and that number continues to rise. The report also stated that 13 “non-analytical” positives resulted in disciplinary action. None of these players failed a drug test, but the MLB dug up enough evidence related to their ties with Biogenesis performance-enhancing drugs that suspensions were handed down.

The MLB Players’ Association confirmed last January that players would now receive random in-season blood tests for human growth hormone and begin new tests to catch players using testosterone; players were previously only given drug tests during spring training and the off-season. During the 2012 season, All-Star Game MVP Melky Cabrera, Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon, and San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal all tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and were given 50-game suspensions.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.