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MLB, MLBPA Announce 'Significant Updates' to Joint Drug Program

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 12, 2019

The Major League Baseball logo serves as the visitor's on deck circle before a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Indians Wednesday, April 24, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced Thursday several changes to the joint drug prevention and treatment program.

Per an official release from MLB Communications, the most notable changes include removing naturally derived marijuana, CBD and THC from the list of drugs of abuse and requiring collected samples be tested for various drugs of abuse including opioids, cocaine and synthetic THC:

MLB Communications @MLB_PR

Today, @MLB and the @MLB_PLAYERS jointly announced significant changes to the Drug of Abuse provisions of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. https://t.co/jIie1JDVAg

The change to include opioids as part of the testing comes in the wake of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs' death July 1 during a road trip in Texas.

Skaggs' autopsy results released in August revealed he had a combination of alcohol and opioids in his system when he died, per MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger.

Players who test positive for opioids will be given an initial evaluation by the joint treatment board, and a treatment plan will be established. Additional discipline may occur if players don't cooperate with their evaluation and treatment plans.

Under the previous drug agreement, marijuana was included among the list of banned substances for players tested in the minor leagues. MLB players weren't subject to marijuana testing, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.

Minor leaguers faced a suspension of 25 games for a first failed marijuana test, 50 games for a second violation and 100 for a third under the old program.

The changes to the drug agreement will go into effect when spring training begins in February.