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MLB, MLBPA make revisions to drug policy

New York, NY (Sports Network) - Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced Thursday that they have completed revisions to their Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The revisions include:

- Adding human-growth hormone blood testing during Spring Training, during the off-season, and for reasonable cause. The parties also agreed to study expanding HGH testing to the regular season.

- Increasing the number of random tests during the season and off-season.

- Modifying the Collection Procedures of the Program to clarify when collectors must deliver specimens to the courier, and how specimens should be stored prior to delivery to the courier.

- Modifying the appeals procedures of the program, including the circumstances under which procedural deviations will result in the invalidation of test results.

- Creating an Expert Panel of recognized ADD/ADHD experts to advise the Independent Program Administrator on Therapeutic Use Exemption applications for ADD/ADHD medications, and another expert panel of medical professionals to advise the IPA on TUE applications for other medications.

- Strengthening the protocols for addressing use by players of drugs of abuse.

- Permitting public announcement of the specific substance that resulted in a player's positive test result or discipline.

- Making players who are suspended for violating the program prior to the All-Star break (including during Spring Training and the preceding off- season) ineligible to be elected or selected for the All-Star Game.

- Establishing a protocol for evaluating and treating players who may suffer from an alcohol use problem or who have engaged in off-field violent conduct.

- Clarifying the rules for violations for use or possession of prohibited substances based on evidence other than positive test results ("non- analytical positives.")

- Increasing the penalties for criminal convictions for possession or use of drugs of abuse (including stimulants).

The revisions listed above reflect changes that were agreed upon during the recently completed collective bargaining negotiations, changes made as part of the parties' 2011 year-end review. The additional modifications came about as the result of Ryan Braun's overturned suspension this spring.

"These modifications to expand upon the comprehensive nature of our program are consistent with our efforts to ensure we are running the highest quality drug testing in professional sports," said Rob Manfred, MLB's Executive Vice President for Economics and League Affairs. "This agreement is a reflection of our commitment to monitoring our program and making upgrades in all possible areas in order to best serve our game."

The parties have added over 45 performance-enhancing substances and stimulants to the list of prohibited substances since the publication of the May 2008 program.

"These latest changes and revisions to the Joint Drug Agreement reflect the players' desire to have the strongest possible Drug Prevention and Treatment Program in professional team sports," said MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner. "Today's announcement reflects one of the greatest strengths of the program -- its ability to be improved through the collective bargaining process."

06/07 16:40:03 ET