The penalty for a positive test for Adderall and diuretics could be changing soon, as the NFL and NFL Players Association are discussing a proposal which would make a positive test a substance abuse violation and not a violation for performance-enhancing drugs, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today.
Players currently face a four-game suspension for their first positive test for Adderall or diuretics as both are classified as performance-enhancing drugs. The first positive test for a substance classified under the recreational drug policy results in counseling and treatment, not a suspension. Players could still be suspended for positive tests, but it would take multiple violations.
The change in policy would be part of the negotiations between the league and the NFLPA over human-growth hormone testing. Adolpho Birch, the NFL's senior vice president of labor policy and government affairs, said the NFL has given ground on several issues to facilitate an agreement for HGH testing. Birch said there could also be a distinction between positive tests during the offseason and during the regular season.
"It would provide for a different treatment depending on what we were able to understand about the use. A positive test in the offseason might be treated differently than a positive test during the season, because one suggests no competitive issue and one does."
The use of Adderall in the NFL has been a hot-button topic in recent years, with 14 players blaming PED suspensions on Adderall or Ritalin, according to the USA Today report. Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman is one of the most notable players to claim his positive test was the result of Adderall, although Sherman's suspension was overturned during the appeal process.
Some have debated how much of a on-field benefit Adderall and other similar substances have in the NFL. If the new policy is enacted, those substances would be treated like marijuana, amphetamines or other recreational drugs. Under that policy, a player is put into a treatment program after the first offense. The second violation leads to a four-game suspension with more severe punishment for additional violations.