To learn about our efforts to improve the accessibility and usability of our website, please visit our Accessibility Information page. Skip to main content

Prohibited Substances

Taking prohibited substances is never safe for a person of any age, particularly children and adolescents. The prohibited substances listed below can cause serious health issues and even death. Major League Baseball's Drug Prevention and Treatment Programs include helpful information to learn more about the dangers of taking prohibited substances. A copy of the current program can be downloaded here.

Drugs of Abuse

According to the National Institute on drug abuse, drugs are chemicals that affect brain function by interfering with the way the brain normally sends, receives and processes information. Drugs of abuse are illegal substances that have a high potential for abuse, physical addiction and/or psychological dependence. It is important that young athletes are aware of what drugs of abuse are and how use of these substances can negatively affect their social relations (family, friends), their legal status (fines, jail), and their physical and mental health (addiction, side effects, death).

The following is a non-exhaustive list of the drugs of abuse covered by MLB's drug programs:

  • Marijuana
  • Synthetic THC
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates (e.g., Oxycodone, Heroin, Codeine and Morphine)
  • Bath Salts (e.g., Mephedrone and MDPV)
  • MDMA ("Ecstasy")
  • GHB
  • LSD
  • Phencyclidine ("PCP")

*Consult MLB's drug programs for a complete list of drugs of abuse.

Performance Enhancing Substances

Performance enhancing substances ("PEDs") are substances used to gain an unfair competitive advantage in sports by increasing muscle mass, improving strength and decreasing recovery time. Many PEDs are illegal in the United States and all PEDs are banned in sports. Substances that are considered PEDs include anabolic steroids and agents, peptide hormones, growth factors, hormone and metabolic modulators, and diuretics and masking agents. The following PEDs and other substances with a similar structure or effect are prohibited under MLB's drug programs:

  • Testosterone
  • Human Growth Hormone (hGH)
  • Androstenedione
  • Anti-Estrogens including Clomiphene
  • Boldenone
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
  • Nandrolone
  • Stanozolol
  • Erythropoietin (EPO)
  • Growth Hormone Releasing Peptides (GHRP)
  • Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)
  • Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1)

*Consult MLB's drug programs for a complete list of performance enhancing substances.

For more information and resources please visit Partnership for Drug Free Kids.

PEDs can be taken orally, by injection or applied to the skin in a cream or gel. Regardless of the type, PEDs have the ability to drastically alter the human body and biological function. These drugs can be extremely dangerous, and in some cases, deadly. The negative health effects PEDs can have on one's body include, but are not limited to:

  • Cardiovascular problems (hypertension and increased risk of heart attack or stroke)
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Increased risk of musculoskeletal injuries
  • Stunted growth in adolescents
  • Shrinking of the testicles and infertility
  • Breast development (gynecomastia)
  • Increased risk of certain cancers (prostate and leukemia)
  • Acne and male pattern baldness
  • Increased aggressiveness
  • Withdrawal symptoms including depression, and in some cases, suicide

For more information and resources please visit The Taylor Hooton Foundation.


Stimulants are substances that increase alertness, focus and energy. These substances are also used to improve performance and their use can result in a player having an unfair competitive advantage. Some stimulants like caffeine are not banned under MLB's drug programs but many others are, including the following:

  • Amphetamine (Adderall)
  • Ephedrine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Methylhexaneamine (DMAA)
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
  • Modafinil
  • Phentermine

The use of stimulants also has its risks, and can cause serious physiological and psychological problems including:

  • Similar to drugs of abuse, addiction and dependence
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Increased risk of stroke, heart attack and cardiac arrhythmia
  • Dehydration
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Tremors
  • Withdrawal symptoms including fatigue and depression

For more information and resources please visit The Taylor Hooton Foundation.