Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Major League Baseball and the players' association reached a joint agreement to begin testing for opioids and cocaine starting in 2020 spring training, the league announced Thursday.
The league also announced that marijuana will be removed from its drugs of abuse list and will be treated the same as alcohol. In addition, suspensions stemming from marijuana use will be dropped from the minor league drug program.
Under the joint major league drug program, which started in late 2002, opioids are classified as a drug of abuse. Until now, the program previously was limited to testing for banned stimulants and performance-enhancing substances.
Discussions to add testing for opioids began after the overdose death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs in July. The 27-year-old, who was found dead in his hotel room before a series against the Texas Rangers, was discovered to have opioids, including fentanyl, in his system.
"A death of a major league player, it is a devastating event," Manfred said. "It was a motivating factor in the commissioner's office and the MLBPA and addressing in the context of our industry what really is a societal problem."
Under the changes, MLB will test individuals for opioids, fentanyl, cocaine and synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Players that test positive will be referred to the treatment board established under the joint agreement.