The organizing committee of the 1980 Winter Olympics has budgeted more than $1.5 million for drug testing of the athletes who will be competing at Lake Placid.

Their counterparts for the 1980 Summer Games recently purchased $900,00 of sophisticated equipment from an American firm, Hewlett-Packard, to supplement that already installed in their drug-testing laboratories in Moscow.

But few people think that testing is a viable long-range solution to the massive problem of drug use in sports, because it is expensive, cumbersome and frequently a less-than effective deterrent.

"I'm sure that there's less doping in the Olympic sports at the time of the Olympic Games because of the testing that is done and the surveillance by the medical commission," said Dr. Dan Hanley of Bowdoin College, the U. S. medical represntative to the International Olympic Committee and an expert on drug testing.

"But testing is unrealistic for the vas majority of amateur cometition around the world. It's unrealistic from the point of view of dollars and cents, and from time and energy and manpower that's involved in setting up a testing program and running it correctly.

"You have to set up very strict protocol for the selection of athletes to be tested, the collection of the urine, the monitoring of the specimens and the notification of athletes afterwards. It takes a . . . lot of people and a . . . lot of time."

The tests for amphetamines and similar stimulants are relatively simple and inexpensive, but the testing for anabolic steroids - the strength building drugs most commonly used by Olympic athletes - is much more difficult and costly.

While Victor Rogozhin, the Soviet representative on the IOC Medical Commission and chairman of the Anti-Doping Committee for the Moscow Games, has promised much more speedy and comprehensive testing for steroids than was possible at Montreal in 1976, most athletes who take them know ways around detection.

Many men stop taking the drugs several weeks before testing, or switch for about three weeks from synthetic steroids to testosterone, which continues the anabolic (tissue-building) effects of the synthetic steroids but cannot be differentiated from the same chemical produced naturally in the male body. (Prolonged use is unusual because it is dangerous, and has androgenic effects. That is, it emphasizes the male secondary sex characteristics.)

Handfuls of athletes have been disqualified and suspended from time to time when detected for using steroids at competitions where they knew there was going to be testing, but these are few and far between.

Many people believe that the only way testing could be an effective deterrent to steroid use is if it were done randomly, throughout the year, and not just at competitions.

"In Sweden, England, Denmark, Norway and a few other countries, they've decided that their athletes are going to be 'clean', and it works," said Dr. Jay Silvester, a three-time Olympic medalist in the discus, now a professor at Brigham Young University.

"It's simple.If you're a high-level athlete, then you are subject to random testing any where and any time. All the authorities have to do is drop in out of the blue, unannounced, at training facilities and do blood and urine tests . . .

"It would be expensive, but some little nations have made it work. I know a Norwegian hammer thrower who was caught using steroids and disciplined. He was shaken down to his toes. He said that he was so ostracized by the people of his country that it was as big a public humiliation for his whole family as if he had been caught pushing heroin.

"But right now, the East Germans and Soviets on one side and the Americans on the other are just watching each other. The status quo prevails because no one wants to be the first to crack down."

Meanwhile doping and other drug abuses, including improper use of legitimate medication, continue, not only in amateur sport, but in professional leagues as well.

What can be done?

"I think the old shibboleth of education is probably the only salvation," said Hanley.

"I'm sure it will not work right away, but I think you have to start your education down in the grade-school level - in the third, fourth, fifth grades, up to about the eight or ninth grades. That's when the kids are willing to l isten, and they'll profit from the efforts put into educating them about the dangers of drugs.

"I think our efforts to educate them above that level are doomed to failure because they have so many people - coaches and other athletes - telling them that drugs do wonderful thing to improve performance, what and how much to take, all that sort of thing."

Dr. Irving Dardik, chairman of the Sports Medicine Committee of the U. S. Olympic Committee (USOC), formed a frug task force last year with a mandate to study, measure and propose solutions to the problems of drug abuse in sports.

It met for the first time last fall, and again in April - this time with representatives of the national governing bodies of most sports that fall under the USOC umbrella.

One of the first su jects discussed was the practicality and desirability of drug testing.

The consenus was that widespread testing at competitions bellow the national championship level is not feasible because it would cost much more than all the other aspects of organizing a meet combined, but that some testing is desirable simply as a statement of official disapproval of drug use.

Some dissenters felt that testing is ineffective, a pure waste of resources that could be useful if directed in other areas, and should be abandoned.

Most participants in the task force's discussions agreed with Hanley that educational programs are the only long-term solution, and that they must be integrated and largely directed toward young people, through schools and organized junior sports competition.

Dardik addressed a meeting of secondary school board of education heads in April, outlining the problems and proposing introduction of large-scale drug education programs in schools.

But Dardik thinks, and many others agree, that drug use in sports can only be curtailed if athletes learn that there are other methods to improve performance with much less risk.

"We have to give the athlete alternative methods, using our best scientific approaches," Dardik said. "It's a long-range situation, but if athletes have confidence in their training program, they won't feel they have to resort to drugs and they won't worry about what their competitors in other countries are taking.

"The thrust of our sports medicine program is to implement methods already developed, and develop new ones, to improve performance through better biomechanics, physiology, nutrition and psychology.We want to bring athletes to their maximum level without the necessity for any artificial means - drugs, electrical muscle stimulation, blood doping and the like.

"We've got so much to learn about strength, flexibility, cardiovascular conditioning, technique, neuromuscular coordination and the like, and these can all be applied to better training.

"It is my premise - and this is what I desperately want to get across to athletes through education - that someone who trains efficiently and takes all these factor into consideration is going to be a better all aroung performer than one who emphasizes any single area, such as drugs."

Perhaps most necessary, in order to get to the root of the drug problem in amateau sports, is a fundamental re-education of the athlete as to the purpose of it all.

"I love track because I thought it was a pure place, a clear-cut world, true competition. You know, line 'em up and shoot the gun. No excuses, no alibis," said University of Maryland track coach Frank Costello, who was a 7-foot high jumper.

"I felt about competition the way Patton probably did about war. It makes me a wreck, but deep down, I'm eating it up, feeding on it . . . But it's gotta be me doing it, not some drug. I've got to know where I am, I've go to be feeling it. It's not worth anything otherwise."

Olga Fikotova Connolly, Five-time Olympian and winner of the gold medal in the discus in 1956, is eloquent on this subject.

"The drug use in sports, particularly the use of steroids, is maybe part of the general pollution we see in society," she said.

"I go to the beach in Los Angeles, and none of the seashells is pure any longer. They are not white, or pink or rust, but they all have tar in them. I have a collection, and you can almost see the encroachment of tar into the seashells. It is absolutelly frightening.

"It is the same thing with the encroachment of steroids in track and field. It is part of the same general greed. People are exploiting nature, and pouring pollution into themselves, all in the name of bigger and better and more.

"What I question more than anything else is the benefit the athlete gets out of breaking a world record that is aided by altering the natural organism. We talk sports being a positive thing in society, but you cannot grow in your natuarl powers, energies, confidence, you cannot have the inner feeling of some achievement that is uniquely yours, if a superior performance has been done because of drugs, or if you have won under questionable circumstances.

"The ones who are failing athletes are the coaches, the officials, the adults who encourage this, 'victory at any price.' We wonder why our young prople are alienated, why they have no sense of self-worth, but some of the most beautiful means for enabling young people to realize their self-worth are being undermined by the adult world's quest for this shallow victory.

I see 16-, 17-, 18-year-olds taking drugs to improve their athletic performance, and I know it is detrimental not only physically, but for spiritual reasons. We are destroying what sports should be all about.

"But I am an optimistic person. I think that the Olympics and sports can be saved."

Education may work eventually, but these measures would help alleviate the rampant drug abuse in sports:

Stricter enforcement of existing regulations governing the monitoring of team drug orders and supplies, and greater penalties for improper maintenance of the drug armamentarium, as a means of reducing the misuse of legitimate medications.

Unannounced, random testing of athletes for drug use, in training as well as at competitions, by the national governing bodies of various sports and by the staff of professional leagues.

More stringent penalties for individuals found to be using improper drugs to enhance athletic performance, including longer suspensions, and heavier sanctions against trainers or physicians determined to have given athletes medications inappropriately.

Approval of research on athletes who admit, in confidence, that they are taking large doses of drugs so that the real clinial effects of them can be delineated.