RCI Addresses Designer Drugs

Published: July 21, 2011 12:39 pm EDT

On Wednesday, July 20, Racing Commissions International's Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee (DTSP) voted to specifically add Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and related analogues (bath salts), Dermorphin, as well as synthetic cannabinoids as Class 1 prohibited substances in horse racing and called for any violators to be

sanctioned with the highest recommended penalties contained in the RCI Model Rules.

Delaware Racing Commission member Duncan Patterson, the chair of the DTSP Committee, said “these substances have no place in racing and those using them will result in significant fines and suspensions. I encourage stewards and judges to not only considered the recommended penalties contained in the Model Rules, but to consider referrals to their commission for even tougher penalties as provided for in the model rules”.

Methylenedioxypyrovalerone and related analogues have recently been found in post-race tests conducted in several racing jurisdictions. These 'designer drug' substances are psychoactive with stimulant properties and have been marketed in North America as 'bath salts.'

Dermorphin is a hepta-peptide that is a natural opiate that is more potent than morphine, but less likely to produce addiction. Dermorphin has been prohibited in racing and the committee’s action yesterday will result in it being itemized in the RCI Uniform Classification for Foreign Substances schedule. Racing investigators have discovered vials of this substance and testing labs have been put on notice.

Synthetic cannabis is a psychoactive herbal and chemical product which mimics the effects of cannabis. It is best known by the brand names K2 and Spice.

The committee voted that use of any of these substances should warrant the most severe penalties currently recommended in the RCI Model Rules. Those penalties provide for a minimum one-year suspension, fine of $10,000, and exclusion of the horse from competition for at least three months and the ability of the stewards to refer the matter to the racing commission to consider more severe penalties.

RCI President Ed Martin noted that the RCI as well as the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium are working on increasing recommended sanctions for those with Class 1 and 2 substance violations. “The tougher the penalty, the greater the deterrent,” he said. “There is a growing belief that repeat offenses should trigger a review of the underlying racing license with an eye toward denial, revocation or the imposition of conditions that, if violated, would result in a loss of license.”

The committee also voted to make a specific notation in the classification document instructing stewards and judges that if they find a substance that is not specifically noted it should be treated as a Class 1 substance, warranting the most severe penalty, unless consultation with the RCI or RMTC advises otherwise pending formal inclusion on the list.

The RCI Board of Directors will take final action on the committee’s actions next Wednesday.


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