A test for the potent opioid dermorphin is part of the post-race protocol in New York, and there have been no positives for the drug in the state, New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association President Rick Violette Jr. reported today.
Violette reiterated the NYTHA position on any practice that involves blatant disregard for the welfare of the horses.
“The 5,000-plus owners and trainers represented by NYTHA are in unanimous agreement,” he remarked. “Illegal medications have absolutely no place in our industry, and neither do the people who use them. They have no therapeutic value whatsoever, they are a danger to our horses and our jockeys, and anyone caught using them must be dealt with swiftly and harshly.”
According to Dr. George Maylin, director of the New York State Racing & Wagering Board's drug testing and research program at Morrisville State College, the test for dermorphin has been in place in New York for “several months.”
Dermorphin, which is 30 to 40 times more powerful than morphine, has been in the headlines recently, with positives detected in Louisiana and Oklahoma. Some Thoroughbreds have tested positive, but the majority have been Quarter Horses.
“Dermorphin has been on our radar screen,” Dr. Maylin said. “We'd heard in recent months that the drug was being used in the southwest, and we worked in conjunction with the New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania to develop the test.”
Violette applauded the efforts of Dr. Maylin and his staff at Morrisville.
“Thanks to Dr. Maylin and the people who work for him, the testing standards in New York are second to none,” he said, adding, “We need to concentrate our efforts, energy and finances on doing away with drugs like dermorphin and ridding our sport of the cheats who use them, rather than wasting valuable resources on the battle over Lasix. Getting rid of Lasix does nothing to address the issues faced by our industry. By focusing on the real problems such as illegal medications, we can have a positive impact on public perception, the integrity of our sport and, most important, the safety of our horses and riders.”
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