National HBPA to Address Drug Trace Levels

The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association medication committee hopes to establish what it calls "proper regulatory thresholds" for trace levels of the urinary metabolites of cocaine and morphine.

The push stems from a situation in Indiana in which positive tests for benzoylecgonine, a byproduct of cocaine, measured between five and 25 nanograms per milliliter of blood or urine. Indiana has a zero-tolerance policy for cocaine; the positives brought with them forfeiture of purse money and $500 fines for each trainer.

The positives, because of their levels, were believed to be the result of environmental contamination.

Kent Stirling, executive director of the Florida HBPA and chairman of the National HBPA medication committee, said the Indiana findings were "substantially below all known regulatory levels for this substance in either horse urine or human urine." He said the levels "are addressed by a vast majority of racing states," and that the National HBPA would push for uniformity.

The medication committee will meet Jan. 22 in Tampa, Fla., as part of the National HBPA winter convention.

Dr. Tom Tobin of University of Kentucky, Dr. Cindy Cole of the University of Florida, Dr. Steve Barker of Louisiana State University, and Dr. Scot Waterman of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium will participate in a discussion that will mainly address cocaine and its metabolites. The meeting will include an update on the consortium's efforts on uniform medication.