07/16/2002 11:00PM

Drug panel reports progress

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A coalition seeking to reform medication rules in the United States met on Tuesday afternoon in Chicago and received progress reports from its task forces, officials who attended said on Wednesday.

"I think it's fair to say that progress has been made, but there are no final reports at this time," said Alan Foreman, chairman of the National Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, who attended the meeting.

It was the third meeting of the coalition, which was first organized at a meeting in December in Arizona. The coalition is composed of representatives from a large cross section of industry groups.

There are three task forces: one is examining priorities for research projects, another is exploring how to set up a national organization to administer drug testing, and the other is developing a "model rules" document.

Dr. Scot Waterman, the executive director of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's task force on drug testing and medication, said that the coalition has not yet set a timetable for the completion of the reports. The group has tentatively agreed to meet again at the end of September or beginning of October, Waterman said.

The most controversial project of the coalition is its attempt to establish model rules, which would unite every racing state under one administrative code. Currently, nearly all states have different rules to govern drug use and testing.

Foreman said the model-rules project was generating the most discussion, and that it might be another year before the group could arrive at a consensus.