01/29/2002 12:00AM

Drug reformers divvy up studies

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NEW YORK - Leaders of the effort to reform drug-testing and medication rules agreed Monday to develop uniform recommendations for therapeutic medications and study common contaminants like cocaine and caffeine.

Work to identify therapeutic medications will be done by a panel set up by the American Association of Equine Practitioners. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Racing Integrity and Drug Testing Task Force will research contaminants.

Jim Gallagher, the head of the NTRA task force, said on Tuesday that the AAEP committee was asked to identify the "absolutely necessary therapeutic medications" that are commonly administered to horses. The AAEP committee was also asked to issue recommended dosages and withdrawal times for the drugs, Gallagher said.

In addition to cocaine and caffeine, the NTRA task force will research scopolamine and morphine, two other common contaminants.

Participants have been asked to meet again in late February, Gallagher said.