07/21/2011 1:47PM

RCI panel moves to classify three drugs as Class 1


A committee of the Association of Racing Commissioners International has approved a recommendation that would add three types of drugs to the highest class of prohibited medications, including an over-the-counter synthetic stimulant that has been reportedly detected in several racing jurisdictions.

The classification by the group’s Drug Testing Standards and Practices committee will impact three types of drugs – the synthetic stimulant, which is frequently marketed as “bath salts,” and its chemical analogues; dermorphin, a natural opiate; and synthetic cannibinoids, which are also available over-the-counter in some states. If approved by the RCI’s full board on Wednesday, all three categories will be added to the RCI’s list of Class 1 drugs, which call for a minimum one-year suspension on a first offense.

“Bath salts” have become increasingly popular over the past year as recreational human drugs, and they are frequently sold at smoke shops and convenience stores. The substances produce a psychoactive effect and are related to amphetamines.

In June, a horse trained by Gene Jacquot in Iowa tested positive for an active ingredient in bath salts. The ingredient, cathinone, is already on the RCI’s list of Class 1 prohibited drugs.

Dermorphin was already classified by the RCI as a prohibited substance, but the drug had not yet been assigned to a class. According to the organization, racing investigators have discovered vials of the drug at racetracks. Like “bath salts,” synthetic cannibinoids are also available at retail shops, under brand names such as “K2” and “Spice.” The drugs have also gained popularity over the past several years, but state regulators have recently begun to crack down on their use.