Medication control: The efficacy and cost of drug testing

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The rate of illegal drug use in unregulated racing appears to run from 12 to 20% or more. When effective drug testing and sanctions are introduced, the rate of illegal drug use may be expected to drop to between 0.3 and 3.0 per thousand samples tested. For individual drugs, the rate of drug use will drop to zero if the sanctions against its use are sufficiently aversive. However, there appears to always be a tendency on the part of horsemen to “try the lab”, and a certain background incidence of illegal medication and its detection may be inevitable. It appears, therefore, that the positive call rates experienced in NorthAmerica are a function of both the efficacy of the testing process, and also of the severity of the penalties imposed. The cost of this testing varies from $3/sample in Montana to $75/sample in Washington State. Based on these figures, the cost to call a “positive” varies from about $2,000 in Montana to $188,000 in Washington State. While this may appear very expensive on a per positive basis, it in fact represents medication control in a much larger range of samples that wouldcontain illegal medications in the absence of effective testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-336
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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