According to reports, a powerful new painkiller has been positively identified in post-race testing in Louisiana by respected laboratory director Dr. Steven Barker. The drug is dermorphin, an opioid that is produced naturally as a secretion by South American frogs but can also be produced synthetically.
Dr. Barker confirmed that 10 horses in Louisiana have tested positive over the past week, although the Louisiana State Racing Commission had not yet revealed the trainers or horses who had positive tests.
Dermorphin is believed to have 30 to 40 times more potency than morphine in similar concentrations.
The positives for dermorphin were first reported by NOLA.com, a New Orleans news site. According to the report, the horses that have tested positive include a mix of Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds, racing at Delta Downs, Evangeline Downs, and Louisiana Downs.
Dr. Barker told reporters that he implemented a new method to detect dermorphin in the past two weeks at his own lab at Louisiana State University after a lab in Colorado shared the method with him so that his lab could verify the findings in 15 split samples that had previously tested positive for the drug. Barker said that all of the split samples came from Oklahoma.
Click here to read a report on the Daily Racing Form website.