New Synthetic Opioid Designer Drug Found by New York Lab: ARCI 11/9/15

Press Release

LEXINGTON, KY – The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) has put all racing regulatory agencies worldwide on notice of a finding by the New York Equine Drug Testing Program of the presence of AH-7921 in post-race samples taken from horses that recently ran at Belmont Park.

This is the first time AH-7921 has been detected by a racing regulatory lab. The drug is one of the Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) that continue to emerge onto the designer drug market. Research has shown that AH-7921 can be as potent as morphine, yet its core molecular structures do not resemble morphine or fentanyl which have been detected in the past by racing regulatory labs.

NPS drugs are believed to be compounded in order to avoid detection by human testing labs.

There is no legitimate reason for AH-7921 to be present in a horse. The New York State Gaming Commission summarily suspended Thoroughbred owner/trainer Roy Sedlacek as a result of the finding.

“Dr. George Maylin and his team should be commended for their persistent attention to emerging threats,” ARCI Chairman Mark Lamberth said, noting that Dr. Maylin has consistently warned of the threat posed by designer drugs and peptides. “This is excellent work on the part of Dr. Maylin and the New York lab,” he said.

Another racing regulatory lab, Industrial Laboratories, was the first to detect the hepta-peptide Dermorphin in a race horse. Dermorphin is a natural opioid that binds as an agonist with high potency and selectivity to mu Opioid receptors. AH-7921 is a selective u-opioid receptor agonist with some effect on the K-receptor as well. Its use can be highly toxic.

A copy of the New York State Gaming Commission ruling for Mr. Sedlacek can be found here: https://rulings.gaming.ny.gov/searchrulings.detail.php?ID=36462