Jockey Suspended After Testing 1,000 Times Over The Cocaine Limit

A jockey has been suspended from horse racing after he tested 1,000 times over the legal limit for cocaine. Adrian McCarthy is said to have taken the drug on multiple occasions in the days before the infamous races at Chelmsford in 2020, leading to the 42-year-old having his license withdrawn for six months by an independent disciplinary panel, BBC News reports.

  1. McCarthy claims depression was behind his decision to take cocaine. There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has taken a major toll on people’s mental health, especially during government lockdowns when we’re largely confined to the house. McCarthy said that lockdown-induced depression was what led him to take cocaine four or five times during the period in question.
  2. This wasn’t just a small violation. The test in October 2020 showed that McCarthy’s blood contained 150,300 nanograms per millilitre, when the threshold for riding is 150 ng/ml. That means he was nearly 1,000 times the legal limit. Panel chairman James O’Mahony said that the use of cocaine in jockeys is “pernicious” for the sport.
  3. McCarthy has since sought counseling and changed his life. He admitted that he was “in a really bad place” last year and even tried to take his own life, but since seeking therapy, he’s doing a lot better and looking forward to moving on from his mistakes. “I just got into a bit of a rut. Drinking all the time, using drugs, cocaine, and trying to make things better. Obviously it doesn’t make things better,” McCarthy said at the hearing. “I’m in a lot better place now than I was before, I just want to get my head down and do what’s right. We all make mistakes. I made a mistake, I regret it. I just have to look forward and work hard.”
  4. He’ll be able to compete again from next month. McCarthy’s license was suspended from October 2020, meaning that he’ll be eligible to begin competing again from April 2021. “On 16 November I made a mistake that broke me for a very long time. It has only been over the past few months that this help has changed me for the better,” he said. “I want to take this moment to apologize to the BHA for breaking the rules and regulations of racing. I can assure you that this will never happen again.”
Jennifer has been the managing editor of Bolde since its launch in 2014. Before that, she was the founding editor of HelloGiggles and also worked as an entertainment writer for Bustle and Digital Spy. Her work has been published in Bon Appetit, Decider, Vanity Fair, The New York TImes, and many more.
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