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DATE News (chronologically)
05/11/09
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Experts says NASCAR drug list should be public
A prominent authority on drug testing says the indefinite suspension of Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield further enhances his belief that the sport needs to provide a public list of banned substances to protect itself legally. Mayfield on Saturday became the first Sprint Cup driver suspended for violating the substance abuse policy. Sources close to the situation said Mayfield claims he took Claritin D, an over-the-counter allergy drug that contains pseudoephedrine, a substance banned by most sports. Mayfield said in a prepared statement that the positive test was the result of combining a prescribed and over-the-counter drug, a possibility the doctor who runs NASCAR's drug testing policy denied was plausible.

"A combination of an over-the-counter drug taken with a prescription drug could not cause the positive that we took action on," Dr. David Black of the Tennessee-based Aegis Labs said. But what concerns Dr. Charles Yesalis, a Penn State professor who has testified before Congress on performance-enhancing drugs and spent 25 years researching drug testing, is that drivers are not provided a list of banned substances. The NFL, NBA, MLB PGA Tour and NCAA each make available public lists in their drug testing policies.

"That alone to me is ludicrous," Yesalis said Monday. "That just kind of violates your sense of fair play. It never would fly in MLB or the NFL because they have a union. "The drivers don't have a union, but if somebody did that to me I'd go get myself a nasty lawyer. What if somebody in management or ownership doesn't like you? They can use that as a weapon against you."

Black said the lack of a list makes the program stronger because it gives the governing body more flexibility. Yesalis doesn't disagree that the findings of the test are legitimate. He, too, never has come across a positive test caused by the use of Claritin D, although "if somebody doubled or tripled the dose I wouldn't want to be next to them at 190 miles per hour going into the first turn at Darlington."

But for legal reasons he believes NASCAR needs to be more up front with what they are looking for. Because his is not considered an appealable offense, legal action could be Mayfield's only recourse if he chooses to fight the suspension. Sources close to the situation said that hasn't been determined yet. ESPN
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