Irish Jockey Adrian McCarthy Tests 1,000 Times Over Cocaine Limit, Suspended for Six Months

McCarthy said he used the drug four or five times while drinking in a pub

Irish jockey Adrian McCarthy
Jockey Adrian McCarthy at Lingfield Park Racecourse.
Rebecca Naden/PA Images via Getty

An Irish jockey was suspended from racing for six months after testing 1,000 times above the cocaine limit allowed by the British Horseracing Authority, according to ESPN.

Adrian McCarthy, 42, was positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, and gave a reading of 150,300 nanograms per milliliter when his urine was tested at a race at Chelmsford in October of last year. The legal threshold for riding set by the British Horseracing Authority is 150 ng/ml.

During a hearing about the matter, McCarthy said he was “in a really bad place” last year during lockdown and that he had used the drug four or five times while drinking at a pub.

“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,” he told the hearing, according to the BBC. “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.”

McCarthy is one of five jockeys who tested positive for a banned substance in 2020.

“You’ve let down an awful lot of people and the sport. Cocaine taking in this context is pernicious to the sport,” British Horseracing Authority panel chairman James O’Mahony said during McCarthy’s hearing.

Since McCarthy has been suspended since October, he’ll be eligible to race again next month.

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