Leading British jockey Graham Gibbons is facing action after testing positive for cocaine. According to the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Gibbons’ urine showed benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, media reports said. If found guilty of acting in a manner “prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct and/or good reputation of horseracing,” he could be banned for three years. He is accused of attempting to swap his urine sample with that of another rider, Callum Shepherd, on Dec 7, 2016.
Gibbons, who was the leading jockey on the winter all-weather circuit at the time of the incident. He was among the 10 riders, selected randomly for sampling by a BHA testing team at Kempton’s evening meeting on Dec. 7. Gibbons has ridden over 1,000 winners in 17 seasons, including victories at Group Two and Group Three level. At the time of the Kempton incidence, he was well poised to register 100 wins in a calendar year for the first time.
It is not the first time that Gibbons has courted controversy for substance use. In 2007, Gibbons saw a 35-day suspension from riding, following a failed breath test. Four years later, he was handed a four-year ban from driving after he was found asleep in his car outside his Yorkshire home. A subsequent blood test found his blood alcohol content (BAC) level three times over the limit.
Gibbons is the 13th jockey in Britain to have tested positive for cocaine since 1994 when testing was introduced. Meanwhile, the case against Gibbons was deferred until Oct. 5, 2017, due to “unforeseen transportation issues,” as reported in a statement by BHA.
In a separate case, Dale Swift, a former jockey, was handed a 21-month ban. He also tested positive for cocaine. It was the second similar offense for Swift, who had earlier received a six-month ban for doping in 2015.
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that increases the levels of dopamine in the brain circuits controlling pleasure and movement. Cocaine may be taken by snorting through the nose, injecting into the blood, or smoking to produce vapors. While powdered cocaine is generally snorted or injected, crack cocaine is usually smoked.
An individual can overdose on cocaine, which may lead to death. However, cocaine addiction can be treated with timely medical intervention. Therefore, people should be aware of the importance of treatment to overcome addiction woes and lead a sober life. If you know somebody grappling with any type of addiction, help him or her seek immediate medical attention.
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