Canada bans well-known opioid, methadone, for race horses

A well-known opioid used in addiction treatment has joined the likes of ketamine, fentanyl and tobacco in being illegal to give to race horses.

Methadone was classified as a potential “performance-altering drug” and made illegal to give to competing horses by regulations that were published yesterday. The blood pressure drug amlodipine and allergy drug ciclesonide were also banned.

The regulations state that because methadone is a potent painkiller it could be used to mask a horse’s pain, allowing it to race better even if its hurt. It also puts the horse at risk.

Bill O’Donnell, the president of the Central Ontario Standardbred Association, said he thinks the ban is inconsequential because of how unlikely it is that owners or trainers have been giving their horses methadone…