Drugs and Alcohol

Drug and alcohol misuse (abuse) can damage not only your physical and emotional health, but also your career prospects, family life and relationships. Your health and wellbeing are a vital part of achieving a successful career in racing, which can be jeopardised by even one occasion of drug or alcohol misuse.

How is Jockey Testing Conducted?

Jockeys are subject to drug and alcohol testing coordinated by the BHA. The Jockey testing strategy is primarily focussed on testing for any substance which is performance impairing (e.g. alcohol, cocaine, cannabis) in order to provide a safe environment for competition.

Riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol not only poses a serious risk to themselves, but also to other Jockeys in the race and their horses.

Testing on racedays takes place across the country and could be on any day. On breath testing days any Jockeys returning positive sample, above the threshold, will be stood down.

On urine testing days, Jockeys are chosen by random ballot or specific selection reasons and the urine is tested for substances listed under the rules as not permitted.

Jockeys may be subject to enhanced testing if they have been previously penalised by a Recognised Racing Authority or convicted by a criminal court for an offence relating to drugs.

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Drug or alcohol misuse also carries the serious risk of life-changing addiction. Possession of drugs can be subject to criminal prosecution. If you are worried about your alcohol or drug use, or have concerns about somebody else; it is important to seek help as soon as possible, the helplines listed below.

Participant contact and helplines

Racing Welfare

Information and support
t. 0800 6300 443


Confidential Reporting Line
t. 0800 0852 580

Professional Jockeys Association

Information and support
t. 0844 800 6873

BHA Medical Department

Information and support
t. 020 7152 0000

Talk to Frank

Info and support
t. 0300 123 6600

Know the Score

Info and support
t. 0800 587 5879


Evidence based drugs info

Global Drug Survey

World’s biggest drug survey

Mental Health Services


Mentor UK

Children and young people

Narcotics Anonymous

Recovery group
t. 0300 999 1212


Novel Psychoactive Substances


Drugs and the law
t. 020 7324 2989

  • Impaired coordination and judgement
  • Lack of awareness of the surroundings
  • Increased sense of well-being
  • Impaired ability to self-appraise
  • Tiredness: liability to sleep
  • Impaired reaction time
  • Impaired ability to multi-task
  • Reduced blood sugar levels resulting in hunger
  • Dilated peripheral blood vessels
  • Reduced body temperature
  • Increased urine flow
  • Reduced auditory threshold
  • Narrowed auditory range
  • Short term memory
  • Impaired vision
  • Willingness to take unnecessary risks
  • Inability to recognise danger

Alcohol and drugs have a vast number of effects on the body. These substances can also have specific effects when driving, which can be particularly potent. Alcohol and drugs always impair driving performance and this should be remembered when driving to/from the yard or racecourse.

  • Reduced ability to assess speed
  • Reduced ability to judge distance
  • Reduced ability to judge the width of gaps
  • Reduced ability to assess the braking distance
  • Reduced ability to ‘multitask’
  • Loss of concentration, even on a single task
  • Extended reaction time
  • Liability to sleep
  • Impaired self-judgement of driving capability and performance
  • Increased sense of well-being, failure to recognise danger, increased risk taking.


  • Keep calm
  • Get help
  • Call 999
  • Give as much information as possible including location, age, gender, what has happened and what they have taken
  • Stay with the casualty and reassure them
  • Be honest with medical staff and hand over any packets or paraphernalia
  • If unconscious put in the recovery position (or on their side)
  • If they stop breathing perform CPR (chest compressions)


  • Leave them alone
  • Inflict excessive pain to wake them
  • Give them stimulants or any other drug
  • Give them anything to eat or drink (apart from small sips of water)
  • Put them in a bath/shower
  • Walk them about
  • Attempt to restrain them