Lasix, the drug that resulted in George Mira Jr. being declared ineligible for the Orange Bowl, is a diuretic, a prescription drug used to help rid the body of excess fluids.
Diuretics, commonly referred to as "water pills," are used to treat high blood pressure and water retention, among other ailments. They are among the drugs banned by the NCAA because they are commonly used to mask the presence of steroids. By mobilizing fluids, diuretics flush steroids out of the body rapidly.
Dave Cawood, assistant executive director of the NCAA, said athletes are tested for the presence of banned substances after bowl matchups have been set. Two urine samples are taken from each athlete and one of the samples is then tested at one of three NCAA-approved labs (at UCLA, Montreal and Indianapolis). If a sample tests positive, the second sample is then tested.
Lasix is one of 18 diuretics on the banned list, and diuretics are one of seven classes of drugs on the list. The other classes mainly involve central nervous system stimulants, psychomotor stimulants, steroids and street drugs.
Mira has admitted that he did not have a prescription for Lasix, but said he used it to relieve water retention. He told the Miami Herald he had eaten "a lot of spicy, salty Mexican food" on Dec. 10 and took the medication because "I could not sleep and felt very bloated."
The drug test was administered Dec. 11, according to a statement by Mira.