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Flanagan Visits N.Y. To Push Ephedra Bill

State might become 2nd to ban diet supplement

Jun 11, 2003 | Baltimore Sun Orioles vice president of baseball operations Mike Flanagan spoke on the dangers of ephedra yesterday in Albany, N.Y., where the New York State Senate is expected to act this week on legislation to ban over-the-counter sales of the dietary supplement linked to the death of Orioles pitching prospect Steve Bechler.

Illinois has already banned over-the-counter sales of ephedra, and New York State Senator Charles Fuschillo introduced a bill that would make New York the second state to take such measures.

When Bechler died Feb. 17 after suffering heatstroke the previous day at practice in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Flanagan was at the 23-year-old's bedside. Autopsy results later confirmed that Bechler had ephedra in his system.

"Steve Bechler's death heightened the awareness of the adverse effects of ephedra," Fuschillo said. "It was a tremendous effort on [Flanagan's] part to fly to New York. He was a critical part of the press conference, and his input will enable this legislation to pass."

Flanagan's wife, Alex, has been sending Fuschillo reams of literature on the dangers of ephedra. She was going to accompany Flanagan to yesterday's news conference but wasn't feeling well enough to make it.

"I knew it wasn't going to be pleasant because I knew it was going to bring it up again," Mike Flanagan said. "There were only three people on the planet who saw Steve at the end, and I was one of them. The others were Kiley [Bechler, wife] and Dr. [William] Goldiner. We saw what this drug does to a young kid."

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