Magazine article Corrections Forum

New Testing Solutions

Magazine article Corrections Forum

New Testing Solutions

Article excerpt

Drug and alcohol use among prison inmates is at epidemic proportions at many facilities, said to affect more than half of offenders under federal supervision. By requiring drug and alcohol screenings at all levels, providing successful drug treatment models, providing financial support for research and prevention, and projecting for future long-term commitment, the government provides effective treatment programs in order to rehabilitate offenders to become more productive members of society. Many of these testing services are being provided via inhouse labs or are sent to a larger testing facility.

Testing is a vital tool in the treatment and recovery of addicted incarcerated individuals. It allows facilities to identify users, ensure compliance, and deter drug use and come up with solutions. A high quality drug-testing program also enhances the integrity of any type of treatment program and is more likely to lead to success and rehabilitation when inmates leave the facility.

Immediate Results

"Urine remains the 'gold standard' in the corrections industry due to its reputation for longer windows of detection. Instant tests of any kind remain a staple as well, due to the need for immediate results," says Jackie Pirone, director marketing SAT and IR, OraSure Technologies, Bethlehem, Pa. "However, oral fluid drug testing is being requested more and agencies are adding it as an alternative to urine testing when there are collection issues such as gender and shy bladders. There has also been an increase in oral fluid testing due to a rise in concerns for officer safety during field visits."

She points out that drug testing in the corrections industry is trending towards personal laboratories where they run their own samples (urine or oral fluids) on small benchtop analyzers. "It is said to be more economical (in the long run) and speeds up the reporting of lab-based results. However, accuracy of results is a concern as the experience of the technician is in question and raises the issue of defensibility of test results."

Another trend Pirone is seeing involves the types of drugs being used. "K2/Spice continues to be on the rise as it can be undetected due to its ever changing compounds. Some agencies do not test for it because of the cost. However, K2/Spice testing is being requested more because of its popularity," she concludes.

Here's a sample of some of the most current alcohol and drug testing kits, equipment and lab services on the market:

Detection of Hydrocodone

Thermo Scientific's DRI Hydrocodone Assay has the requisite sensitivities to meet the newly proposed Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) guidelines (using a 300ng/mL cut-off). Hydrocodone is considered to be one of the most frequently prescribed and misused opiate drugs in the U.S. The DRI Hydrocodone Assay is a homogeneous enzyme immunoassay that has excellent cross-reactivity to the major metabolites hydromorphone and hydromorphone-glucuronide., 1.800.232.3342

Saliva Alcohol Test

Q.E.D. Saliva Alcohol Test is a CLIA-waived and DOT-approved, on-site, rapid, low-cost alternative to breath or blood testing. Q.E.D. is easy to administer and provides quantitative results comparable to a blood test. Q.E.D. is ideal for use in workplace, criminal justice, drug and alcohol treatment centers and clinical setting screening programs, among others., 1.800.869.3538

Fingernail Testing

Composed of keratin, like hair, fingernails are simple to collect and easy to ship and store. Nail keratin is four times thicker than hair keratin, more stable, and extremely difficult to adulterate, resulting in a longer window of detection, up to three months for alcohol, and up to 6 months for substances of abuse. Drug and alcohol biomarkers may show up in keratin specimens within hours of ingestion, depending on the dosage, with concentration levels maximizing 2 weeks after ingestion. …

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