CESAR is pleased to announce the release of our CDEWS study of adult male parolees housed in residential pre-release programs operated by Keystone Correctional Services, Inc. (KCSI). Residents are assigned to one of two housing units, “Halfway Back” and “Group Home”, depending on the nature of their case. KCSI staff sent de-identified urine specimens that their private laboratories had tested for a limited number of drugs to the CDEWS collaborating laboratory for testing for over 240 drugs. CDEWS results are intended to provide a program with a snapshot of the types of drugs recently used by their tested population and an idea of what drugs their routine test panels might be missing. We obtained 99 specimens from the Halfway Back residents and 97 from the Group Home residents. All specimens were collected between February 2019 and August 2019.
The CDEWS laboratory’s results differed substantially from the results from the private laboratories that KCSI used. The CDEWS laboratory found many drugs in the specimens that KCSI’s private laboratories indicated had tested negative for all drugs. While most of the drugs detected by the CDEWS expanded testing were included on KCSI’s laboratory’s screen, the CDEWS laboratory found at least one drug in 62%-78% of the specimens determined to be negative by KCSI’s laboratories. When we focused on five common illicit drugs, we found that two or more of these drugs were detected in 56% of the KCSI’s laboratories’ drug negative residents of Halfway Back and 21% of drug negative residents of Group Home. Gabapentin, a prescription drug not included on KCSI’s test panels, was found in approximately one-third of the drug positive and negative specimens from the Halfway Back group and in 15% of drug negative specimens from the Group Home group. Synthetic cannabinoids (SC) were detected in no more than 6% of any group and only 2 metabolites (5F-PB-22 3-carboxyindole and PB-22 3-carboxyindole) were found. The enhanced detection of drugs found by CDEWS was likely caused by the fact that the CDEWS laboratory used much more sensitive urinalysis tests.
Halfway Back residents were much more likely to test positive for drugs than the Group Home residents. Halfway Back residents currently in drug treatment were more likely to test positive for certain drugs, mainly cocaine and morphine, than the residents who were not in treatment. Drugs were much less likely to be detected in Group Home residents, regardless of whether they were currently enrolled in drug treatment.
The information learned through this CDEWS study will be used by KCSI staff to help them better understand the needs of their residents and to improve drug treatment approaches to ensure long-term success for their program participants.