Rosita-2: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • The Rosita-2 project was carried out in 2003-2005 in order to evaluate the usability and analytical reliability of the onsite oral fluid (saliva) drug testing devices.
  • The study was carried out by National Institute for Criminalistics and Criminology in Brussels, Belgium, the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, Finland, the Institute for Legal Medicine in Strasbourg, France, the Institute for Legal Medicine in Homburg/Saar, Germany, the Division of Forensic Toxicology and Drug Abuse, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway and Institute of Legal Medicine, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. It was coordinated by Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
  • The study was performed in cooperation with the Unites States, where it is funded by The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), US Department of Transportation and the Office of National Drug Control Policy Executive Office of the President. The US part is coordinated by The Walsh Group (Bethesda, Maryland). The study is carried out in the following states: Florida (Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Manatee County Sheriff's Office), Washington (Washington State Police, Washington State Toxicology Lab), Utah (Salt Lake City Police Department, Center for Human Toxicology) and Wisconsin (12 Police Jurisdictions, Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene).
  • In the US, the study continues until the end of 2006. The complete results for the European part and the partial results of the US parts are presented here.
  • 2046 Subjects were included in the study and 2605 device evaluations were performed.
  • Nine devices were evaluated: American Biomedica Oralstat, Branan Medical Oratect, Cozart Bioscience RapiScan (only in the USA), Dräger/Orasure DrugTest/Uplink, Lifepoint Impact, Securetec Drugwipe, Sun Biomedical Oraline, Ultimed Salivascreen and Varian OraLab.
  • The devices had tests for the following drugs: amphetamines, methamphetamine, cannabis, cocaine and opiates. Three devices also had a test for benzodiazepines.
  • During the study, two devices were withdrawn form the market: Dräger/Orasure DrugTest/Uplink and Lifepoint Impact.
  • Subjects for whom a suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs existed were asked to participate in the study on a voluntary basis. In most cases the following samples were taken: a blood sample and an oral fluid sample with the Intercept™ sampler for analysis in the lab with reference techniques (gas or liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry, sometimes after screening with an immunoassay), and one (or two) oral fluid sample for analysis with the onsite device.
  • For some devices, a very high percentage of failures was observed. Depending on the type of device, this was apparently due to too little or too viscous saliva (the fluid didn't migrate until the control line, or it caused smears), or to a malfunctioning of the instrument that read the results. For six devices (Varian Oralab, Lifepoint Impact, Branan Oratect 2nd generation, Sun Oraline, Ultimed Salivascreen and Branan Oratect 1st generation), more than 25% of the devices failed to run. For the other devices, the number of failures was less than 10 % (American Biomedica Oralstat and Dräger DrugTest/Orasure Uplink) or less than 5% (Cozart Rapiscan and Securetec Drugwipe). The evaluators considered that a failure rate of maximum 5-10% was acceptable.
  • The number of evaluations per device varied widely, with two devices evaluated more than 500 times, one 190 times and 6 less than 50 times. The explanation lies in the large number of failures for Branan Medical Oratect, Ultimed Salivascreen and Varian OraLab, which led to their exclusion from the study and the late start of the evaluation of the American Biomedica Oralstat, Lifepoint Impact and Sun Biomedical Oraline.
  • The percentages of positive samples were: amphetamines (including methamphetamine, ecstasy and analogues) 20 %, benzodiazepines 32 %, cannabinoids 36%, cocaine 19% and opiates 8%.
  • The analytical evaluation of the amphetamine and methamphetamine tests (in comparison to the reference method in oral fluid) showed a sensitivity (percentage of the true positive samples that tested positive with the onsite assay) varying between 40% and 83% and a specificity (percentage of the negative samples that tested negative with the onsite assay) between 80% and 100%.
  • The analytical evaluation of the benzodiazepine tests (in comparison to the reference method in oral fluid) showed a sensitivity varying between 33% and 69% and a specificity between 85% and 94%.
  • The analytical evaluation of the cannabis tests (in comparison to the reference method in oral fluid) showed a sensitivity varying between 0% and 74% and a specificity between 70% and 100%. Detailed analysis of the data for cannabis showed that some devices (e.g. Drugwipe) gave a negative result even when very high concentrations of THC were found with the Intercept. The reason is unknown, but one hypothesis is that with an improved (more thorough) sampling technique more THC could be captured, resulting in more positive results.
  • The analytical evaluation of the cocaine tests (in comparison to the reference method in oral fluid) showed a sensitivity varying between 0% and 97% and a specificity between 91% and 100%.
  • The analytical evaluation of the opiate tests (in comparison to the reference method in oral fluid) showed a sensitivity varying between 51% and 100% and a specificity between 86% and 100%.
  • No device met the criteria proposed during the Rosita-1 project (sensitivity and specificity > 90%, accuracy > 95%) for the amphetamines, benzodiazepines and cannabis. The Varian Oralab met these criteria for cocaine and opiates, but it gave 26% failures, so it cannot be recommended.
  • The operational evaluation of the Drugwipe showed that the sampling technique was well accepted by the police and the subjects, but the results, particularly for cannabis, were difficult to read. There were also problems when using it in cold weather.
  • The operational evaluation of the Dräger DrugTest/Orasure Uplink showed that sample collection was easy and hygienic, but that the procedure was long and complicated. The test must be read by an instrument, so it cannot be used in remote areas or when no instrument is available.
  • The operational evaluation of the American Biomedica Oralstat showed that the collection stick lost one of its collection sponges in some cases. This test could also be read with or without the reading unit, but the scanning of the test strip by the electronic reader was sometimes difficult.
  • The operational evaluation of the Branan Medical Oratect showed that the test was liked by the police officers, because it is very small and portable and no additional equipment is needed, but the sample collection was too complicated, it could be outsmarted by the tested persons and it took too much time. The number of failures was too high.
  • The operating procedure of the RapiScan was fairly direct, but was found to intimidate officers if they were not able to use it soon after training. Many officers were uncomfortable using the instrument, stating that it was difficult to remember the procedure.
  • The operational evaluation of the Lifepoint Impact showed that in many cases the collected sample volume was not sufficient because the instrument stopped the sampling automatically after a preset time.
  • The test procedure of the Sun Biomedical Oraline was simple with few steps but a rather large sample volume was needed and it took too much time. There were problems to use it in cold and rainy weather. The lines indicating positive or negative results were too pale.
  • The operational evaluation of the Ultimed Salivascreen showed that the device gave more invalid than valid tests. Officers reported smearing of the result bands or not enough saliva collected by the device to give a reading.
  • The operational evaluation of the Varian OraLab showed that subjects were often unable to provide sufficient oral fluid during specimen collection, resulting in many invalid tests. Officers also experienced difficulty observing the presence or absence of the test lines making interpretation of results inconsistent.
  • At the end of the study, no device was considered to be reliable enough in order to be recommended for roadside screening of drivers. However, the experience in the state of Victoria in Australia shows that random roadside oral fluid testing of drivers for methamphetamine and cannabis (using the Securetec Drugwipe followed by the Cozart Rapiscan and chromatographic analysis in the lab) has a deterrent effect. Government officials should carefully weigh the pros (deterrent effect) and the cons (risk that drivers will realise that they often test negative after having used drugs due to the limited sensitivity of the test) of introducing random drug testing with the currently available devices.


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