"Druid Got it Right" says Drug Recognition Expert (DRE)
By all accounts, the 12th consecutive Impairment Education and Cannabis Workshop conducted by the Chesapeake Region Safety Council (CRSC) was a big success. The main goal of the workshop is to educate highway and workplace safety professionals, as well as law enforcement officers on recognizing impairment, specifically Cannabis. The day’s training for both groups ends in a “green lab” where Maryland Medical Cannabis cardholders are asked to use their marijuana to the point of impairment, literally. Keeping up with the ever-changing permutations of drugs and cannabis is an ongoing challenge for law enforcement and safety professionals.
The Druid impairment test was a new addition to the traditional workshop which includes a thorough assessment of the cannabis users by the newly trained officers, which were supervised by the Drug Recognition Experts (DREs). The DRE expert at Baltimore County Police Department facilitated the final session (see photo below). “Let’s see what Druid had to say”, he stated in reference to the additional Druid results data for the analysis. In each of the six cases where volunteers had dosed themselves with marijuana, and in two cases a combination of marijuana and alcohol, the Druid impairment test result correlated with the law enforcement’s conclusion on the impairment level. “Druid got it right”, he summarized.
What does a workshop look like?
The event required detailed and careful planning. Debbie Jennings, the event organizer and Director of Traffic Services and Special Projects at CRSC, began months before by recruiting subjects to participate in the green lab. She selected six medical marijuana cardholders for their in-depth experience with cannabis and arranged transport to and from the workshop.
In the morning, several training topics were covered in sessions attended by 13 law enforcement students, 10 supervising DRE’s, and 25 safety professionals. One session provided detailed information on the seven drug categories and how to recognize signs of use and the difference between that and impairment.
The Green Lab portion
The cannabis consumption portion of the workshop began with assessments of cognitive and motor responses by DREs before the patients dosed themselves. This included an orientation to the Druid testing app with getting a baseline score. The baseline score was later used to determine if users were impaired and by what degree.
As each patient dosed themselves in the designated lab area, open conversations occurred between the cannabis users and the safety professionals in the room, including why they chose to use marijuana and how it improved their lives. After the cannabis users reached their desired level of impairment the safety managers observed a meticulous 12-part “Drug Influence Evaluation”, conducted by DREs and newly trained law enforcement officers. This included the Romberg Balance, Walk and Turn, Finger to Nose, and Time Estimation tasks.
Plus, each subject took an additional Druid test to compare against their baseline, any scores 5 points above their Druid baseline indicated subjects were impaired.
Assessment and Conclusion
At the end of the day, all attendees gathered for a final assessment and comparison of scores. There were three methods for recognizing and measuring impairment. First, as with the DRE tools they were trained with. Second, the subjects themselves answered a survey and gave commentary on their state of mind and fitness to work or drive. Third, the Druid Score was reported against the subject’s baseline. All of the data was tabulated on a large white board with discussion on the efficacy of the various methods.
In all cases, Druid’s conclusions mirrored that of the law enforcement findings and the subject’s own assessment. Notably, one subject stated he did not believe he was impaired enough to restrict driving or working. The officers agreed. After the workshop, patients were transported home for the evening. Persons interested in participating in future programs can contact Debbie@chesapeakesc.org