Saturday, October 24, 2015

What Is SCRAM?

In recent years Judges and prosecutors in DUI cases have been imposing a SCRAM condition for many second and third time offenders.  The SCRAM System is a passive, non-invasive tool that reliably and continuously monitors and measures alcohol consumption 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for an extended period. It is based on transdermal alcohol detection and measures alcohol excreted through the skin in the form of constant, unnoticeable perspiration.

SCRAM Bracelet or Anklet. This tamper- and water-resistant bracelet or anklet contains an analog and a digital component that are attached to the offender using a durable strap (a custom engineered polypropylene blend). The strap houses electronic circuitry that allows the analog and digital sides to communicate.

Some people have reported problems with the product and therefore there are some instances where the device may give false results. The reliance of transdermal alcohol testing on an electrochemical sensor ensures that false positive readings due to organic hydrocarbon solvents or contaminants do not occur. Moreover, because it measures alcohol through the skin, this technology will not produce false positive readings due to the presence of mouth alcohol.  For example, Some foods (e.g., chocolate donuts, certain types of breads) can produce endogenous (internally produced) alcohol. This alcohol is unlikely to be produced in sufficient quantities to result in a positive reading on a transdermal alcohol measuring device. For example, an article published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology reported that an individual would be required to consume 3 lbs of bread to reach a BAC equivalent to that of a single 12 oz beer with 4% alcohol. As such, “the likelihood of anyone testing positive for alcohol from cooked bread consumption, let alone becoming intoxicated, is therefore remote” (Logan and Distefano 1998, p. 183). Similarly, certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, can also result in the internal production of alcohol. Individuals with diabetes are prone to vascular diseases in the extremities and are potentially at greater risk of discomfort and potential adverse side effects as a result of wearing the SCRAM bracelet. At this time, it is recommended that individuals with diabetes not use SCRAM.