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Alcohol Monitoring Device

Definition - What does Alcohol Monitoring Device mean?

Alcohol monitoring devices are used to keep data about a person's alcohol consumption. The monitoring device is worn on the person’s ankle and is very similar in shape to a house arrest monitor, however the monitoring device usually only measures whether or not the person has been consuming alcohol. Some of these monitoring devices also come with an optional house arrest system that allows the bracelet to monitor blood alcohol content and location in a single monitoring device.

How does an alcohol monitoring device work?

One of the most common types of alcohol monitoring devices is called the SCRAM which stands for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring. This monitoring device can come equipped with a traditional house arrest tether that gives it added functionality. There are a few reasons why the SCRAM is the most used monitoring device, but the most important is that monitoring devices like the SCRAM provide automated 24/7 alcohol consumption testing via a process called transdermal testing. Older versions of alcohol monitoring systems created gaps in between samples, so the clients could find ways to drink in between their scheduled tests.

Newer monitoring devices like SCRAM automatically take samples and analyzes the data without the person wearing it needing to participate in any way. This happens continuously because these newer monitoring devices can sometimes take samples every thirty minutes depending on the brand, not allowing the person to find a gap to consume alcohol.

When someone drinks alcohol, it goes into their bloodstream and through their stomach and small intestines. Alcohol is then either metabolized inside the liver or is released through other means like someone’s breath or urine. The most important part to the functionality of these non-intrusive monitoring devices is that alcohol comes out of the skin in the form of sweat. An alcohol monitoring device then works by taking samples of the sweat that comes off of someone’s skin. Since the monitoring device is placed on the ankle, it has direct contact with the skin, and therefore the person’s sweat.

What security features do these monitoring devices have?

Most alcohol monitoring devices also come with a temperature and infrared sensor. The temperature sensor allows the monitoring device to know when something is placed in between the monitoring device and the person’s skin, blocking the sample taking. The infrared sensor detects the distance between the monitoring device and the person’s leg, so that the monitoring device will know if the monitoring device is removed. This allows no loopholes for the person to exploit.

Why do these monitoring devices work so well?

The newer monitoring devices such as the SCRAM provide no way for the person to get around their restrictions. Being unable to put something in the way of the sensor, or take the bracelet off makes it impossible for the person to abuse alcohol. SCRAM Systems reports that 99.3% of the days of people who it monitors are days that those people are sober. This is an impressive statistic for SCRAM Systems to be able to report, and shows the extreme success of its monitoring device.

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