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It was the 1980s when SCRAM inventor and AMS Co-Founder Jeff Hawthorne began working on his vision to create the world’s very first transdermal alcohol testing system. Inspired by the death of a college friend who was killed by a five-time drunk driver, Jeff had the foresight to identify a compelling market need for a different way to monitor drunk drivers. And he had the engineering savvy to make it a reality.

He started it all in his basement and garage, ala Apple, HP, and Google. A decade later, Hollywood made his “little invention” a household name.

While Jeff understood the need for courts to have a better monitoring technology, I’m not sure he fully realized the indelible mark his “headphone-style” anklet would make on the lives of the people sentenced to wear it. Make no mistake—not everyone gives it glowing reviews. But we’ve heard from literally thousands of people who’ve worn his invention and believe it’s made a positive impact on their lives. In only the first few months on the market we began to hear that clients were thanking judges for ordering them on the SCRAM Bracelet. And some were asking if they could KEEP WEARING one, even after their court-required sentence was up.

We’ve managed to capture one of our client’s more compelling stories on video. Today this man, Ron, with a lifelong alcohol addiction, counsels U.S. Military Veterans facing the same challenges. His life was truly changed by Jeff’s technology, and today Ron is paying it forward. As of this afternoon we’ve monitored 349,723 people. I wonder how many of them are also paying it forward.

Today, we lost Jeff after a valiant 6 1/2 year battle with cancer. He leaves a beautiful wife, Liz, and three amazing boys, all of whom work or have worked, in some capacity, at our company. It’s truly a family affair.

Our company tagline is Making a Difference. I think most would agree he’s made a profound difference. Two years ago AMS filmed this video, below, marking our Ten Years of Excellence in the marketplace, and it includes some time with Jeff.

Jeff, you are missed beyond measure.



Sobering Up Administrator

Sobering Up Administrator

Sobering Up: A blog about drunk driving, alcohol addiction, and criminal justice, is anything but a corporate blog. Sobering Up is an opportunity for anyone interested or involved in the issues of drunk driving, alcohol-fueled crime, alcohol dependence and addiction, and the justice system to participate in the conversation.


  1. Although I did not know Jeff very well, he had a very strong and immediate impact on me the few times I was in his presence. I clearly remember seeing him at the last AMS conference in Colorado. He was in obvious discomfort, but maintained his grace and humility throughout. He was one those people that inspire me on a daily basis to be a better man and to focus on the positive. My most sincere condolences to Jeff’s family, as well as those at AMS who knew him well.

  2. On behalf of all at AAMP Pittsburgh we offer our heartfelt sympathy to the Hawthorne Family and the SCRAM family world-wide on Jeff’s passing today. So many were touched by his greatness and friendliness. We are grateful for his incredible inventive mind and outstanding scientific contribution to the cause of alcohol sobriety.

  3. Jeff has been a wonderful friend and advocate for the AMS service partners in Ohio. He first testified in Ohio in a Fairfield County Common Pleas Court case. The case was the first evideniary challenge to the scientific accuracy and reliability of the SCRAM bracelet. Jeff spent two days on the stand for the prosecution. When the State rested it’s case and the judge asked the defense attorney to proceed, the defense attorney simply said, “We have no questions, your Honor.” Jeff’s knowledge, expertise, winsome personality and humble spirit paved the way for Fairfield and many other Ohio counties to accept the science behind SCRAM and to trust the data it provides. Jeff also traveled to Ohio twice as the featured presenter for CLE and CEU workshops hosted by Ohio’s service partners. Jeff will always have a special place in our hearts and we will remember him often with fondness.

  4. Kindness and compassion were shining through him in the brief but memorable moments I met him. May his family and all at AMS find some comfort and peace in knowing the amazing and positive impact he had, and will continue to have, in the countless lives he touched through his work and his life.

  5. This is heartbreaking. So sorry to hear. I was fortunate enough to meet him briefly. What an impact he had on so many lives! My condolences.

  6. It is a fact that Jeff created and enhanced many of our careers by inventing a product that would later be adopted by almost every region in the United States and lay out work paths for hundreds of people. I am personally to him for this and thankful for just having known him. He was a genuine and kind person who will be forever missed and never forgotten by those who had the pleasure of being introduced to him. Rest in peace Jeff and know that you have the respect of so many people as you move on into another phase.

  7. This is truely a sad day for the family and AMS. Liz you and the boys are in my thoughts and prayers. I had a few chances to see Jeff and work with him on some cases in MN. It was a pleasure to get to know Jeff.He has played a big role in the acceptance of Scram in MN.He touched so many lives with his vision of sobriety.You will be missed Jeff. Rest in peace.

  8. I was fortunate enough to be sitting behind the cameras the day this video was filmed. I had heard stories of how SCRAM was invented, but never from Jeff directly. To hear him speak with such passion about the tragedy that sparked his idea, the difference it made in the lives of countless addicts and the community of those who believed so much in what he created that they chose a life and a career around making a difference, was one of the most powerful and emotional things I’ve ever witnessed. When they yelled “cut”, both camera men, the director (and me) were all in tears after witnessing the takes you see above. May Liz, the boys, their family members and friends find comfort in knowing, more than all of us, what a great man Jeff was. He literally changed the world and will never be forgotten.

  9. I became an agent for our service. Alcohol tag piloted with cheshire West and chester and Cheshire Police. sincere condolences to Liz and her boys at this sad time

  10. I attended a training in which he spoke of the start of SCRAM and much more. What a brilliant man and invention. I send my sincere condolences to his family and the AMS family as well.

  11. Jeff showed a tremendous amount of passion for his work and it showed. He not only excelled in the science and legal arenas, but his compassion to support those with addiction was compelling. Sorry for your loss my condolences go out to his family and those who admired and worked with him at AMS.

  12. I attended a training session with AMS and Jeff sat in with us all. He was definitely a kind polite man with a great mind. He will be missed.

  13. I worked at AMS for a couple of years and I always enjoyed my time when I would talk with Jeff. Whether it was at the corporate office or at a particular court requiring testimony, he always told it like it was…good or bad. You could see the passion he had for his device. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

  14. My thoughts, prayers are with the Hawthorne family and with the AMS family as news of Jeff’s passing has traveled across the pond. Having the honor of working closely with Jeff, Liz and the kids to varying capacity, their sense of humor is what always struck me as one of the most redeeming qualities about Jeff. Having to drag Jeff out to the Dakota’s and to Montana to meet with the vast array of government officials, was always something that brought us the opportunity to reflect on how fast the company was growing and how things were changing. Jeff’s positive attitude, humble demeanor, ability to listen were the qualities that gained the immediate respect of everyone he met. While the important work associated with SCRAM will be one of the legacies that is left behind…his kids and Liz, most importantly will be there to carry on in his absence. The strength and resolve of the Hawthorns have allowed them to remain strong in the trying times and will allow them to follow a path together in the coming years. Thanks for all you have done for the countless thousands of people and for the friends and family of this amazing little company we have the privilege of working for. Cheers Jeff and family.

  15. My thoughts and prayers go out to Jeff’s family and to AMS employees and Service Providers. I only talked with Mr. Hawthorne on 3 occasions at trainings, but was struck by his wit and demeanor. He carried himself with humility and humor – rare traits in a person of such vision and intellect. I feel honored to have met such a man and to be able to help others because of his work.

  16. The first time I met Jeff in 1998 with his Alcohol Anklet idea, you knew this was his passion. A great man with an amazing family. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Jeff Hawthorne is SCRAM!

  17. My condolences go out to Liz and the boys. I spent a lot of time with Jeff on the road in the early days as SCRAM was developed. He was a very intelligent, dedicated, passionate man who truly made a difference in this world. I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to know him and work with him. He will be greatly missed and remembered for a long time.

  18. words can not document the impact Jeff had on literally hundreds of thousands of souls. We will keep Liz and family in our thoughts and prayers. Cherish and honor the memory of Jeff and SMILE 🙂

  19. I have had the privilege of knowing Jeff since 2006. In that time, I quickly realized he was one of the smartest people I have ever known, not to mention his quick wit and terrific sense of humor. I quickly became friends with him and his wonderful wife Liz, and I constantly relied on them as I encountered different situations and questions. Listening to the passion Jeff had for this Jeff will be truly missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to Liz and their family.

  20. Sitting here going through old presentations and was thinking about Hawthorne and his family. Replaying moments I shared with him and thinking what a profoundly awesome guy he was. 7 years later and we’re still missing him. 7 years later and I’m still using his incredible material. Thanks for everything Jeff.

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