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Hairspray Triggers Alert, Not False Positive on Alcohol Monitor

Media Type: Press Release

Procedural Issues Create Confusion About SCRAM Bracelets in Florida Hearing

LITTLETON, CO—The manufacturer of SCRAM alcohol bracelets is countering reports that their alcohol-sensing ankle bracelets falsely confirmed a drinking event because of exposure to hairspray for a Florida defendant out on bond for a DUI manslaughter and DUI with serious bodily injury case. The bracelets, worn 24/7, sample an offender’s perspiration every 30 minutes in order to measure for alcohol consumption.

According to Colorado-based Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS), the confusion is based on the difference between an “alert” generated by a product like hairspray and an actual confirmed drinking event. The company reports that due to procedural issues at the hearing, the judge did not hear evidence to explain the difference between an environmental exposure to hairspray and actual consumption, resulting in confusion in the ruling and reports about the case. Notably, Judge Kevin Wells ordered the defendant to continue wearing the SCRAM Bracelet.

AMS President and CEO Mike Iiams says that alcohol-containing products like hairspray will oftentimes generate an alert, but that the SCRAM System can easily distinguish between exposure to environmental alcohol and actual consumption. “The body can only metabolize alcohol at a certain rate,” explains Iiams. “We look at the entirety of an event before we confirm it, from start to finish, and every event must meet our criteria for rate of absorption and rate of burn-off in order to be a confirmed drinking event.” Iiams says that hairspray and other products create results that have a far more rapid absorption and burn-off than the human body can actually metabolize alcohol.

Due to client confidentiality, AMS cannot comment specifically on the specific results for the defendant, but says it’s essential that the justice system know that AMS stands behind their confirmation in this case. “We stand behind our results in this and every case that goes before a court 100 percent,” says Iiams. According to Jeff Hawthorne, inventor of the SCRAM System and the expert witness at the hearing, hairspray is one of hundreds of products that are continuously tested to ensure that they don’t create results that mimic a drinking event. “We have substantial documentation prepared specifically for the court to illustrate the distinction between an alert and confirmed consumption,” says Hawthorne. “The procedural issues in this case prevented any of that from being submitted to the court.”

Launched to the corrections market in 2003, SCRAM has monitored 110,000 offenders in 47 states and more than 1,900 jurisdictions. AMS is the only electronic monitoring company in the criminal justice system to provide in-depth court support and expert testimony.

About Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc.
Established in 1997, Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. manufactures SCRAM®, the world’s only Continuous Alcohol Monitoring system, which uses non-invasive transdermal analysis to monitor 24/7 for alcohol consumption. SCRAM fully automates the alcohol testing and reporting process, providing courts and community corrections agencies with the ability to continuously monitor alcohol offenders, increase offender accountability and assess compliance with sentencing requirements and treatment guidelines. Alcohol Monitoring Systems employs 104 people across the U.S. and is a privately-held company headquartered in Littleton, Colorado.