DENVER—One local company has introduced a new alcohol testing system to monitor high-risk DWI offenders in northern Ohio. Ohio Alcohol Monitoring Systems (OAMS) will deliver what many are calling the best tool in the fight against DWI and other alcohol offenders to hit the market in more than a decade.
Designed specifically for application in long-term alcohol monitoring programs where alcohol abstinence is an absolute requirement, SCRAM™ (or the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor™) includes an ankle bracelet/modem combination like a home-arrest system. But the breakthrough comes in the introduction of Transdermal Testing. The bracelet, worn around-the-clock, samples an offender’s insensible perspiration in order to determine Blood Alcohol Concentration. Nationally, court officers estimate 44% of DWI offenders fail to comply with the terms of their sentence, which leads to more repeat offenses. According to Mike Iiams, chairman and CEO of AMS, this testing method gives courts an unprecedented level of assessment and accountability when dealing with DWI offenders. “Recidivism rates are astounding across the country, and nothing to-date has made a dent in that problem,” says Iiams. Unlike most drugs, alcohol metabolizes very quickly, so conventional alcohol testing programs are generally considered far less effective than drug testing when it comes to catching violators. “We needed to find a way to minimize the resources required for testing and supervision while maximizing accuracy and accountability. Testing an offender 24 times per day, every day, no matter where they’re at or what they’re doing provides exactly that accountability.”
Since its launch in March of 2003, SCRAM has completed roughly 2.5 million transdermal alcohol tests on over 2,200 offenders across the country. The product has seen rapid adoption in many of the largest jurisdictions in the country, including Orange County in California, Wayne County in Michigan, Marion County in Indiana, Hennepin and Ramsey Counties in Minnesota, Maricopa County in Arizona, and Dallas County in Texas.
According to OAMS Sales Director Mark Sutula, the decision to offer SCRAMwas an easy one to make. “Alcohol not only causes serious and lasting problems for those individuals that abuse it, but, unfortunately, its abuse often leads to tragic injuries and deadly consequences for other members of our community. We have a professional responsibility to our community to provide state-of-the-art technology that will have a positive impact on both the offenders and the community.” In the four counties [Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Lorain] OAMS is initially covering, 212 alcohol-related fatalities occurred in 2001-2002.
“Dealing with alcohol offenders usually includes a comprehensive program of sanctions, education, and treatment. The more information available to assess offenders and detect whether they’re in compliance with their court-ordered program, the better the chance that they’ll successfully complete that program and end the recidivism cycle,” says Sutula.
As with most monitoring programs, the offenders are responsible for the cost of the SCRAM System, through a daily monitoring fee. OAMS anticipates rapid expansion throughout the state in the next several months. AMS anticipates that more than 4,000 offenders throughout the U.S. will be monitored by SCRAM by the end of 2004.
About Alcohol Monitoring Systems
Established in 1997, Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. manufactures the world’s only non-invasive alcohol-detection system that automatically tests for alcohol every hour, 24 hours a day, regardless of the offender’s location. SCRAM™ the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor™ is the first alcohol testing technology to use transdermal analysis to determine an offender’s Blood Alcohol Content. SCRAM fully automates the alcohol testing and reporting process, providing community corrections agencies and treatment organizations nationwide with the ability to classify DUI offenders and assess compliance with sentencing requirements, and treatment guidelines. Alcohol Monitoring Systems is a privately held company headquartered in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.