Beware the Saturday St. Patrick’s Day
Law enforcement, alcohol monitors work overtime, drinking violations double when holiday is on a weekend
March 12, 2012, Denver, CO – Newly released data on offenders monitored 24/7 for alcohol consumption shows that when St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday, drinking violations increase 25% over the average for the rest of the year—and that’s for offenders who know they’re being monitored and whose consequences are often time in jail.
According to Denver-based Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS), which monitors 14,000 DUI and other alcohol-involved offenders each day, every half hour, for alcohol consumption, the newly released data shows that when the St. Patrick’s Day Holiday falls on a Friday or Saturday, violation rates skyrocket 25% over the average for the rest of the year. “When the holiday falls during the week, we see an increase in violations of around 10% compared to the average rate of violations the rest of the years,” says Lou Sugo, vice president of marketing for the Denver-based company. “But when St. Patrick’s Day is on a Friday or Saturday, the rate of drinking violations is just over 25% higher than average—more than double the increase we see for a mid-week holiday,” he says. The study looked at holiday drinking for the last 7 years.
According to Sugo, the data underscores the challenges of the holiday for law enforcement as well as the risks posed by problem drinkers. “If the data we’re looking at is for people who know they are being tested every 30 minutes, 48 times a day, and that there are criminal consequences for the drinking, just imagine what is happening with offenders who aren’t being monitored,” he adds. The additional risks that go with a weekend St. Patrick’s Day are no surprise to law enforcement, who are already warning celebrants of the additional measures they can expect to see over the holiday weekend this year. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation Interagency Task Force on Drunk Driving (ITFDD), regardless of the day of the week, St. Patrick’s Day sees the second-highest rate of DUI arrests in the state, right after Halloween.
AMS manufactures and monitors anklets known as the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAMx,) which sample a person’s perspiration every 30 minutes, around the clock, to see if they’ve been drinking. To-date SCRAMx has monitored over 215,000 offenders in 48 states.
AMS released the data as part of an ongoing initiative called the 200k Insight Series, designed to provide information on the behavioral patterns of Hardcore Drunk Drivers and other alcohol offenders based on the data the company has amassed since launching the product in 2003. “This is a biotechnology, not just GPS or home arrest,” says Sugo. “We’ve compiled an extraordinary amount of data that when properly analyzed is providing a great deal of insight into behavior patterns and trending related to alcohol-dependent people,” he says. According to Sugo, 80 percent of offenders monitored with their system are fully compliant while they’re being monitored.
About Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. (AMS)
Established in 1997, AMS is the world’s largest provider of Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (CAM) technology. AMS manufactures SCRAMx, which uses non-invasive transdermal analysis to monitor alcohol consumption and integrates home detention monitoring into a single anklet. SCRAMx 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. SCRAMx has monitored 190,000 offenders in 48 states. AMS employs 126 people across the U.S. and is a privately-held company headquartered in Littleton, Colorado.