When an offender is convicted of DUI, domestic violence, or another alcohol-related offense, a typical condition of sentencing or probation is that the individual must stop drinking for a specified period of time. To try to enforce this, courts have traditionally looked to random testing methods (blood, breath, EtG) that only showed if the individual was sober at the specific “point in time” the test was administered.
However, one of the more recent advances in alcohol testing is continuous transdermal alcohol monitoring, which means that alcohol is measured “through the skin,” or by the concentration of alcohol present in the insensible perspiration that is constantly given off by the skin. If an offender has been drinking, it shows up in the level of ethanol vapor present in this insensible perspiration.
While transdermal testing cannot determine exact blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels, it can qualitatively determine whether a person drank a little, a moderate, or a large quantity of alcohol (transdermal alcohol content or TAC). TAC results correlate well with BAC results. However, because of the way alcohol is absorbed and processed by the body, TAC peaks typically are reached 30 minutes to two hours after BAC peaks.
Continuous transdermal alcohol monitoring – the foundation of SCRAMx – has been confirmed by the scientific community and is based on more than 70 years of research and 22 peer-reviewed studies. In recent years − through SCRAMx’s predecessor SCRAM − it has become an increasingly accepted and integral part of offender alcohol monitoring programs within courts, probation, treatment, and correctional agencies.
The science of transdermal monitoring has also been accepted in evidentiary hearings, and has been admissible in many court cases across the country.
|Transdermal Testing||Random Testing|
|Monitoring Timeframe||Continuous (24/7)||Specific point in time|
|Cost per Test||Low||High|
|Requires Medical Intervention||No||Yes|
|Impact on Staff Workload||Low||High|
|Behavioral Change||Ability to effect long-term change||Temporary suppressant|
|Disruptive to Offender||Minimal||High|