Meet the latest accessory: alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet

June 3, 2010 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

The alcohol monitoring bracelet made headlines lately, thanks to actress Lindsay Lohan.

Actually, this is not the first “alcohol-monitoring accessory“ that Lohan had. She already had one way back in 2007. To quote from

Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. issued a press statement on Tuesday (July 24) in reaction to Lindsay Lohan’s DUI arrest despite wearing one of their SCRAM devices. The release, which explains the difference between voluntary and criminal usage of the device, has since been removed from

But we are not here to talk about celebrity gossip but about the device.

What are alcohol monitoring devices?

These are devices attached to a person as a bracelet around the ankle. It works by measuring traces of alcohol on the perspiration on the skin. Alcohol vapors are released through our pores when our body metabolizes alcohol. The readings are sent to the central system of a supervising agency. From the amount of alcohol vapor measured, the actual alcohol consumed can be estimated by a computer. These devices monitor alcohol intake 24/7.

The most well-know of these devices of the SCRAM of the Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS). SCRAM stands for Continuous Transdermal Alcohol Monitoring. A new generation device is called SCRAMx which combines SCRAM with House Arrest.

Why an anklet?

A bracelet around the ankle is less conspicuous and can be hidden under the trousers, socks or boots. It is discrete monitoring without embarrassing the wearer. In addition, it is less likely to hinder with the daily routine than a bracelet on the wrist.

Can they be tampered with?

SCRAMx comes with several safeguards:

  • A built-in tamper detection safeguard
  • Clear distinction between ingested and environmental alcohol
  • House arrest sends off an alarm if the person wearing the bracelet goes beyond a minimum distance from his or her home during curfew time

Who uses them?

These devices are now widely-used in the US as part of alcohol rehabilitation programs as well as the judicial systems. Some people wear the device voluntarily while others are forced to wear them. In many places, people who were arrested while driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol (such as Lohan) are required to wear the device. As early 2005, some courts in the US already used these monitoring devices. Lately, many updated to newer devices with the house arrest option included. These devices supposedly reduce the time spent in jail and thus cutting costs for the judicial system.

At least Lohan tries to make the best of the situation by:

  • Asking Chanel to put their logo on the bracelet.
  • Showing off her alcohol monitoring bracelet for photos she sold to an agency to raise funds for charity.
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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.