SCRAM™ Continuous Alcohol Testing

How does SCRAM CAM® measure alcohol in sweat?

Once alcohol is absorbed and distributed through the bloodstream, about 1–2% is eliminated through the skin in the form of perspiration. It is these transdermal emissions that the SCRAM CAM® bracelet samples every 30 minutes to measure for alcohol consumption. Firstly, a pump inside the bracelet takes in the sample. Then a fuel cell, just like the kind used in breath test devices, reacts with ethanol to measure for the presence of alcohol.

How much does SCRAM CAM® cost and who pays for it?

Alphabiolabs has devised a simple pricing structure, which involves a single set fee for the tested time period. There are no hidden costs or extras to pay once you have obtained a quotation from us. Our contract is always with our ‘Instructing Party’: this is the person who completes and signs our referral form and is liable for the final invoice.

Our Customer Services team can offer verbal or formal quotations via the telephone or email.

Who would benefit from SCRAM CAM®?

SCRAM CAM® is used to support treatment and to enhance supervision for:

  • Domestic violence offenders when alcohol is considered to be a contributing factor in their offence.
  • Family Court: either to enforce a parent’s sobriety or to assess the level of a parent’s alcohol problem. Often continuous alcohol monitoring is required as a condition of custody or visitation.
  • Individuals with alcohol addiction issues.
  • Drug Court offenders, who often turn to alcohol once they are being actively tested for drugs.

Do Alphabiolabs fit the SCRAM CAM® bracelet?

Yes. One of our professionally trained sample collectors will travel to a location of your choice to install and fit the SCRAM CAM® bracelet to the ankle of your client.

What anti-tamper technology does the bracelet have?

The bracelet includes a number of features to ensure tests are accurate and from the proper subject. Sensors measure the reflective quality of the skin to ensure that nothing has been placed between the skin and the bracelet in an attempt to obstruct the alcohol testing. Other anti-tamper technology confirms the bracelet is in place and on the proper subject. The bracelet also continuously conducts diagnostic tests to ensure the unit is functioning properly.

How long do participants wear the SCRAM CAM® bracelet?

This can vary from case to case. We will take instruction from our customer and fit whatever best meets your needs.

How much does a person have to drink to register a positive test result on SCRAM CAM®?

The SCRAM CAM® bracelet can detect very low-level drinking events. The fuel cell technology used to test for ethanol is the same fuel cell technology that has become an industry standard in breath test devices. As such, the standard for confirming an alcohol consumption event, for either a breathalyser or SCRAM CAM®, is a minimum 0.02 blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

How can someone test negative on a urine or breath test just hours after having a confirmed drinking event on SCRAM CAM®?

A person can drink alcohol and show a negative result just hours later using breath, urine or blood tests because these are ‘narrow-window’ forms of testing. As such, they are accurate and reliable for determining the level of intoxication for on-the-spot alcohol testing, such as in the case of a roadside sobriety test. Some specific types of urine tests can see residual indicators of alcohol several hours after a standard urine test would be negative for alcohol. However, this is possible only after excessive drinking events and would not provide a consistent level of accuracy demanded in court.

This is because the body metabolises alcohol very quickly, and once the process is complete, there are virtually no trace elements left in the body to facilitate detection. Unlike drugs which leave residual indicators in the body that are fairly easy to test for hours, days or even weeks later, alcohol does not. As such, long-term monitoring programmes that test for alcohol consumption either randomly or even 1–2 times a day are very easy to circumvent.

How often are the data uploaded?

This would depend on how often the Instructing Party required a report.

How does the SCRAM CAM® bracelet know if someone is tampering with the system?

Sensors monitor the ambient temperature around the bracelet, which verify that the subject has not removed the bracelet or tried to do something to modify the body temperature in an attempt to prevent sweating. An infrared sensor measures the reflective quality of the skin to ensure that nothing has been placed between it in an attempt to obstruct the alcohol testing. Strap and battery sensors ensure the bracelet is in place and on the proper subject. The bracelet also continuously conducts diagnostic tests to confirm the unit is functioning properly.

Can putting something between the bracelet and the leg block readings?

During the installation process, the infrared (IR) sensor takes a baseline reading by sending an IR beam to the skin and measuring the reflective quality of what bounces back. If anything is placed between the bracelet and the skin, or if there is any alteration to the baseline IR sensor, SCRAM CAM® will produce an obstruction alert.

Will putting your ankle/leg in water or ice to keep your skin from sweating prevent the bracelet from detecting alcohol?

No. Not only will the temperature sensor register an alert, this tactic does not prevent the bracelet from taking transdermal readings. In addition, submerging the bracelet in water is prohibited and would be classed as a tamper. This would damage the bracelet and will be subject to a charge.

What happens if a drink or a product containing alcohol is accidently spilled on the bracelet?

SCRAM CAM® is designed to distinguish between exposure to alcohol around the bracelet and consumed alcohol that metabolises through the skin. Spilling a drink or a product containing alcohol (such as hairspray or perfume) creates a rapid spike much faster than the body would ever consume alcohol; it also evaporates and burns off much faster than the body can metabolise alcohol. The system’s confirmation process includes an analysis that ensures that any confirmed event is consumed alcohol.

Can hairspray or being in a hair salon cause false positives?

Just like exposure to any other product with alcohol, the SCRAM CAM® bracelet could issue an alcohol alert if exposed to hairspray. The system is designed to distinguish between environmental exposure to alcohol and actual consumed alcohol that has metabolised in the body. Data experts have tested exposure to hairspray and hundreds of other alcohol-containing products to ensure the bracelet does not mimic a drinking event or create a false positive.

Can kissing or having sex with someone who is drinking cause a false positive?

No. The presence of substantial alcohol on or around the bracelet might cause an alcohol alert, but the system is designed to distinguish between alcohol consumed and metabolised by the person wearing the bracelet and exposure to something around the bracelet that contains alcohol.

Can non-alcoholic beer or medicine create a false positive? What about mouthwash?

These types of products have no impact on the results of urine, blood or transdermal tests unless used in such large quantities that they actually create intoxication. As with any product that contains alcohol, if an individual consumes enough of one of these products, they may become intoxicated.

When used as directed, medicines or mouthwash may create false positives with breath testing when proper test protocols are not followed. However, when proper protocols are followed, these products do not create false positives.

How long can SCRAM CAM® be worn?

Clients can wear SCRAM CAM® from 1 day up to as many months as needed. Our most popular timeframe covered is 30–60 days as we believe this gives a very good indication of a pattern of drinking. We can tailor the time period to your requirements.

How disruptive is SCRAM CAM® to day-to-day life?

The beauty of the SCRAM CAM® bracelet is that it causes very minimal disruption to an individual’s day-to-day life. They are still able to shower, go to work, attend the gym, and spend time with friends and family as normal.

Legal alcohol testing

Learn more about alcohol testing for legal matters, direct from our award-winning laboratory.

Gail Evans AlphaBiolabs

Gail Evans

Technical Trainer at AlphaBiolabs

A professionally-trained forensic scientist, Gail joined AlphaBiolabs in 2012 and holds the role of Technical Trainer.

Her day-to-day responsibilities include delivering in-depth training sessions both internally and externally, covering DNA, drug, and alcohol testing.

Throughout her career at AlphaBiolabs, Gail has held a variety of roles, including within the Legal and Workplace sectors of the business.

Before joining the company, Gail was a practicing forensic scientist with 25 years’ experience working for the Forensic Science Service, attending scenes of crime, and analysing physical and biological material with potential evidential value.

Gail also holds qualifications in chemistry and is a Lead Auditor for the ISO 9001 standard, the international standard for quality management.

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