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How does an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet work, anyway?

If you're like me, you probably spent at least one or two moments pondering the utility of the so-called alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet that Lindsay Lohan apparently wore, and wondered, "Didn't that thing eventually just kind of start spewing smoke and explode?" Luckily, Newsweek recently interviewed the manufacturers of the device, known as SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor), to find out exactly how it works. It's a great, geeky read:

NEWSWEEK: How does it work?
Don White: The ankle bracelet takes an air sample from the ankle at least every hour, collects that data and stores it until it can connect to a modem and go through a landline to a computer for viewing and analysis. Itís taking the sweat, because 1 percent of what you drink comes out of your skin and attaches to sweat, so that's what we monitor. It's almost like a Breathalyzer on your ankle. It's a lot more sensitive than a Breathalyzer, but it's the same technology....

There are reports that the SCRAM can be cheated by submerging it in water to prevent sweating or by putting baloney between the skin and the device. Does that work?
We've had 40,000 people who have tried to find ways to get around it so it's always a cat-and-mouse game, but drinking events will last anywhere from six to 12 hours, so in order to block that you'd have to have it submerged the whole time, which is against the orders of probation. People can figure out how to get around anything, but if you don't comply, we will eventually get you. As far as the baloney, we had one offender do that and we have an infrared sensor that takes a signature from the skin and, anything, including baloney, would affect that sensor.

Posted By Scotto at 2007-07-30 00:08:45 permalink | comments
Tags: alcohol SCRAM
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baby. : 2014-05-18 13:47:27
can I drink non alcohol beer while on this?
mariah_133 : 2014-05-01 17:50:35
So if someone is drinking in the same room as I am I need to move rooms ASAP due to the fact that there's alcohol in the air? Like I'm so confused on how this works this is my first time wearing this and I'm going insane not knowing what I can use such as bath products etc...
sally . : 2014-04-30 11:41:25
can you go to the nail salon when your on the scram monitor will that set anything off?
mariah . : 2014-04-29 18:17:03
i am getting a scram thing tomorrow for probation, i am new to this whole thing and i am just trying to figure it out. Do i have to change all my like body products such as shampoo perfume body wash etc... how does this whole thing work?
ssht. : 2014-03-22 12:43:59
will tads detect one beer if wiped skin ocasionly
I can spell. : 2014-02-23 23:53:20
cheryl. : 2014-02-20 15:46:29
if i were to spray my perfume on my clothes before putting them on would that help prevent my braCELET FROM GOING OFF?
guest : 2014-02-15 08:10:23
I can't believe people complaining about having to wear this, get a clue, don't drink and drive, not rocket science!!!
average joe. : 2014-02-14 19:14:37
is it normal if your leg smells like poo when you wipe sweat from the scram strap?
Lion Heart. : 2014-02-08 09:43:11
So SWIM gets called in to bring his base monitor with him to SENTINEL as soon as possible. Red lights been flashing for a week now... SWIM goes in, they need to download data, the sentinel people say... Data downloaded, call is made to Colorado, bracelet is switched out (SENTINEL says they have to send SWIMS bracelet to Colorado to be "looked" at). Yes corporate is out if Colorado, SENTINEL also states they are sending something to Sacramento... What, I don't know, but really???.... As they say..."your success or failure in up to you".... Please.... STFU!!! No, one success or failure is the dumb asses that don't know what they are doing.. It's a joke... SWIM is actually looking forward to doing their jail time and being done with all this bull shit! And believe SWIM when he says, there are SOOOO many ways around it... From stretching the rubber w heat, to mixing very tiny amounts of different oils w a tad bit water , spraying a little onto face plate every few hours... You see, some people don't believe in the word "can't", oh you can't get around it.... Nah, people are smart... If they want a way around it, they will find one... Good luck!!!
DB. : 2014-02-07 13:55:48
Lion heart.... : 2014-02-06 19:47:24
Also.... U can smoke weed, do come, pop pills, yeah anything u want but no alcohol... Stupid.....
Lion heart. : 2014-02-06 19:45:20
It's easy to open the cover case, but be careful not to break the middle plastic...( hard to explain).... Anyway, once u open the compartment that can have u unlock or basically loosed the bracelet, all u do is unscrew both areas, slide out the rubber, glad some glad press and seal, mix a drop of oil w some water,, spray a little on the press and seal, stick it to the base, (metal section that reads the alcohol) and put a heat wrap on it on low... I know it seems tedious but it works... If you just want to have it off just in case something, anything might give a "false reading"... I'd rather be under scrutiny for "tampering" than "positive reading"... I'm not teaching how to get around it but I don't believe that one should be treated like an animal.... Oh btw this was all dictated to me to write by my friend SWIM.... :/)... Feel free to ask questions , SWIM will answer back whatever he can... Cheers mates!
Whythefuckkirk!!. : 2014-01-10 23:14:49
Stands for "something continuous something alcohol monitoring"

It's not gonna show up if you're doing drugs. Only getting intoxicated. Get your lives together some of you have probably got intoxication manslaughter charges and your worries are about pot and alcoholic beverages showing up

Gimme a fucking break. Get yourselves together.
The penal system is our modern day slavery.

tabby too. : 2014-01-10 22:58:12
Also exhaust fumes. Gasoline. And sone house hold cleaners such as Windex will set it off. If u get accused ask for a special hearing at court n request documents and readings and have a good excuse. They read like little graphs on u n when u drink it makes little hills on the graph
tabby too. : 2014-01-10 22:37:02
But I don't have scram I have tad.
tabby too. : 2014-01-10 22:31:54
I smoke on it. Depends what kind u get. Mines just for alcohol. U can pass a by getting a glass full of water n putting a teaspoon of bleach n it n drinking it two days before ur u.a. works for me. My ankle thing will go off even if u use a lotion w alcohol n it check the lables ppl. Check lables on all skin products. Shaving cream n such. Watch out for cold medicines n mouthwashes too.
lukeduke. : 2014-01-10 19:04:16
there has got to be a legit way to fool this damn bracelet. it seems no one has a concrete yes or no answer if it can be done. it seems logical that a thin, durable piece of meat, warmed by body heat, could mimic human skin, and secrete no alcohol.
Meow. : 2013-12-31 01:41:41
I have had the scram on less than a month. Haven't touched alcohol or had any around me, today I get a call from Sentinel Offender saying the machine "detected alcohol between 4-9pm yesterday." Can I remember what I did during that time the lady asks.... Umm yea treated my blisters and torn skin from the damn scram!... Now they want me to come in and bring my "products"... Ok, so now I have to go on 4 buses, 3 hour excursion to show my leg to them to prove that whatever they " detected" was not me drinking alcohol!! Wow.... I guess ppl do try getting around it but the LAST thing I want is more problems w the law!!
Josh. : 2013-12-24 03:06:24
Does scram send a gps location Everytime it vibrates?
DC . : 2013-12-08 00:04:25
can I drink before I put the bracelet on?
guest : 2013-12-03 13:51:53
Do they give u a urine test on the day u hafta to get SCRAM!?? If I drink 6 beers 2nite...and hafta have the bracelet put on 2morrow at 2:30 will I be ok?
SoPissed - girl. : 2013-11-24 14:00:07
i get scram tomorrow and i want to get fucked up right now. how long to i have to sustain from alcohol before I get this shit put on my ankle????
J. : 2013-11-15 06:58:29
Wondering if u can highlight my hair on alcohol bracelet
Narciso. : 2013-09-28 22:44:26
I be sentence to hold this ankle bracelet for next court order so l have this bracelet for 6 months and l have do 1month in jail so if when they relize me they put me back the bracelet l think will be better if l pay with jail time, because this bracelet broke my life and also my family because l coant
dba. : 2013-09-22 17:03:38
Section here on Blood alcohol levels after ethanol absorption through skin


dba. : 2013-09-22 15:10:48
There is this study that says that alcohol from vodka is not absorbed through the feet. [link] The key here is the detection limit that was used of 2.2 mmol/L (10 mg/100 mL). I think the SCRAM measures any amount of alcohol.

And from: [link] , it seems as though skin contact can trigger a result in the SCRAM but that it can be distinguished from drinking the alcohol and won't be reported.

"There are many substances containing alcohol (e.g., perfume, hand sanitizers) that can act as environmental interferants and produce a positive alcohol reading.
As a preventive measure, offenders are instructed to avoid such substances and provided with a list of common product interferants. However, when offenders do come into contact with interfering substances, the alcohol curve that is generated assists trained AMS staff in identifying the source of the alcohol.
Positive alcohol curves that are generated by interferants are often clearly distinguished from true positive alcohol curves that occur due to consumption, based on differences in absorption and burnoff rates.

Talk to your P.O. about it.

lj. : 2013-09-19 10:34:41
I am getting SCRAM next week. I am not concerned about drinking while on it. I can go without drinking BUT i am a bartender...If alcohol gets on my hands or skin with that detect?!
jeez people. : 2013-09-16 19:59:02
The podcast hosts are intelligent people. Many of the comments seem to come from intelligent people... maybe my bourgeois sensibilities are verging on flaming elitism, but come on people. This conversation is sad. Get your shit together!
guest : 2013-09-11 07:29:04
SCRAM IS FOR Beer Not For MARIjuana...
??. : 2013-09-10 18:57:10
How long before getting the SCRAM bracelet can someone drink?
Eddie. : 2013-09-10 17:58:46
Police prosecutor and judges should were them they are some of the biggest drinkers there is but its ok for them to do it and I no this for a fact.
Eddie. : 2013-09-10 17:57:46
Police prosecutor and judges should were them they are some of the biggest drinkers there is but its ok for them to do it and I no this for a fact.
guest : 2013-09-09 14:44:24
Can you drink non alcoholic bush beer on the alcohol monitor
super cj. : 2013-09-08 16:01:50
I wsana go swimming so what if it wrap my hole ankle in plastic
someone. : 2013-09-06 22:10:40
i have a gps bracelet just put on today. the judge never mentioned alchol monitoring and the jail never said it tests alcohol. How do i find out without drinking? and should i just assume it doesnt test alcohol. i dont hafta pay fees or anything.
guest : 2013-09-05 18:16:57
If you get a max of 6 months will they take it off before that?
shockey. : 2013-09-02 13:45:48
Shock it with a taser
John. : 2013-08-26 22:12:10
I have an annual Labor Day party we go to every year. I'm concise ring drinking bush na. Will it give my scram a positive reading?? Thanks john
Mark P. : 2013-08-25 16:14:37
I have had the scram bracelet on now for 9 months and you have to watch which products you use that might have alcohol in them even the word. Yes you can do any other kind of drug as long as your not getting piss tested. The screwed up part of this got mine in the great state of PA. They let you have one on for your protection and the public's protection. I had 6 beers in two hours and was caught with the truck parked and keys in the ignition. The cost of having this around my leg is $93 a week, plus you pay for a probation officer at $40 a month before you actually get sentenced. I took 8 months of wearing this and being on curfew to finally be sentenced and find out that everything you have done up to that point does matter. So now I will be wearing this bracelet for another 6 months and they added house arrest. 5 years probation, $1500.00 fine with another added costs for the state of PA to add there extras that you have to pay for, that has nothing to due with a DUI, at a cost of another $1200.00. Plus $3500.00 for lawyer costs, and $40.00 a month for the probation continued. 1 year loss of drivers licence and when you do get them back 18 months of blow in go in your car at $100.00 a month. But if you don't want blow and go then don't own a car, but you still have to have restricted license. So you save money if you don't have a car in that way. Take it from me with all the alcohol classes and programs they make you take if you drink one beer in a year you have a problem and you need AA. It was the start of 2013 when I was caught spent that night celebrating New Years and now I get to see 2014 in my house still under arrest for this New Years! You'd think I would of killed someone they get less time. It will always be about the money and not worried about helping you but paying for the states lack of adding and subtracting of money. There are two different standards for who pays more the haves pay less and the have knots more! So what ever you do don't get on this, such a rip off!!!
shady50. : 2013-08-24 10:00:31
So has anyone tryed a N/A beer on scram??? Yet?
hannah. : 2013-08-08 19:35:42
Can i drink non alcoholic beer while on the scram?
carmen. : 2013-08-02 22:59:47
My alcohol anckle monitor device,the small black square thing that pretty much holds the device from coming off,the screws got loose n it pop open,now I can pull on the rubber n take it out. I put it on my friend,but I forgot that he drank 22 hrs ago when I realized that I put it back on me. From my understanding it dete ts sweat not blood,is that right? Well if anything does come up I will say I was sick n took Medicine, cause it makes no sense having a positive for alcohol n when it vibrates again am not positive anymore. Hopefully. ��
informed. : 2013-08-02 13:50:12
You can do anything you want other than alcohol. It only tests for alcohol in sweat and changes in body temperature.

you can do any other substance with no alcohol in it..weed, coke, ex, meth, LSD, mushrooms,...but if they give you a UA after scram, you are f*cked.

guest : 2013-07-15 18:34:11
Can't I just put this scramx on a friends leg? And then back on later?
first timer. : 2013-07-12 19:15:32
What can you get away with with the ankle monitors???
Jay. : 2013-07-09 13:53:52
Can scram detect alcohol 40 hrs before monitor is put on
lu. : 2013-06-26 14:26:25
can i drink frewine will i have the scram on it says it has.05% alcohol
Loco. : 2013-06-25 20:59:32
Can u smoke alcohol without scramx detecting it?
Loco. : 2013-06-25 20:57:38
If u wear a scram ur already in trouble from drinking why take another chance just say no dummy & drink water
rebecca. : 2013-06-12 17:31:50
can you do meth on the braclet
jake. : 2013-05-29 06:28:23
Can u drink na beer
erica. : 2013-05-17 20:33:48
I have a domistic violence case and was sent to jail for defending I'm on probation and I have to wear this stupid scram bracelet cuz I had 2 cups of wine, I'm not even a drinker and I'm getting penalized for it. Is there any way to go back to court and fight this charge?
I messed up. : 2013-05-05 07:43:01
Soo...I'm on scram, I drank to much on Friday and ended up drunk. Has anybody "accidentally" submerged their scram? Was it still able to download?
caty. : 2013-04-21 08:18:51
will hair dye effect your alcohol monitoring
joe-blow. : 2013-04-09 10:20:33
Can you take Xanax on the scram
attention. : 2013-03-28 13:38:36
are you 100% sure it cant detect weed
smoke that shit. : 2013-03-23 08:19:23
i did everything except drink. weed, molly, coke, dope, and nothing showed up.
SCRAM and stuff. : 2013-03-18 05:04:12
Damn, this thing is so loud, it turns my girlfriend on. One time I woke up and found her sitting on my leg. She had the kitchen timer next to her.
guest : 2013-03-15 13:10:26
can do other any drungs beside weed? while on ankle bracket? imnot on scram. differnt kind normal small black box with alots holes lookin
ted. : 2013-03-04 02:36:06
can you drink alchol the day before you use the bracelet
guest : 2013-03-02 18:58:34
How bout chicken skin?in between has anyone tried it
lala20. : 2013-02-27 20:00:05
can you do cocaine on the scram unit? anyone ever done it with it on?
guest : 2013-02-19 14:06:07
What if u drink a day before its put on
rkelly. : 2013-01-26 00:28:34
I'm going nutts w this b%tch on.. I need a way around this..
Joann. : 2013-01-25 05:27:45
I was drunk slept aty boyfriends could this set his off
Scram User X. : 2013-01-05 16:56:01
Just finished 6 months wearing the scram bracelet. When first started using bracelet, was in the dark about what types of body products I could use and not trigger a false positive alcohol hit on the bracelet. These products worked and smelled great, unlike "Toms" deodorant, which did not work, : Jack Black body/hair wash and Anthony deodorant. Both are products designed for men and are available on Sephora's website. If you have a girlfriend, I would recommend using these products. I did not have any problems with regular toothpaste and only used alcohol free mouthwash, which all the major mouthwash companies offer. The scram bracelet started off very quiet, however, with daily showers, by around 5-6 weeks you could hear the scram bracelet go off every half hour. The company was very good about coming to change the battery, which worked until about month 5. At month 5 until I got it off the sound of the scram bracelet going off every 30 minutes was completely audible to everyone around me. If the company leaves the scram bracelet too loose on your ankle it will cause abrasions, cuts, sores and a rash to form around the area. I recommend having them keep the bracelet relatively snug around the ankle area as this also affected the volume of the vibration (looser = louder vibration). You are able to shift the bracelet around your leg when sleeping and it will not trigger a tamper reading.
Broomfield drunk. : 2012-12-30 08:42:21
I am on my 8th month of scram an drink NA beer all day every day and no violation. My PO even told me it' s ok. Becks and St. Pauli NA was my savior
caine. : 2012-12-29 15:06:28
If some one dump there drink on me will i fail my alchol scam test
jdog. : 2011-08-18 23:17:57
Scram only detects alcohol so u can still do drugs. Although it would suck worse to fail a drug test than fail for booze. Just take it off and put it on someone who's not drinking and put it back on later
towerhigh. : 2011-06-03 14:34:42
what if you get it wet , how can you dry it
ck22. : 2011-04-25 16:16:14
so it is safe to smoke weed on this thing cause i been a week with out smoking and im about to go crazy ha
tray. : 2011-04-14 22:10:52
do the scam have any GPS techology meaning can it monitor your location
martdog. : 2011-04-05 20:50:15
I'm going to try putting tyvek home rap between it and my ankle its a air and moister barier so mabe it. Will work
mark . : 2011-03-31 12:34:24
SCRAM sucks big!!!!
WalterK. : 2011-03-30 20:50:29
How long should I abstain from alcohol use before installing a SCRAM? Is is similar to Breathalizers that can only detect alochol for 10-12 hours?
guest : 2011-02-22 15:16:19
I am sure from what they told me you cannot put anything between the scram bracelet and your skin, it has to be able to read your sweat each time it buzzes on you. This thing is so huge I cant stand it. I am wanting to smoke, but scared. Medical pot is legal, so I want to ask their office but not sure that would be ok.
guest : 2011-02-04 14:17:27
Smoke that shit all day long, it doesnt detect
b. : 2011-01-08 07:25:16
fuck scram!!!!!!
guest : 2011-01-06 19:03:38
no one has still said whether O'Douls or non-alcoholic wine works?
splashes. : 2010-10-21 20:27:03
What about non-alcoholic wine, it all says, like Odoul's alcohol less than one half of one percent, so if you can't use mouthwash even with the scram on, will less than one half of one percent be detected?
Lammy. : 2010-10-20 19:34:48
Has anyone ever tried using squirrell skin wrapped around their ankle in between the bracelet??
da bodan. : 2010-10-02 09:05:04
careful with certain body washes. itll register. i work in a polyethylene plant and the day i cleaned the extruders it triggered the bracelet! petroleum triggers it.
concernedsis. : 2010-08-20 18:30:35
Has anyone had their BI inc. ankle moniter register alcohol events falsely?
Bob. : 2010-05-24 15:43:05
What if I put the bracelet on my penis?
don. : 2010-05-24 15:39:00
Your friend should never be allowed to drive. What a piece of @#$%.
marcus. : 2010-05-05 09:45:35
spray axe on it they get pissed!! LOL
Terrance Bia look for me on myspace i live in new mexico yo!! . : 2010-01-08 00:52:52
I just got out of jail, and im only 17 i never thought i would ever get one of these, or even go to jail but you play ur cards wrong you'll get it. But yeah i was in jail for a month while they did the assessment and stuff, so i got relesed today and now i have this braclet and drug court and probation to deal with so its going to be another year of fun i was so close to getting off but temptation is a powerful thing im changin my life ima still smoke when i get done with eveything but alchol i cant take it, native americans cannot handle it at all, this has been proven and i proved it too soo yeah

01/07/10 was a good day...(i got released)

guest : 2009-12-06 02:22:20
what if you slid a piece of plastic in between your ankle and the monitor?
Robert. : 2009-11-20 16:44:15
Yes You can drink o'douls and still use hand sanitizer on scram I have done it before and im doing it now
redridenhood. : 2009-11-10 16:20:40
can you smoke weed on the scram
david . : 2009-08-25 19:38:25
can i drink o'duls or any non alcoholic beer while wearing the SCRAM
MarcusFL. : 2009-07-29 18:15:42
Now there is even better technology out. Its a watch that can detect drugs and alcohol plus tell time.
MarcusFL. : 2009-07-29 18:13:17
Yes you can smoke weed unless they are doing random tests for drug use.
Gary. : 2009-01-19 17:49:26
I have a friend that uses scram for his third DUI in under a year... He still smokes marijuana everyday on the device. it only detects alcohol
jamesk : 2008-11-13 21:48:10
The SCRAM is specifically for alcohol monitoring. There is no case I can find where SCRAM has been used to prosecute marijuana smokers.


m6. : 2008-11-13 20:17:31
Can you smoke weed on the scram

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