SCRAM FAQsContinuous Alcohol Testing
How does SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring® (SCRAM CAM®) measure alcohol in sweat?
About 1% of everything we consume is unconsciously expelled through our skin in the form of perspiration. The SCRAM CAM® bracelet uses transdermal analysis to sample and test the perspiration that is always on the skin (known as insensible perspiration). 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. The bracelet samples the insensible perspiration once every 30 minutes in order to measure for alcohol consumption.
How much does SCRAM CAM® cost and who pays for it?
SCRAM CAM® is now legal aid funded, which means that funding shouldn’t be an issue when court orders are obtained. Alphabiolabs has simplified its pricing into an easy one tiered structure so 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 person who completes and signs our referral form and is liable for the final invoice. Our customer service 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.
- Drug Court offenders, who often turn to alcohol once they are being actively tested for drugs.
- Individuals with alcohol-addiction issues.
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 bracelet to the ankle of your client. We also have a network of Walk-In Centres where SCRAM CAM bracelets can be fitted, removed and data downloaded completely free of charge, saving you up to £95.00 on your test.
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. Temperature sensors and an infrared sensor measure the reflective quality of the skin to ensure the bracelet is in place and that nothing has been placed between the skin and the bracelet in an attempt to obstruct the alcohol testing. Other strap and battery sensors confirm 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 will 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, blood or urine 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 very high-level drinking events and would not provide a consistent level of accuracy demanded in court.
The reason behind this is that 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. While drugs 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 will depend on how often the Instructing Party requires a report. Walk in Centre data that are stored in the bracelet should be downloaded during a Walk in Centre visit at least every 30 days. If the wireless base station is installed at home, the data will automatically be transferred twice a day providing the wearer is within the range of the base unit at the appointed times allocated.
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 and prevent sweating. An infrared sensor measures the reflective quality of the skin to ensure the bracelet is in place and that nothing has been placed between it and the skin 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 generate 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® could get an alert for alcohol spilled on the bracelet. However, the system 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. Our 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, it is definitely possible that the SCRAM CAM® bracelet would 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. Our 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 confirmed 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 the SCRAM CAM® from 1–120 days at a time. 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.