On May 24, 2010, Lindsay Lohan was once again ordered to wear a SCRAM bracelet to monitor her sobriety. Trouble is, the bracelet is not “stunningly accurate” as has been reported elsewhere.
The monitor is worn around the ankle and has sensors that measure the alcohol in the wearer’s body as it travels through the skin in the wearer’s perspiration. The device is made by Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS), in Denver, Colo. They call this sweat alcohol measurement “TAC” or transdermal alcohol content. The device takes measurements every 30 minutes. The results are stored by the device to be later downloaded to a modem each day and sent via land-line telephone to AMS where it is interpreted. This information can then becomes the basis for later court hearings where AMS will allege that an unlawful drinking event has been “confirmed.”
The device weighs about 6.5-ounces, and has various tamper resistant measures that are intended to prevent user fraud. For example, the device can’t be taken off without the AMS being alerted because the sensors record the wearer’s temperature. The device can also detect if the wearer attempts to block the measurement of alcohol through the placement of various objects such as paper, foil, plastic or fabric between the device and skin.
While the SCRAM device does have a useful purpose, the problem is that many judges will take the confirmation of drinking by AMS as an absolute and assume that any attempt to defend the allegation is simply further denial by an offender like Lohan who, knowing they were being monitored, still could not control their drinking. But is this assumption well founded in the science that underlies the SCRAM bracelet?
Here is a list of prior blogs addressing this and other issues. Read them and make up your own mind:
Alcohol Monitoring Ankle Bracelets: Junk Science Or Important Scientific Break through?
Bottom line is this: If Linsay Lohan is not careful, or not well represented, she may end up going to jail falsely accused.