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First ever continuous alcohol testing bracelet launches in the UK

Wednesday 06 March 2013

SCRAMx® from Concateno completes successful Family Court trial, paving the way for clear identification of alcohol consumption patterns to aid child protection and parental rehabilitation

London, UK, 6th March 2013 - Leading drug and alcohol testing provider, Concateno, is launching the UK’s first ever continuous alcohol testing bracelet following a successful pilot with the Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC). FDAC is run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and leading children’s charity, Coram, and is the first of its kind in the UK.

The SCRAMx® ankle bracelet was trialled with a number of parents involved in child protection cases where alcohol was a factor. It was used to arrive at a series of evidence-based recommendations over child custody and parental rehabilitation regimes.

The SCRAMx® bracelet, from Concateno, is the only device available in the UK that continuously tests an individual for alcohol use. It is worn around the ankle and tests for alcohol transdermally (non-invasively through the skin) every 30 minutes to assess whether sobriety is maintained.

The device is designed for use by the courts, social care organisations and alcohol treatment centres to provide around the clock accountability, assist judgments around child safety and inform treatment programmes.

SCRAMx® continuously tests for alcohol and uploads via a base station to a secure portal – SCRAMnet™ - for analysis and reporting. The device, developed by Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS), also reveals environmental conditions and alerts if it is tampered with or if removal is attempted.

District Judge Nicholas Crichton of FDAC comments: “A major challenge in family law and child protection cases is establishing and testing precise alcohol consumption and abstinence patterns. SCRAMx® provides the authorities with the information necessary to make decisions in such cases, gives individuals a better opportunity to prove sobriety, and has undoubtedly proven indispensable in this pilot. Most importantly, it has helped FDAC to make recommendations to safeguard vulnerable children and, in some cases, reunite families when sobriety has been proven to be established and maintained.”

FDAC service manager, Sophie Kershaw, explains: "With FDAC, sometimes a parent who has not been able to control their drinking in the past will surprise everyone and manage to do so. Sometimes it’s the other way around. The SCRAMx bracelet now allows us to gather more accurate evidence and effectively monitor parents round the clock. Then the courts have a clearer picture of the facts when they’re deciding what is going to work best for children.”

Dr. Claire George, laboratory director at Concateno, adds: “We know that behind every test is a life - and more than 700,000* children in the UK are living with adults who exhibit dangerous drinking habits. For the first time in this country, SCRAMx® is giving a continuous picture of ongoing alcohol consumption to determine whether an individual is sober at any one time which is invaluable information when trying to make informed treatment decisions.”

SCRAMx®  has already met with high levels of success in the United States where, since 2003, increasingly advanced versions of the product have been used to monitor over 274,000 participants, completing over 23.4 million monitored days, more than 23.2 million of which were confirmed as “sober days™ ”. A sober day™  can be defined as a 24-hour period in which a monitored individual has no confirmed consumption of alcohol and no confirmed attempt to tamper or circumvent  testing in order to mask the consumption of alcohol.

The continuous alcohol testing service will complement Concateno’s broad range of drug and alcohol testing services, which includes hair, breath, blood and urine analysis.

For more information about SCRAMx®, please visit the official web page.

* Statistic from “If Alcohol were discovered today, would it be legal?” an excerpt from “Drugs: Without the Hot Air” by David Nutt (2012 UIT Cambridge).

For more information regarding the SCRAMx® device or Concateno, please contact:
Jonathan Simnett/ George Baggaley/Charlotte Hodgson
Chameleon PR
Tel: +44 (0)20 7680 5500

For more information regarding the Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC), please contact:
Sophie Kershaw
Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC)
Tel: +44 (0)20 7278 4763

For more information regarding The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, please contact:
Emma Heath
The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation
Tel: +44 (0)20 8938 2228

For more information regarding Coram, please contact:
Rachel Jasper
Tel: +44 (0)20 7520 0427

Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC)

The award-winning Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) is run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and leading children’s charity, Coram, and is the first of its kind in the UK.

Launched in January 2008, FDAC is a new way of dealing with care proceedings when parental substance misuse causes harm to children and care proceedings are underway.

FDAC aims to help parents stabilise or stop using drugs and/or alcohol and, where possible, keep families together. It is based on a model widely used in the USA which is showing promising results. The process involves co-ordinating a range of services so that a family’s needs and strengths are taken into account, with everyone working towards the best possible outcome for the child; a stable and safe family.

It is run at the Inner London Family Proceedings Court and is currently offered to families referred via the commissing local authorities of Camden, Islington, Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham  and Southwark.

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust is a high performing mental health trust, which specialises in Training and Clinical services. The Trust services are focused on psychological, social and developmental approaches to understanding and treating emotional ill health and to promoting mental wellbeing. It has a national and international reputation based on excellence in service delivery and clinical innovation, and high quality clinical training and workforce development. More information can be found on their website.


Coram, the UK’s first children’s charity, creates better chances for children through its work in adoption, creative therapies, parenting, health and social education and the Family Drug and Alcohol Court. Visit

Concateno – global drug testing services

Informed testing for informed decisions, when it matters most
Concateno has brought together highly skilled and experienced testing organisations from across Europe, offering a combined experience of over 60 years – spanning laboratory, point of care tests and all sample types for any biological specimen, including urine, oral fluids, hair and transdermal. Visit

Concateno performs and delivers more than 10 million tests annually, supported by a global network of 450 sample collection officers6, trained in-house on strict chain-of-custody procedures. Together, they conduct testing for thousands of clients around the world across all industries, healthcare and government bodies.

Concateno’s dedicated divisions specialise in: Family Law, Forensic Testing, Criminal Justice, Workplace, Drug Treatment and Maritime.

In August 2009, Concateno became a subsidiary of Alere Inc., formerly known as Inverness Medical Innovations, Inc. (NYSE: ALR).

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