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Brace Yourself for a Halloween Booze Fright

The makers of offender-monitoring anklets know just how much drinking surges at this time of year.

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Take care on the roads this weekend.
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By Bryan Le

10/26/12

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Just in case Halloween's ghouls and goblins don't terrify you enough, there's always the horrifying prospect of a big jump in boozing at this time of year—with the nation's monitored offenders no exception. According to data compiled over the past nine years by Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. (AMS), the producer of SCRAMx alcohol monitoring anklets, drinking increases by 20.4% on a weekday Halloween, and rises by a full 25% over the adjacent "party" weekend—ie, right now. The company bases its findings on a population of 258,000 offenders across 48 states who have been mandated by court or addiction treatment to wear SCRAMx anklets; the devices test their sweat every 30 minutes, 24/7. These numbers may even understate the general population's extra drinking: “If these are the individuals being monitored 24/7, every 30 minutes, and they know they're going to be caught and face consequences, you can imagine the rate of drinking for those who aren't being monitored," says Lou Sugo, vice president of marketing for AMS. "Drunk people generally make poor decisions, and deciding to get behind the wheel of a car is just one of the potential issues.” The roads are always haunted by drunk drivers around now, so the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration is running a Halloween Impaired Driving Prevention initiative from October 25-November 4.

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