Alcohol cessation programs often require participants to stay off the booze entirely. This may be voluntary or required by a court order, but the task of watching for slip-ups can be both difficult and counter-productive. Under court mandated cessation, typically randomly assigned visits are required of offenders, but people tend to take risks knowing that there’s only a small chance that a test will be required. Moreover, the burden of testing can be substantial if the testing center is far from home and frequent visits are required.
We received a new device to review called SL2 from Soberlink, a company out of Cypress, California, that makes it easy to regularly screen people for alcohol use. We spent a couple weeks checking it out and pretending to quit while having limited self control. It was certainly an interesting experience that opened our eyes to the difficult reality of alcohol cessation programs and how technology can help overcome many of these challenges.
At its core the SL2 is a breathalyzer with a built in camera that is intended to be used on a regular basis to confirm sobriety throughout each day. A schedule is typically set by a therapist or parole officer and the user has to follow it strictly to stay in compliance. We had a three times daily regimen to follow, which included morning, afternoon, and night tests. To make sure that the user doesn’t forget, the system sends out reminder text messages 15 minutes prior to a scheduled test and then follow up warnings if a test is not performed.