Nov 15, 2012
Published in: American Journal of Public Health, v. 103, no. 1, Jan. 2013, p. e37-e43
Posted on RAND.org on December 06, 2012
OBJECTIVES: We examined the public health impact of South Dakota's 24/7 Sobriety Project, an innovative program requiring individuals arrested for or convicted of alcohol-involved offenses to submit to breathalyzer tests twice per day or wear a continuous alcohol monitoring bracelet. Those testing positive are subject to swift, certain, and modest sanctions. METHODS: We conducted differences-in-differences analyses comparing changes in arrests for driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI), arrests for domestic violence, and traffic crashes in counties with the program to counties without the program. RESULTS: Between 2005 and 2010, more than 17 000 residents of South Dakota—including more than 10% of men aged 18 to 40 years in some counties—had participated in the 24/7 program. At the county level, we documented a 12% reduction in repeat DUI arrests (P = .023) and a 9% reduction in domestic violence arrests (P = .035) following adoption of the program. Evidence for traffic crashes was mixed. CONCLUSIONS: In community supervision settings, frequent alcohol testing with swift, certain, and modest sanctions for violations can reduce problem drinking and improve public health outcomes.