Rep. Dusty Johnson works to fund nationwide sobriety programs
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) -The 24/7 sobriety program located on New York Street, provides drug and alcohol testing services twice a day to those who were sentenced for criminal offenses. Since 2005, the Sheriff’s offices across South Dakota have successfully administered more than 12 million breath tests and more than 600 thousand drug tests.
Lucas Oyler, Director of the Pennington County Sheriffs’ Office says that there are multiple ways to test for drugs and alcohol.
Oyler states “We test for alcohol, and we test for drugs. We can test for alcohol with a scram monitor, we can test for alcohol with what is called a remote breath, which does facial recognition, and it has a little bit of a GPS capability. Scram, which is the ankle monitor and remote breath, and the PBTs...that do our alcohol testing. Then for urine analysis, we do either a urine analysis or we have what is called a drug patch and they wear that for a period of up to two weeks. Usually, it is something up to 7 to 10 days and then comes in and the lab analyses it and gives us our results.”
If someone fails to comply with the court ruling and does not show up...or...fails a test...they are sent to jail immediately following a court hearing.
South Dakota’s success with this program prompted Representative Dusty Johnson to propose the Supporting Opportunities to Build Everyday Responsibility bill, better known as the SOBER Act. The bill will establish a grant within the office of the justice program at the Department of Justice, allocating 50 million each year...for five years. If the SOBER Act is signed into law, it will encourage other states to start sobriety programs.
Oyler states “It would encourage other states to try it, to pilot it and see how it works for them. Obviously, every jurisdiction is different, but I think that they will find similar success to what we have had. Accountability is important, but the relationship building when you see someone every day, even if you only spend less than a minute with them...you get to know them. You are rooting for them, you want them to do well.”
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