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Drink While On 24/7?

December 13, 2012, 10:00 PM by Don Jorgensen

Drink While On 24/7?

Earlier this week, the state was applauding the 24/7 Sobriety Program calling it a success. But how successful is it really?

After our story aired, a Sioux Falls woman called us to let us know that the 24/7 Program isn't stopping people from drinking, they're just finding ways to beat the system.

When someone is arrested for DUI, they are required to blow twice a day into a breath test to check their blood alcohol content.  According to a recent study, over 99 percent of them blow clean. The state says that proves the 24/7 program is working.

A woman, who we'll call Sandra, was on the 24/7 Program for nine months.  And in that time, she says she drank everyday.

"I went down and PBT, I would pick up little airplane bottles and I would slam about six of those and it goes through your system quicker than sitting there having drinks, then you start slamming water," Sandra said.

If it sounds like she's desperate, she is. Sandra admits she's an alcoholic and needs to catch a buzz. And figuring out how to beat the system was one way she could still blow and have a few drinks.

Blowing hot will land you back in jail.  Sandra says in the nine months she was on the program she blew hot three times. That's when she decided to stop having mixed drinks.

"Because you sit there and sip on it and sip on it and it gets into your system a little slower," Sandra said. 

Don:  Do people talk about how to beat the system when they are standing in line?
Sandra:  Oh yeah, we'll talk about it in line, everybody does and the new ones will ask, 'How do I get by with drinking and not blow hot?'

It may not work for everyone, but it apparently did for Sandra.

The 24/7 Sobriety Program started back in 2005 as a pilot project. Today the program includes 67 agencies involving police departments and sheriff's offices across the state.  In all, over five million breath tests have been conducted on DUI offenders since the 24/7 program began.

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