About Sober 24
Sober 24 is a monitoring program in which participants submit to the testing of their breath and/or urine in order to determine the presence of alcohol and controlled substances in their body. The evidence based program has a success rate of more than 65%.
Sober 24 was created as a program for 125 Crossroads residents with the collaborated efforts of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Human Services Agency, and Catholic Charities. It was created to ensure that residents of the program remained sober 24 hours a day.
It was later suggested that the testing service be extended to include all probationers of Alternative Sentencing. DAS was brought on board and it was decided for them to take over the program at the new location on 6th Street. There were over 2,100 participants in 2017.
The Sober 24 program is supported by local law enforcement, courts, prosecutors and defense attorneys as well as Human Services Agency. In addition to the local agencies, we offer courtesy services for those clients who reside in Washoe County but have cases in other jurisdictions.
In June of 2019, the Department of Alternative Sentencing partnered with Thermofisher Scientific to bring the largest Immuno-Assay drug testing laboratory in Northern Nevada online. The introduction of the laboratory allowed DAS to provide drug testing to all partnering agencies at a reduced cost, increased accuracy, increased number of drugs of abuse that could be tested for and a quicker reporting rate. DAS works hard to continue to provide services to the criminal justice community that enhance public safety and addressing chemical dependency.
Criminal participants are required to pay for their own testing. Many cases are subsidized by specialty courts using grant funds. Other funding comes in lump sum contributions for testing supplies from other departments, courts, and agencies. The remaining costs are funded from Alternative Sentencing’s annual budget.
The goals of the program are to combat the role that alcohol and drug abuse play in criminal recidivism, particularly for DUIs, to reduce healthcare costs associated with alcohol and drug abuse, and to enable offenders to change self-defeating behaviors.
Our Program Effectiveness
Testing participants are set up according to court orders and the requirements of the program they participate in and the results of a needs and risk assessment. Depending on the level of drug or alcohol dependency, the seriousness of their addiction, and various other factors, they may be required to test once per month, every day, or somewhere in between.
Testing is randomized so participants do not know in advance when they will be scheduled to test. They must call in every day to see whether or not they are on the list to test. This helps to ensure accountability.
In addition to the frequency options, there are many test panels. Our system sets up four different testing panels, which are also randomly selected by the system in order to mix up the substances tested for.
During the first full year in 2017, there were over 2,100 participants in the Sober 24 program and just over 35,000 tests were conducted. This included mostly DAS probationers, adults being tested under the authority of Child Protective Services, and some courtesy cases from other local courts. Since then, we have contracted with District Court Specialty Courts, Pre-Trial Services, and several other agencies. In 2020, Sober 24 conducted more than 71,600 tests.