A repeat drink-driver's radical bid to avoid jail by having an anti-booze drug implanted into himself has been successful.
Aucklander Chris Meyer appeared in the Pukekohe District Court on Monday, when police said he was "on the cusp" of being jailed.
"The judge said that having the implant definitely saved me from going to jail because it was an extraordinary step," said Meyer.
"For me, I can't carry on like this and that's why I took this step. It is ruining my life.
"I've been in front of the courts six times now for drink-driving. I've never hurt anyone, thank goodness, and I've never caused an accident, but I was over the limit."
Judge Sharon McAuslin sentenced him to four months' home detention instead. He was also ordered to do 150 hours of community work, to pay $280 court costs and was disqualified from driving for three months.
He will also need to have an alcohol interlock device installed in his car for three years.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Paul Watkins told the Herald on Sunday the implant had kept Meyer from prison.
"I think it did because it obviously showed his commitment to rehabilitation and no further offending, so the judge took that into account. They always take into [account] the steps people take, like alcohol course programmes. Certainly, he was on the cusp of imprisonment, so there's no doubt about that, but given the steps he'd taken it came down to home detention, community work and disqualification in the end."
Meyer, a father of four, described himself as a binge drinker who found it "too easy" to get behind the wheel to drive home.
After being caught drink-driving in June, he researched the drug and had his bail conditions relaxed so he could fly to South Africa to have the Netroxene SP implant inserted under his skin.
He was also sold a second implant, which his Auckland doctor will insert when the current one wears off.
The drug curbs the desire to drink alcohol. If users do drink, side effects include severe nausea, hot flushes, heart palpitations and fever.
The implant has not been approved for use in New Zealand, but the drug is used here in tablet form as part of an alcohol treatment programme. Meyer hoped the implants would be approved by the Ministry of Health because they would help alcoholics stop drinking.
Meyer's lawyer, Stuart Blake, told the Herald on Sunday he would lobby for the implant to be approved as a sentencing option for repeat drink-drivers because it could potentially reduce alcohol-related crime.
Last year, 5679 drink-drivers were prosecuted for their third offence or more.