Students experience effects of drugs, alcohol in simulation exercise

Students experience effects of drugs, alcohol in simulation exercise
Students at Headland High School experience the Drunk Buster Goggle Program
at least 14 underage drinkers have been arrested in other places (Source: Headland Police Dept.)
at least 14 underage drinkers have been arrested in other places (Source: Headland Police Dept.)
Warnings are being posted by other law enforcement agencies (Source: Okaloosa County Sheriff's Dept.)
Warnings are being posted by other law enforcement agencies (Source: Okaloosa County Sheriff's Dept.)

HEADLAND, AL (WSFA) - Students at Headland High School experienced firsthand what it feels like to be four times over the legal drinking limit without ever touching a beer can.

Headland Police Department, Henry County Sheriff's Office, and Headland High School administrators hosted the Drunk Buster Goggle Program.

The two-day event works with about 180 eleventh and twelfth graders at the high school. Students wear goggles that simulate the effects of being buzzed, drunk, under the influence of drugs, or drowsy driving.

"It's a safe way for kids to understand what impairment really means," said Headland Police Chief Mark Jones.

Students wear the goggles while working through stations. They complete simple tasks like walking through cones or stacking cups and soon find out it's not quite as easy under the influence.

"When you put on the goggles, it's totally different," said Kristevia Smith, Junior.

Orry Fleming, a junior at Headland High School, says even something as simple as putting a key in a door and unlocking it was difficult.

"I couldn't even tell how far away the doorknob was or where the keyhole was," Fleming said.

Fleming was wearing goggles that simulated the effects of drugs like LSD, Molly of Ecstasy.

Law enforcement say they want to expose students to the dangers of drugs and alcohol before they encounter them on the other side of the law, or worse.

"It's easy to do it upfront and do it ahead of time before something happens. You want to try to and avoid accidents or addictions," said Jones.

School officials say it's the best time to have programs like this because students will have prom on Friday and Spring Break begins next week.

"We just want to keep every child safe. If it takes time out of the class, this is important because their lives are important to us," said Jason Bradford, Principal at Headland High School.

Warnings from law enforcement from popular Spring Break destinations in Walton County and Okaloosa County are already being posted on social media. Between the two, at least 14 underage drinkers have been arrested, including at least 10 high school students.

Headland Police say around this time they also catch students on break who stay in town.

"During Spring Break, we always have instances. We have arrests coming through with minors in possession of alcohol and drugs," said Chief Jones, "This year we're trying to show them the consequences of what happens,"

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