Goggles teach dangers of alcohol

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 27, 1999

Arms flailing and feet faltering, children from the Central Alternative School could not walk a straight line Wednesday morning.

About 30 children participated in a Red Ribbon Week alcohol awareness activity at the Margaret Martin School gym co-sponsored by the Mississippi chapter of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Natchez Police Department.

Children wore &uot;Fatal Vision&uot; goggles courtesy of MADD to alter their visual perception and simulate drunkenness.

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&uot;The goggles simulate .08 blood alcohol content,&uot; said Rodger Moore, State Executive Director of MADD. The visual impairment created by the goggles equates to that of a person who has consumed four to five beers within an hour.

&uot;The benefit of the goggles is that they depict impairment without losing judgment,&uot; he said.

At the presentation, children were asked to perform simple tasks without the goggles and then asked to perform the same task with the goggles on. The Natchez Police Department set up several &uot;stations&uot; for basketball free throws, golf putting, walking a straight line, remote control car driving, video game playing and darts.

&uot;It was hard,&uot; said Tyrone Williams, 13, who easily shot a few baskets at the free throw line before putting on the goggles. Then Williams had several shots where the basketball slapped heavily against the backboard.

&uot;I was actually shooting to the right of where the goal was,&uot; Williams said. &uot;It made me feel dizzy.&uot;

Tammy Jenkins, also 13, was at the &uot;walk the straight line&uot; station.

&uot;I was dizzy,&uot; Jenkins said of her zig-zag stroll on and off the while taped line.

&uot;They all failed,&uot; said Natchez Police Officer Jerry Ford, monitor of the &uot;walk the straight line&uot; station. &uot;This is actually the way people act when we stop them and they’re drunk.&uot;

Dr. Carl Davis, Superintendent of the Natchez-Adams School District, also tried out the goggles at the free throw line and left a humbled person.

Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff was on hand to explain the consequences of alcohol consumption in teenagers.

&uot;If we catch you with even one beer in your system, we charge you with DUI and you go to the adult facility,&uot; Huff said.

&uot;If we don’t catch you and a tree does, we’re going to have to zip you up in a bag and ship you off to Greenlawn or George West’s funeral home,&uot; he said.

Huff said Natchez Police is working toward getting several sets of the goggles and continuing the alcohol awareness program in all Natchez schools.

&uot;Natchez Police is looking at an ongoing program to go into all high schools and junior highs,&uot; said Angie Brown, assistant grant coordinator with the Natchez Police Department.