“We call them crashes because somebody is making a decision to get behind the wheel of a car while impaired, and they are causing the injury or death of someone else. They don’t drink and drive by accident,” says Const. Cormier.
Drugs and Organized Crime Awareness Service (DOCAS), from Halifax, organizes the presentations with the RCMP. DOCAS facilitates drug awareness sessions at schools in the province throughout the year.
The presentation included five stations, “each with a different drug-awareness message,” says Const. Cormier from the Queens County RCMP detachment.
One station was a presentation about marijuana use and how it affects people’s ability drive. Another station provided information about synthetic drugs and the dangers associated with them. At a third station students watched a video about a car accident and talked about impaired driving. The video is part of a series called Preventing Alcohol Risk-Related Trauma in Youth. At another station, Rick Anderson, drug prevention specialist at Addiction, Prevention & Treatment Services in Halifax, talked about choices.
“It talks to youth about important decisions and how important all decisions are in shaping their future,” says Const. Cormier.
“The last station is a relay-race station wearing fatal vision goggles.”
Students began with weaving in and out of pylons on a scooter board. Next they shot a basketball at the net, spun in circles and merged among pylons to the finish. While participating in the course, many students had trouble keeping their balance and getting the ball close to the net because of the goggles.
“This is probably the nearest way that we can facilitate how a person feels while impaired while not actually introducing alcohol or (a) real vehicle,” says Const. Cormier.
The lenses in the goggles are blurred to depict what it might feel like to be impaired.
The program, says Const. Cormier, targets grades 9 and 10 students.
“Students find the day informative,” says Const. Cormier.
Things are kept upbeat so students can get information they need to know.
“At the end of the day the consequence could be death, but we need to teach them in a way that they’re going to respond,” says Const. Cormier.
The Queens County RCMP detachment tries to hold the presentations about twice a year. Another presentation is slated to take place at North Queens Community School in January.
For more information about DOCAS, visit http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/docas-ssdco/index-eng.htm.