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S. C. Lee students experience feelings of intoxication during Red Ribbon Week

Special to Leader-Press

The use of illicit drugs other than marijuana has dropped by nearly two-thirds among junior high and high school students, reaching its lowest level in over two decades–5.8 percent among 8th graders, 9.4 percent among 10th graders, and 13.3 percent among 12th graders. This is down from peak rates in 1996 of 13.1 percent for 8th graders, 18.4 percent for 10th graders and 21.6 percent for 12th graders in 2001, according to the Institute of Health.
Fort Hood’s Army Substance Abuse Program intends to keep that rate dropping, reaching out to Copperas Cove School District to draw awareness to the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse during National Red Ribbon Week. 
The theme this year is Life Is Your Journey, Travel Drug Free which paired perfectly with the ASAP program. 
Carl Smith, ASAP representative and Veteran’s Affairs counselor, has worked with the Fort Hood program for four and a half years.
“There are three primary drugs that may very well be offered to you during the next few years of your school career: alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs,” Smith told the S. C. Lee Junior High classroom full of eight graders informing them of the startling affects drinking can have on an adolescent. “Each encounter with alcohol stunts a male teen one whole day of development. For a female teen, it stunts her development by a day and a half.”
Smith reviewed state laws regarding underage drinking, drinking and driving, and legal trouble their parents could face because of their children’s choices.  
S. C. Lee students were able to see the effects first-hand the impairment can cause when they wore goggles that simulated the effects of several different inhibitors such as alcohol, methamphetamine, marijuana, and prescription drugs. Not only were the students able to experience a simulated version of the impairment, but they were asked to do a major task while impaired: a driving simulation. 
“I couldn’t see anything. I feel like drugs are bad and they can affect your life in bad ways,” student Skyi Rafferty said.
The ASAP program targets current junior high students and potentially future military members clarifying that prevention is key to avoiding drug and alcohol abuse. 
S. C. Lee student Samantha Duke found the entire presentation, including the driving simulation, a real eye-opener.
“It was definitely harder than expected,” Duke said. “[I learned] not to drink while intoxicated or under the influence of anything.”

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