Posted Date: 11/29/2019
COPPERAS COVE, TX (October 30, 2019)—S. C. Lee student Taylor Trimm turned the wheel of the pedal cart as hard as she could. She thought she left a wide enough berth that she easily cleared the orange cone that represented a child standing in the street. Instead, she ran over it.
Trimm and other S. C. Lee Junior High students in all grade levels got to experience how a person is impaired through drugs and alcohol through the Fort Hood Army Substance Abuse Program.
Program Director Carl Smith provided pedal carts and driving simulators while the Coryell County Sheriff’s Office provided drug dogs so S.C. Lee students were able to see and feel the intense side effects that using drugs and alcohol can have on their body through hands-on replications.
Khaliyah Harrison realized that hers is not the only life being jeopardized if she drinks alcohol or uses drugs and then attempts to drive a vehicle.
“You should never be selfish and put other peoples’ lives in danger,” Harrison said. “It is important to follow the laws.”
Smith updated students on new laws including Texas Senate Bill 21, increasing the legal age from 18 to 21 for the sale, distribution, possession, purchase, and consumption of tobacco products. Students also learned that, with this new law, they could be issued a child endangerment citation as well as a citation for under-age consumption.
After Smith’s presentation, students received hands-on experience utilizing a driving simulator and driving peddle carts all while wearing googles that impaired vision as would occur when a driver drinks or uses drugs before getting behind the wheel.
Seventh grader Taylor Trimm said it was really difficult to judge where she was driving while wearing the impairment goggles.
“You put a lot of lives in danger when you make the choice to drink or do drugs and drive,” Trimm said.
The Coryell County Sheriff’s Office also demonstrated how the canine unit uses dogs to locate drugs. Various substances were placed through the S. C. Lee gymnasium. The dog would alert when he located the scent of an illegal substance.
S. C. Lee Junior High Counselor Amy Trimm said the hands-on lesson was conducted in conjunction with 2019 National Red Ribbon Week that focused on prevention. The national theme this year is Send a Message--Stay Drug Free.
“Through programs and partnerships with groups such as the Fort Hood Army Substance Abuse Program, students are more informed on the dangers associated with alcohol and drug use, and are more likely to refrain from future usage,” Trimm said.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use, the number of teens and preteens using illicit substances has gradually declined over the past decade since it peaked in the late 1990s. Despite this, more than one in 20 8th-grade students reported using alcohol, marijuana, or illicit drugs in 2018. On average, kids try drugs for the first time when they’re between the ages of 13 and 15.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s 2018 Monitoring the Future survey found the following nation-wide statistics.