Pubdate: Thu, 07 Apr 2016
Source: Chatham Daily News, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Chatham Daily News
Author: Ellwood Shreve
Page: A3


Program Educating Students About Dangers of Drugs for More Than 20 Years

Eleven-year-old Emily Malott has never been impaired by drugs or 
alcohol, but she now has a good idea what it would feel like.

The Grade 5 student from Harwich-Raleigh Public School in Blenheim 
tried walking while wearing special goggles that give the sensation 
of being impaired.

She was among the many students unable to walk a straight line while 
wearing the goggles, which was one of the "pit stops" during the 
annual Racing Against Drugs program, held at Erickson Arena in 
Chatham on Wednesday.

"It was really hard to keep my balance," Emily said after taking off 
the goggles.

When asked how she thinks it would feel to really be impaired, Emily 
said: "It would be really hard and I would probably fall over."

Sharon Chapple, co-chair of Racing Against Drugs committee, said more 
than 1,100 Grade 5 students from 44 schools within the public, 
English and French Catholic system, along with Christian schools are 
slated to attend the program, which runs until Friday.

The program includes participation from the Chatham-Kent Police 
Service, Chatham-Kent OPP, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 
Chatham-Kent Fire Service, Medavie EMS, the Chatham- Kent Health Unit 
and Drug Education Alliance to deliver a message about the pitfalls 
of drug and alcohol use.

Chapple said the program also covers such topics as the health damage 
caused from smoking, the benefits of healthy eating along with 
bicycle and bus safety.

She said the program also teaches about caffeine - which is a 
stimulant - in pop, noting, "caffeine is the most used drug anywhere."

Chapple said area school boards have representation on the Racing 
Against Drugs committee, which helps make the program a success. She 
also attributes the fun that kids have learning as a big part of 
keeping the program going strong for more than 20 years.

"I think it's the fact the students get to learn, but it's in such an 
entertaining sort of way that they carry it with them," she said.

Over the years, Chapple said she has run into high school students 
who have told her, "I was some place and someone offered me something 
and I turned it down. I remembered what I learned."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom