LONDON – Recreational marijuana use has been shown to impair cognitive functions on a number of levels – from basic motor coordination to more complex executive function tasks, such as the ability to plan, organize, solve problems, make decisions, remember, and control emotions and behavior.
Approximately 80 members of the UNITE Service Corps (AmeriCorps), Kentucky National Guard, West Virginia National Guard, and Operation UNITE staff received hands-on training on the Fatal Vision Marijuana Simulation Experience activities provided by Innocorp, Ltd.
In this evidence-based experience, special goggles are used to demonstrate a student’s susceptibility to this impairment and the potential consequences (severity) that may occur.
“Young people need the facts. Scare tactics will not work,” said Nancy Hale, president/CEO of UNITE.
Innocorp Chief Operating Officer Deb Kusmec, Product Development Specialist Tim Jorgensen, and Contract Trainer Dave Andrews, a former police officer, stressed that the Fatal Vision goggles will not “get you high” like those used for alcohol impairment, but focus on the impairments to a person’s cognative abilities.
UNITE incorporates several of the Fatal Vision activities into its school-based education/prevention initiative “On The Move!”
Provided through a partnership with Appalachia High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (AHIDTA) and the Kentucky Army National Guard, “On The Move!” targets students in 7th and 10th grades.
The centerpiece of this initiative is a one-of-a-kind, handicapped-accessible mobile classroom where students are educated about drugs and their effects in a relaxed, small group setting.
In the Simulated Impaired Driving Experience (SIDNE) students utilize a battery-powered go-kart, controlled by a UNITE staff member, to simulate the effects of distraction and impairment from alcohol or other drugs on a motorist’s driving skills.
“On The Move!” instruction meets standards of the Kentucky Core Content areas of Practical Living and Health.
Through October 2016, “On The Move!” has been provided free to 18,754 students at 182 schools in 37 counties across Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.