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Marijuana goggles: A scare tactic to promote sobriety?
Approximately 44 percent of high school seniors nationwide report having used marijuana for recreation, the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s 2014 Monitoring the Future Study says. Hancock County, Indiana is aiming to reduce countywide rates of substance abuse through its purchase and implementation of “Fatal Vision” marijuana goggles meant to simulate cognitive impairment individuals have when high.
Though seemingly noble, this effort and the technology behind the goggles have been highly criticized in the media and by advocates nationwide as using scare tactics to promote sobriety. These marijuana goggles are advertised by manufacturers as displaying “…how loss of information processing and altered visual perception might result in potentially severe consequences.”
However, this technology simply prevents the wearer from seeing the color red, making it difficult to complete the driving simulation provided with the goggles. Tim Rutherford, head of the county’s Neighborhoods Against Substance Abuse, believes this interactive technology has the power to prevent teens from engaging in substance abuse. He states, “Anytime you can do… something that’s interactive with them, or something that provides education, that’s great.”
Critics of Hancock County’s use of the “Fatal Vision” goggles argue that this method of dissuading teens from experimenting with marijuana resorts to fear tactics and a distorted version of the truth. Though marijuana use can impair an individual’s ability to drive, it does not keep people from being able to see the color red, which dramatizes the effects it would have when driving with regard to stop lights and street signs. Advocates note that this is reminiscent of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) and the “Just Say No” campaign of the 1990s.
Regardless of the increasing controversy surrounding the marijuana goggles, many teens in the area are eager to include them with the driving simulation in programs through the Hancock County Youth Council and high schools countywide. One local high school senior explains, “It’s a huge problem in our community, underage drinking and use of substances. A lot of friends and teammates I’ve had have gotten caught and I just think it would make our community a better place if we eliminated it.”
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, help is available. Call the Anaheim Drug Treatment Rehab Center today at 714-589-2811 to speak with a professional about treatment centers in your area.