Look and learn about alcohol

3rd September 2004 at 01:00
Ever wanted to know what the world looked like after a night on the alcopops - without the dreadful after-effects?

Shropshire teenagers are getting the chance to do just that with special specs - real "beer goggles" - which distort their vision. They then take part in role-playing exercises and discover that performing even the simplest tasks can become difficult after a drink.

Funded by Oswestry Crime Reduction Partnership, the programme is entering its second year and has apparently been a hit with the town's teenagers.

The scheme, which was thought up by alcohol outreach worker Elise Hibbert and substance misuse adviser Ian Fulcher, also involves interactive quizzes, competitions and videos.

Ms Hibbert said: "There are certain areas of Oswestry where young people, who are generally under age, gather to drink, which has led to complaints from local residents about anti-social behaviour and fear of crime.

"By going into schools and colleges, the team has been able to gain the trust of young people and build relationships with them, which has resulted in a great deal of success for the project.

"We have now received funding to continue our work into next year and I hope to build on the solid foundations we have put in place."

In a similar scheme in Glasgow earlier this year, organised by the city council and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, residents were asked to try goggles in a bid to cut drink-driving.

The programme targeted people in their late teens and early 20s.

The goggles, known as Fatal Vision Simulators, cost about pound;250 for a set of six.

A study from the Schools Health Education Unit, published two weeks ago, found that up to a fifth of 10 to 11-year-olds, 25 per cent of 12 to 13-year-olds, and 43 per cent of the 14 to 15-year-olds had consumed at least one alcoholic drink during the previous week.

The off-licence is the most important source of purchased alcohol, especially for the 14 to 15-year-olds, followed by the pub or bar.

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