‘Think Before You Drink’

The Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s office has introduced a new safety initiative at local high schools called “Think Before You Drink.” During homecoming season, “Think Before You Drink” allows students to engage in a simulated experience of impairment while learning about the dangers of driving under the influence.

“Think Before You Drink” visited LaGrange High School on Wednesday with fatal vision goggles as part of the school’s homecoming week festivities. Assistant Principal Melissa Enright said homecoming week is a prime opportunity to host such an activity because “students have a little more freedom because it’s a special event. They’re more likely to make a poor decision because they don’t want to go against what the crowd is saying.”

During the event, Carey Chavis, community relations representative for the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s Office, and State Police Troop D spokesman Sgt. James Anderson had students attempt to carry out tasks while wearing the goggles. After struggling to walk a line with the goggles on, student Kaelani Carter said she believes the experience will deter students from drinking and driving because it was “scary” to see just how strong impairment can be.

In a world where alcohol and drug use can both result in deadly outcomes, Chavis said the “Think Before You Drink” initiative aims to warn of the dangers of all illicit substances.

“The goggles show that regardless of what mechanism used, you can still be impaired,” Chavis said.

Principal Samuel Baynes agreed, saying in his 17 years as an educator he has seen students engage in a variety of activities beyond alcohol that result in impairment and ultimately put lives at risk.

“Regardless of what the substance is, if you’re under the influence, you’re under the influence. Communities, parents — we need to sit down with our kids and talk about these issues especially because their brains aren’t fully developed at this stage,” he said.

In addition to refraining from alcohol and drug use, Anderson said it’s important that students remember to always wear seat belts and never ride with an impaired driver.

‘Regardless of what the substance is, if you’re under the influence, you’re under the influence.’

Principal Samuel Baynes

LaGrange High School

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