Secondary school students today got a first-hand feel of what it is like to be under the influence of marijuana and alcohol, during simulation exercises at the National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA).

The students, under the guidance of NCSA staff members, engaged in activities such as driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, and attempting a basketball throw, through the use of goggles that simulated the effects of the two drugs.

These activities formed part of the NCSA???s observation of Drug Awareness Month, which is currently being celebrated under the theme: Taking Charge of Change.

Drug Education Officer at the NCSA, Brian ???Bumba??? Payne, who assumed the identity of ???Ziggy??? the mascot for the presentation, warned the students against trying out the drugs because of the possibility of them becoming addicted. He explained that each person???s tolerance level to the drug was different.

???Some people would have to take more of the drugs to avoid going through withdrawal symptoms. For some, if they don???t use enough, they are unable to sleep and that is the body???s way of saying ???I must have thing???,??? Mr. Payne pointed out.

Motivational speaker, Imran Richards, also conducted an interactive session with the students, and shared his own personal experience of growing up in a family where every male member smoked marijuana.?????I saw what drugs can do???,??? he said, adding that a lot of people used marijuana and alcohol to fit in.

Warning the students against going down that path, he noted that while the short-term effects included symptoms such as slurred speech, drowsiness, upset stomach and distorted vision and hearing, the long-term consequences could include nerve damage, alcohol poisoning, liver disease, brain damage, and cancer of the mouth and throat.??

???I want you to consider the choices you make carefully before you make them. You don???t want to give yourself over to drugs. Make the right choice,??? he urged.

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