To get more Team Edwards members acquainted with the dangers of driving while under the influence, the 412th Test Wing Mental Health clinic and Family Advocacy office, along with the Ground Safety office, held a unique National Alcohol Awareness Month event at the Base Exchange parking lot April 18.
The event offered participants and casual observers the opportunity to don “drunk goggles” that simulated different levels of alcohol intoxication while operating a low speed vehicle.
“Throughout the month of April, we’ve had awareness booths and handed out information to people who have questions,” said Gwen Turner, 412th TW Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program substance abuse prevention specialist. “Today’s event was unique, because what we’re hoping to do here is help people understand that alcohol is a drug, and when used behind the wheel of a car, they’re taking a lot of risk that they may not readily know. This interactive demo allows the participant to gain more of a first-person perspective without putting anyone in immediate danger.”
In addition to the interactive demonstration, representatives from the hosting units reminded individuals of the resources available to them in case they found themselves under the influence.
“There are studies that show people who have a plan or two in place are most likely to avoid drinking and driving,” added Turner. “In case you do find yourself under the influence, there’s always Airmen Against Drunk Driving, which is a non-punitive program that anyone can call in case of an emergency. The only thing the person calling has to provide is answers to four simple questions.”
The four questions are:
1. Where is your location?
2. How many people in your party?
3. First name or how will we be able to recognize you?
4. Where will we be taking you?
Another resource Turner mentioned was the www.drinkingiq.org website.
“We’re always encouraging people to do self-assessments. The drinkingiq.org website allows the person to go and receive a diagnosis,” Turner said. “If it tells them they need help, then we are here to help them work through that.”
On April 26, the ADAPT and Ground Safety office will host a similar event but with a remote control vehicle that will allow members to use the “drunk goggles” while simultaneously operating the remote controlled vehicle. The event will be held in front of the Shoppette from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information on what National Alcohol Awareness Month resources are available to the base community, contact the Mental Health Flight at (661) 277-5291 or 5292.