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Suffolk County Police Department Officer Talks Alcohol Awareness at Great Hollow MS

A student wears
A student wears "drunk goggles" and experiences the sensation of walking in a line while impaired.

Suffolk County Police Department officer Tom DiLena shared with Great Hollow Middle School sixth graders the importance of avoiding alcohol consumption.

DiLena explained to students on Wednesday that their brain continues to develop through age 25, so having alcohol at a young age can stunt brain development and also lead to increased addiction.

Plus, he noted, it’s not legal to buy, sell or use alcohol under the age of 21.

DiLena’s visit was part of a continued partnership between the Suffolk County Police Department and the Smithtown Central School District.

He spoke with other grades at Great Hollow on Wednesday about internet safety and cyberbullying as well as gateway drugs such as over-the-counter medicine and prescription drugs.

DiLena intends to visit Nesaquake Middle School on March 16 and Accompsett Middle School on April 6 for similar presentations.

DiLena told the students that alcohol can cause loss of balance and coordination, blurred vision and slurred speech, slow learning, short-term memory lapses, violent behavior and poor judgment. It also impairs reaction time.

The officer also explained the county’s Good Samaritan Law, and encouraged students to call 911 if someone needs medical assistance because of alcohol or drug use. If 911 is called for an overdose, DiLena said, officers and other first responders will save the person and people involved won’t get into trouble.

“Saving a life is more important than making an arrest,” DiLena noted.

Students learned about the components of a field sobriety test. The students particularly enjoyed trying “drunk goggles,” which simulate the sensation of being drunk, as they tried to walk in a straight line.

Date Added: 3/9/2022