Virtual reality used to keep kids away from drugs

Virtual reality, once the preserve of science fiction, is to be used in Limavady to help young people decide not to take drugs.

Limavady Policing and Community Safety Partnership is working with the Divert Project to deliver a hard hitting virtual reality experience, showing the dangers associated with taking so called legal highs.

‘Is that You?’ is an innovative new age technology project, developed by the Divert Drug and Alcohol Project around the growing issue of New ​Psychoactive S​ubstances (NSP’s)​.

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Using cutting ed​ge technology, the experience allows young people to see first-hand what it would be like to be affected by NPS’s.

Divert Project coordinator Ryan Tracey explained how it works.

Participants will be completely immersed in a simulated situation where they take NSP’s and suffer fatal consequences.

“By taking part, the young person will go on a very claustrophobic, personal journey… allowing them truly feel that this scenario is real life.

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“At Divert, we recognise that in order to achieve meaningful education on these new emerging drugs, we need to take radical steps to ensure the safety of young people.

“Whilst our approach is creative and innovative, it carries the same important messages of previous programmes. Drugs have the potential to cause death.”

The drug and alcohol service coordinator said that there has been a recent increase in the consumption of new ​psychoactive substances.

“It is deeply concerning,” said Ryan. “Whilst a wide range of organisations are proactively tackling issues surrounding NSP’s, Divert have developed this programme to address the issue of making informed choices. The ‘Is that You?’ programme will be an uncomfortable experience for most as it sets about portraying the very real consequences of taking NSP’s. In terms of the education that is currently available on NSP’s, this programme is on another level. We are delighted to be working with Limavady PCSP again on this important issue.”

The project will be rolled out across all post primary school education providers in the Limavady borough.