The Newberry Police Department and the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office are both recipients of two fatal vision marijuana kits thanks to a generous donation from Westview Behavioral Center. Both departments were presented with the kits on August 9 from Hugh Gray, executive director at Westview Behavioral Services.

The kits were a result of a needs assessment Gray said that Westview completed in the Spring for Newberry County.

“One of the things that we’ve seen and kind of known about informally for a couple of years is that the usage of marijuana among young people is growing,” Gray said. “So when we submitted our county plan this year to the state, part of it was to support marijuana prevention activities in the city and the county.”

 After talking with Police Chief Roy McClurkin and Sheriff Lee Foster, Gray said one of the things they were interested in acquiring were marijuana fatal vision goggles to use for education purposes throughout the county. The money from the state was enough to purchase two kits per agency, Gray said.

McClurkin believes this will benefit them with the ability to go out and educate citizens, especially a younger generation on the dangers of driving under the influence, not only of alcohol, but also marijuana.

“This is a great partnership between the Newberry Police Department, the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and Westview in combatting crime and the prevention of illegal drugs, alcohol and DUI’s that we deal with throughout the county,” McClurkin said.

McClurkin said as their partnership continued to grow, they would all do their part in keeping the citizens of the city and county safe.

Foster said these fatal vision kits would be a great tool and give a good example of what happens when you take drugs and get behind the wheel of a car.

“We can stand up and talk in front of crowds and talk to students and tell them the dangers, but unless they can actually see it, it may not have an impact on them if they are considering drinking and driving or using drugs and driving,” Foster said.

A common misconception he said was that marijuana is healthy and is for medicine.

“While there are some medical quantities of it, medical quantities are just like any other drug – you use it for medical purposes only,” Foster said.

When or if it became legal, Foster said it still should never be used before getting behind the wheel of a car.

Gray said he looked forward to all the city and county were going to be able to do for marijuana prevention in the community.

“One of the things we know from working in the community is that one person can’t do it all and one agency can’t do it all,” Gray said. “We’ve got to be partners in everything we do and we really appreciate both Sheriff Foster and Chief McClurkin partnering with us on this as they have on many things throughout the year.”