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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 March, 2005, 10:17 GMT
Teens 'shocked' by alcohol dolls
Foetal Alcohol Syndrome doll
Youths must care for the Foetal Alcohol Syndrome doll
Robotic dolls that behave like babies addicted to drugs and alcohol are being used to teach teenagers on Teesside the dangers of drink and drugs.

The dolls simulate the appearance of babies born with foetal alcohol syndrome and addicted to drugs

They shake and scream as they go through withdrawal and teenagers in the area will be asked to look after them single handedly for two nights.

The scheme is run by the Fairbridge charity from its Middlesbrough base.

The normal dolls used by the charity weigh 7.5lbs but the drug and alcohol dolls weigh 3.5lbs.

'Shock effect'

Linda Porter, from the charity on Teesside, said: "They are very much thinner than the normal baby doll, the chest is very caved in and internal organs are a lot smaller and the drug baby goes through withdrawal symptoms.

"It is very much a shock effect for the young people because they are not expecting it at all. Next to a normal baby you can tell straight away it is not right."

The charity works with young people across Teesside and the dolls are programmed for a two-night period while the young people attend the course.

Ms Porter said: "The teenagers beg quite often but the dolls can't be turned off.

"You can tell young people many times about the effects of drugs and drink and then they are given these babies and see the effects for themselves."

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