Goss was primary sponsor of measure to ban the sale and manufacturing of ‘Alcohol Without Liquid’ devices in North Carolina
By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
October 29, 2015
BOONE – A former State Senator from Boone, Steve Goss, has passed away after a short bout with cancer. Goss died on Monday and was only 65 years old.
He served as a democrat for the counties of Alexander, Ashe, Watauga and Wilkes for two terms in the North Carolina Senate (2007-2010). He was defeated for re-election by Republican Dan Soucek in 2010.
As an ordained Southern Baptist minister for over 40 years, Goss had served churches in Ashe, Watauga, Duplin and Montgomery counties, as well as Martinsville, Virginia. He was serving as the senior pastor of Fletcher Memorial Baptist Church in Jefferson at the time of his death. He had also served as a missionary in Tokyo, Japan, during the 1980s.
Goss earned a Bachelor of Science in social sciences with a minor in education from Appalachian State University in 1972. He received a Masters of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary ten years later in 1982.
“Although we didn’t have contact after he left the North Carolina General Assembly, I considered Steve Goss a friend,” said Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “I always thought of him as a thoughtful individual who saw himself as a bridge builder. I think there were many issues within his own party with which he disagreed, as well as that of the Republicans. But he was keen on trying to determine where there was common ground. I’m saddened to hear of his passing, but I rejoice in his home-going. I trust that supporters of the Christian Action League will remember his family in their prayers.”
Dr. Creech also added that Goss was the primary sponsor of an initiative spearheaded by the Christian Action League in 2007 to ban the sale and manufacturing of AWOL machines in North Carolina. AWOL is an acronym for “Alcohol Without Liquid.”
An AWOL machine is a device invented by British entrepreneur Dominic Simler that consists of an oxygen generator and a hand-held vaporizer. The user pours his or her favorite alcoholic beverage into the machine which is mixed with the oxygen to produce a mist that is inhaled through the mouth. The device allows alcohol to enter into the bloodstream through the lungs and go directly to the brain.
While AWOL marketers have argued that the effects are the same as from drinking alcohol “only milder,” many medical experts strongly disagree, describing intoxication as quick and intense. Because the alcohol bypasses the stomach and the liver, the devices also make it much easier to overdose. Alcohol vaporizers are associated with the abuse of alcohol – fast tracking the mind-altering effects of alcohol and at the same time side-stepping the hangover or calorie intake.
Dr. Creech said he first learned about the machines and their dangers while attending a convention of the American Council on Alcohol problems in Salt Lake City nine years ago. He explained his concern then was that the machines were being sold across the country and manufactured in Greensboro.
“After returning from the convention I urged the Senate leadership at the time to do something about these machines, which were clearly for the party scene and a short-cut to getting wasted. I was thrilled when Goss took up the fight,” said Dr. Creech.
Goss said at the time, “The passage of the Alcohol Inhalers or AWOL bill is a significant step forward by our state in fighting the terrible dangers and results of alcohol abuse. The AWOL machine is dangerous in that it is marketed to appeal to youth and college students and its demise in North Carolina is an answer to prayer for me and many other North Carolinians. I am especially grateful to Rev. Mark Creech and the Christian Action League of North Carolina for bringing the existence of these machines to my attention. It has been a privilege partnering with them in the ongoing battle against the dangers of alcohol.”
According to his obituary former Sen. Goss was preceded in death by his parents, four brothers, and a granddaughter. He is survived by his wife, Phyllis, two children and their spouses: Andy and Kaleigh Goss of Crestview, Florida, and David and Kelly Sechrist of Wilmington, as well as five grandchildren, a brother and a sister.
Visitation with the family will be held at Boone Family Funeral Home in West Jefferson on Thursday from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The funeral is slated for Friday at 11:00 am at Fletcher Memorial Baptist Church in Jefferson.
In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to be made to Fletcher Memorial Baptist Church, P.O. Box 65, Jefferson, NC 28640 or Caldwell Hospice, 902 Kirkwood Street, NW, Lenoir, NC 28645.