NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse
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NIDA Teaching Guide

Drugs & Health Blog Teaching Guide

Why Use the Drugs & Health Blog?

NIDA supports most of the world’s research on how drug abuse affects the brain and body, including how it leads to addiction. Our blog posts apply this science to real life. Each week, you’ll find new posts that can help you make connections for your middle and high school health and science students between what they see and hear from their friends and what the science has to say on the subject. Posts will also help you incorporate recent research into STEM lessons or teach a cross-curricular skill or strategy. The posts cover a range of topics, including brain science, marijuana and other drug use, celebrity drug use, peer pressure, and more.

Get our weekly emails to keep up with what’s new. And, remember, everything we publish and the resources we list are free. Learn more about the Drugs & Health Blog.

How To Use the Blog in Your Classroom

For informal learning activities, students can read blog posts on their own, either by exploring the different posts online or reading from posts that you preselect.

For more formal instruction, we suggest that you choose one of the blog posts and use the classroom activities and discussion questions listed below to encourage your students to think critically about how drugs and drug abuse can affect them today and the choices they make for tomorrow. You can print out the blog posts or have students access the posts online, if students have computers.

Classroom Activities

  • Discussions. In small groups or as a class, have students read a post and discuss the information using the discussion questions to guide the conversation.
  • Writing Prompts. Ask students to read a post and either comment on the post online or respond to one of the discussion questions. Or, ask students to write a blog post of their own on some aspect of drug abuse or addiction.
  • Research/Presentation Project. Have students select a drug of abuse and research how the drug affects the brain and body. They should give a 10-minute presentation, including a visual, summarizing their research and whether their view of the drug changed based on their research.
  • Debate. Divide the students into two groups. Have them debate two sides of an issue, such as the legalization of a drug or the role of media in drug use.
  • Multimedia Project. Ask students to read several posts and develop a storyboard (scene outline) and script for a podcast, public service announcement (PSA), or video that shares the information they learned. If time allows, teens could break into groups and record the podcasts, PSAs, or videos they developed.

Discussion Questions

  • What did you read that you didn’t know before?
  • Does this blog post change your views? If so, how?
  • How might the information in this post be useful to you?
  • If there was one thing you would want others to know based on what you’ve learned from this post, what would it be?
  • What are some of the risks involved in doing drugs? Do you think about these risks? Why or why not?
  • Discuss what happens when an illegal drug becomes legal. Who benefits from the use of legal drugs? Who suffers? Why?
  • How does media play a role in drug use and addiction? Consider all types of media, including television and movies, social media, and advertisements.