Drugs & Health Blog Teacher's Guide

Why Use the Drugs & Health Blog?

NIDA supports most of the world’s research on how drug use affects the brain and body, including how it may lead to addiction. Our blog posts apply this science to real life. Each week, you’ll find a new post that can help you make connections for your middle and high school health and science students between what they see and hear and what the science has to say on the subject.

The blog 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, peer pressure, and more.

Get our weekly emails to keep up with what’s new. (Go to the Drugs & Health Blog home page and enter your email address in the green box in the right-hand column.) Everything we publish and the resources we list are always free.

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 pre-select.

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 use can affect them today and the choices they make for tomorrow. You can print out the blog posts or have students access them online, if they have computers.

Classroom Activities

  • Discussions. In small groups or as a class, have students read a blog 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 use or addiction.
  • Research/Presentation Project. Have students select a drug topic and research how the drug affects the brain and body. They could give a 5- or 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 (visual outline) and script for a public service announcement (PSA), video, or podcast that presents the information they learned. If time allows, teens could break into groups and record the PSAs, videos, or podcasts 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.