Teacher’s Guide for NIDA Resources

Why Use NIDA Resources?

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 NIDA for Teens activities apply this science to real life. Each resource can help you inform your middle- and high-school students about what science has to say on drug-related topics they’re hearing about from their peers, parents, and the media. 

Everything NIDA publishes is free. Get our weekly emails to keep up with what’s new. (Go to the Drugs & Health Articles home page and enter your email address in the box in the right-hand column.) 

How To Use NIDA Resources in Your Classroom or Online 

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

For more formal instruction, you might choose one of the articles or videos and, using the activities and discussion questions below, encourage your students to think critically about how drug use may affect them today and tomorrow, as well as learn about the stigma that affects people with addiction. Stigma can play a critical role in preventing people from talking about addiction and seeking treatment due to fear of judgement or blame. Engaging in conversations about drug use and using person-first language—which focuses on the person rather than their illness—can help reduce or avoid stigma. You can print out the articles or have students access them online.

Activities

  • Discussions. In small groups or as a class, have students read an article or watch a video and discuss the information in it, using the discussion questions below to guide the conversation. 
  • Writing Prompts. Ask students to read an article or watch a video and respond to one or more of the discussion questions in writing. Or, ask students to write an article of their own on an aspect of drug use or addiction, using Drugs & Health Articles and NIDA’s Drug Facts
  • Research/Presentation Project. Ask students to select a drug topic and research how the drug affects the brain and body. They could give a brief presentation, including a visual, summarizing their research and whether their view of the drug has changed based on what they learned. 
  • Multimedia Project. Ask students to read several articles and/or watch videos 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 learn that you didn’t know before? 
  • Does having this information change your views? If so, how? 
  • If there was one thing you would want others to know based on what you’ve learned, what would it be? 
  • What are some of the risks involved in doing drugs? Do you think much about these risks? Why or why not? 
  • How does media play a role in drug use and addiction? Consider all types of media, including social media, TV/streaming shows and movies, music, books, and advertisements. 
  • What can people do to alleviate the stigma around addiction?