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Lesson Plans

Acids, Bases and Cocaine Addicts

Created by : 
Duke University Medical Center, The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

This interactive module introduces high school students to basic biology and chemistry principles using the pharmacokinetics of cocaine and crack cocaine. Students learn how the structure of a drug affects whether it can be smoked and whether it can pass through a biological membrane. Also included is how the connections between the circulatory system and the lungs govern the speed at which drugs are delivered to the brain and differences in effects of drug that enter the brain quickly and those that enter more slowly. This is one of six modules from the Pharmacology Education Partnership that helps high school students learn biology and chemistry concepts through the study of drugs.

What’s In the Lesson Plan: 

  • 1 interactive module
  • Teacher instructional guide and notes
  • Content background information
  • Student handout
  • Classroom activities
  • Additional resources

Grade Level(s): 


Student Skills Targeted: 

  • Basic principles of acids and bases
  • Knowledge of the properties of a drug that define it as a weak acid or a weak base
  • Basic anatomy of the circulatory system
  • Understanding of how drugs distribute throughout the body

Time / Duration: 

  • 1-2 class periods


  • Computer with Internet access per 1 or 2 students
  • Printer/copier for printable module worksheet and answer guide

Alignment with National Standards: 

  • Next Generation High School Physical Science Standards
  • Common Core State Standards


  • English