Opioids and the Overdose Epidemic

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students learn about the serious health crisis involving opioid drugs as well as what is causing it. They also learn that while prescription opioid pain medications can play an important role in a person’s medical care, the medications need to be used with extreme care. Students also gain advice on how to keep themselves and loved ones safe. Includes an adapted version for grades 4-6 reading level. 


What's in the Lesson Plan:

  • Student article
  • Student work sheet
  • Vocabulary list
  • Critical thinking questions
  • Writing prompts

Grade Level(s):

6,  7,  8,  9,  10,  11,  12 

Student Skills Targeted:

  • Understanding of epidemics and evidence to indicate an epidemic
  • Ways to control a drug epidemic
  • Understanding the impact of multiple drug use on overdose rates
  • Learning ways to stay safe if prescribed opioid pain medications
  • Critical thinking

Time / Duration:

  • 1 class period


  • Printer/copier for student handouts

Alignment with National Standards:

  • Common Core State Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards
  • National Science Education Standards


  • English

Teacher's Guide and Student Worksheet