Lesson Plans

Prescription Pain Medications: What You Need to Know

Created by : 
Scholastic and the National Institute on Drug Abuse

This lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, explains how opioid pain medications work in the body and discusses the risks of addiction and overdose. A worksheet has students analyze data on opioid prescriptions and overdose deaths. Critical thinking questions help students think through how opioids work in the brain, how opioid abuse might lead to heroin use, and what constitutes prescription drug abuse.

What’s In the Lesson Plan: 

  • Student article
  • Worksheets
  • Critical-thinking questions
  • Writing prompts
  • Additional reading selections and online sources

Grade Level(s): 


Student Skills Targeted: 

  • Understanding how opioids work in the brain
  • Understanding the risks of opioid use
  • 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