Help Teens Make Healthy Choices – NIDA Toolkit for Counselors and Educators


Educate, Empower, & Identify

What’s in the Toolkit?

This science-based NIDA toolkit provides facts about drugs and their effects for teachers, counselors, nurses, parent- and youth-serving organizations, and anyone with opportunities to educate teens. The science-based information and resources are designed to empower teens with the information they need to make informed decisions about their health.

How To Use the Toolkit

These resources can be used independently or as a comprehensive package. Please feel free to customize them to suit your own drug education activities. If you have any questions or would like to share your experience using any of the following strategies, please contact us.

Educate
Hands raised

Shatter myths and give teens the facts about drugs and their effects on teens’ brains, bodies, and lives.

Empower
Teenage girl flexing

Engage teens in conversations about potential consequences of risky behavior with activities and videos to equip them with the tools they need for critical thinking and decision-making about drug use.

Identify
Mother looking at daughter

School health professionals can identify teens who may be at risk for substance misuse through NIDA’s evidenced-based tools, and find referrals to those in need.

Educate

The Facts

Shatter myths and empower teens with facts about drugs and their effects on teens’ brains, bodies, and lives.

Drug Facts for Teens

Drug Facts

Provides comprehensive information on commonly used drugs—what they are and how they affect the brain, body, and behavior of teens.

Uses: 

Have teens read the information online, or print copies of specific drugs for distributing to teens for discussion and reflection.

Drugs: What They Are

Teenage girl with sticky note on forehand

Gives brief descriptions of more than 15 different types of drugs—what they are and how to recognize them.

Uses: 

Make copies readily available and hand them out during drug use prevention classes, activities, or events.

Drugs: How They Affect the Brain

Brain

Briefly describes how more than 15 different types of drugs affect the teen brain.

Uses: 

Encourage teens to review the facts, and hand them out during after-school club meetings and sporting practices, or during evening all-school events.

Additional Resources

Empower

Teen Behavior

Engage teens in conversations about drug use, peer pressure, and decision-making with activities and videos to help them truly understand the potential consequences of risky behavior.

Drugs: Shatter the Myths (Video 3:45)

Drugs: Shatter the Myth cover

Answers teens most frequently asked questions about drugs and their misuse with scientific facts and engaging images.

Uses: 

Share the video during an assembly to start a conversation, or hand out print copies of the brochure to teens (order free copies).

Teen Discussion on Drug Abuse and Addiction With Dr. Volkow (Video 9:43)

Screencap featuring Dr. Nora Volkow

Presents a frank discussion between NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow and teens about drugs, drug use, and addiction.

Uses: 

Share the video at an after-school club meeting or during a moving night/town hall style event.

Prescription Drug Poster

Poster about prescription drugs

Raises awareness of the health consequences of improper use of prescription drugs. Contrasts it with the benefits of safe and proper prescription drug use.

Uses: 

Hang the poster in hallways, offices, or anywhere teens gather, and print the flyer to distribute at events (order free copies).

Additional Resources

Identify

Screening Tools for Adolescents

School health professionals can identify teens who may be at risk for substance misuse through NIDA’s evidenced-based tools, and find referrals to those in need.

Screening Tools for Adolescents

Screencap of screening tool

Two brief online screening tools can help health care professionals assess for substance use disorders (SUDs) among adolescents 12-17 years old. The BSTAD identifies risky substance use in a specific adolescent; the S2BI identifies the level of risk for each individual.

Uses: 

Work with your school-based and/or non-school based health professionals to have your adolescent take the screener. Follow up with resources to encourage behavior change and treatment referrals.

Engage Parents/Guardians

Mother laughing with teenage son

Provides resources to give to parents and guardians to help them engage with their teens about risky behaviors.

Uses: 

Share with the parent/guardian the resources you provide the teen. Encourage them to visit NIDA for Parents.

Behavioral Health Services Treatment Locator

Screencap of treatment website

Provides contact information for local physicians or treatment programs specializing in addiction and adolescents.

Uses: 

On your own or with the parent/guardian, look up treatment facilities in the teen’s area.

Additional Resources