How to Talk to Your Students About Drugs

In the late 1990’s, the formerly popular DARE program was not able to prove its effectiveness in preventing drug use among children and teenagers, but this particular failure does not indicate that educators have no influence over their students when it comes to preventing drug use.

More recent research has shown that, instead of scare tactics, students react positively to honest and open discussions with teachers and other adults. While it’s important to keep your authority and professionalism, forming close relationships with students can provide them with an additional adult in their life whom they can talk to about drug issues without feeling judged or scolded.

Anti-drug messages can be worked into lesson plans across subject areas as well:

  • Science classes can explore the effects of drugs on the brain and body.
  • Language classes can make anti-drug pamphlets for younger kids and teens.
  • Health classes can focus on the importance of keeping a strong body and mind.
  • Social Studies classes can explore the uses of drugs in different times and cultures and their effects on history (for example: The Opium Wars, or the prevalence of marijuana and heroin use among American soldiers in Vietnam).

Audio & Visual Aids for Drug Use Preventoin

Below is a list of free, online drug education resources teachers can use and integrate into lesson plans.

“The Doubles” episode series was created specifically for older elementary and middle school students to learn about drugs and alcohol use while following the adventures of a group of young bandmates.

The “Above the Influence” site contains inspirational quotes, drug-fact quizzes and social media resources to get older kids and teens involved in the anti-drug movement.

The “Sara Bellum” blog was created to reach and educate teens about the effects of drug use.

Mind Over Matter” lesson plans, created by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, explain the effects of specific drugs, such as opiates, hallucinogens, and cocaine.

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