Activities for Middle School Drug Abuse Awareness
Adolescents must have reliable information about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in order to make healthy choices. The following activities do not preach and run the risk of turning kids off. Instead, students are actively engaged and get excellent information that can positively influence what they decide about drug and alcohol use.
1 National Institute for Drug Abuse
The National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIAD) site is a collaboration between teens and scientists, making the information both relevant and on target. In one section, real teens tell their own stories about using steroids and ecstasy. Interactive quizzes, games and animations make learning the facts about drugs and alcohol an engaging activity and not a dreaded homework assignment.
The American Council for Drug Education website also has an interactive quiz about drugs that can be printed out.
2 Role Plays About Drugs and Alcohol
Middle schoolers are, by nature, dramatic and full of emotion. Tap into that energy by creating role playing opportunities. Set up a scenario where a student must resist peer pressure. Have watchers and participants talk about what the student does and how he feels afterward.
Another idea is for a student to pretend she is talking to her grandchildren about tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. Focus on what each student thinks she would share about these issues and discuss the ways students would want their loved ones to react to pressure and temptation to do drugs or drink alcohol.
With a bit of tweaking, these role plays can be turned into writing assignments.
3 School-Wide Drug-Free Lifestyle Activities
Hold a school-wide contest to see who can write the best drug-free lifestyle slogan. Have students vote for the top 10 slogans and decorate gathering areas at the school with posters featuring the winning slogans.
Designate dress-up days to support anti-drug slogans; for example, let students wear slippers on Give Drugs and Tobacco the Slip day or crazy socks for Sock it to Drugs day.
4 Web Drug Risk Assessment Report
Have middle schoolers use the Internet to do a report on a particular drug. Ask students to assess the risks of their selected drug from the perspectives of safety, legal issues and attitudes and values. Let students determine the level of risk involved with the drug they research and decide if the drug should be used. Students can present a report to the class with their findings.
5 WatchKnow.org--Watchable Media
WatchKnow is a database of educational media selected by educational professionals. A short description and viewer ratings are provided for each clip. Video clips, flash animations and PowerPoint presentations are organized by subject matter. Teachers can search the health section for clips suitable for middle school students that match lesson plans on drugs, or students can use the site to do their own research.