Resource & Discussion Guide
SECTION I – INTRODUCTION TO SUBSTANCE ABUSE
(Cue VHS or DVD from the beginning and play to the end of Robby’s story. Video length: 14:30).
It should come as no surprise that drugs are an integral part of our everyday lives. Everywhere we turn, we see drugs that are used for pleasure, to treat mental disorders, and to give us relief from pain and the mundane. In one form or another, drugs have been around since the beginning of time. We are a pill-popping, quick-fix culture wanting feel-good answers to complicated problems. What is alarming, however, is that the average age a child smokes his first cigarette is 12, the average age to drink alcohol is 13 and the average age to smoke marijuana is 14. Utah is no exception. Drug use goes up dramatically in the first year of middle school or junior high.
Through classroom activities and instructor-led discussions, students will better understand some of the reasons they or their peers experiment with narcotics, alcohol, tobacco or prescription medications. They will hear Robby’s story, as told by his mother. Robby Nunez died from a heroin overdose at 18.
- Denial - Discuss denial with the class, in terms of what it is and how it may positively or negatively influence their lives. Is denial a healthy attribute? Is there more denial in Utah than in other areas of the country?
- Alcohol – Discuss the impact and consequences of underage drinking.
The following Internet site is an easy tool designed to help teachers and students calculate the toll that serious alcohol problems are taking on their communities.
Using the Internet site shown above:
- Ask students to compare Utah statistics with other states to discover the number of kids who have serious alcohol problems.
- Click on the FAQ link on the left side of the screen. Divide the 19 frequently asked questions among the class and ask students to report on the findings.
- Go to Internet site, www.alchoholfreechildren.orgClick on the “statistics” link found on the left side of the screen. Discuss the information as it relates to alcohol abuse and the child, the family, the school, the community and society.
This Resource & Study Guide is also available as a PDF document suitable for printing. In addition, there is a supplemental document, Drug Definitions & Symptoms (print).