Resource & Discussion Guide
SECTION III – ADDICTION
(Cue VHS to begin at 26:54 or DVD to Chapter 3) This section begins with the following narration: “Addiction can be the frightening result from what started as simple curiosity.” The clip ends after the personal story of a man addicted to prescription pain medication. (Video length: 18:00)
Many people view drug abuse and addiction as strictly a social problem. Parents, teens and other members of the community tend to characterize people who take drugs as morally weak. They believe that drug abusers and addicts should be able to stop taking drugs if they are willing to change their behavior.
Addiction begins when an individual makes a conscious choice to use drugs, but addiction is not just “a lot of drug use.” Scientific research shows that not only do drugs interfere with normal brain function, creating powerful feelings of pleasure, but they also have long-term effects on brain metabolism and activity. This lesson will provide insight into what addiction is, how it feels and how the brain interprets the substances.
- Taking Risks. Taking risks is part of life. There are risks in almost everything we do.Engage students in a discussion centered on the following questions.
- What risks would you be personally willing to take?
- What risks are you personally unwilling to take?
- What would make you change your mind?
- What influences you most in making your decisions?
- How do you empower somebody to make good choices?
- Do you think making good choices takes away an individual’s freedom or provides more?
- Think of some bad choices you made.
- What were the consequences
- For you
- For others
Seldom does a day go by that we do not encounter references to various types of addictions. Discuss addictions such as gambling, shopping, eating, tobacco, alcohol and drug use and the impact these addictions have on the lives of the addicted, their families and society.
- The following interactive Internet site is designed for students in grades 6-10. This site includes information on how drugs affect the brain, drug facts, personal stories, activities and teacher support material. http://teacher.scholastic.com/scholasticnews/indepth/headsup
- For high school students, the following Internet site contains science-based facts on drug abuse and addiction. http://www.nida.nih.gov/infofax/infofaxindex.html
For the following activities, students will need access to computers, either in the classroom or in the computer lab.
- The Reconstructors , http://reconstructors.rice.edu is a problem-based adventure game engaging the player in the role of scientist, historian, geographer and detective. There are several consecutive episodes, each with its own learning objectives. The knowledge gained from each episode will help students make better, more informed health choices when it comes to avoiding drugs of abuse.
- Locate Internet site http://reconstructors.rice.edu
- Click on Episode III: A Plaguing Problem
- Play the game
Teaching material for this site is available by clicking on “teacher pages” at the top of the screen or the direct address is http://reconstructors.rice.edu/recon1/lessons/Recon-TM3.pdf
- Addiction Activities – The Reconstructors
Activity One – “It’s all in the Cards.” In this activity, the students will play a game that will help demonstrate that a person never knows at what point addiction will occur.
Steps: Locate Internet site:
http://reconstructors.rice.edu/recon1/lessons/recon-TM5.pdf Scroll down to pages 8-12 for a description of the activity and the game rules.
- Activity Two – “Changing a Life.” In this activity, the students will discuss the different environmental, behavioral, social and genetic influences that determine whether a person becomes addicted to drugs.
Steps: Locate Internet site:
Scroll down to pages 13-17 for a description of the activity.
Activity Three – “Balancing Act.” In this activity, the students will model how long-term opiate use leads to tolerance and dependence.
- Steps: Locate Internet site: http://reconstructors.rice.edu/recon1/lessons/recon-TM5.pdf
- Scroll down to pages 18-22 for a description of the activity.
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).