Classroom Freebies

Need help when you teach about Addiction-- here are 2 great resources


Normally during the teaching of a Drug Unit a teacher:
1.      Provides basic facts in regard to immediate, short term, long term effects of drug(s).  The goal is to convince the students — this is not good for you.

2.      Provides an opportunity for a cost / benefit analysis — look at your goals; is experimenting with drugs worth messing with your future?

3.      Discusses how the absence of serious personal goals, your personality style, and level of self- esteem may affect a student’s vulnerability to peer pressure in conforming to their peers’ interest in experimenting with drugs.
There are a certain percentage of students who absolutely will not use drugs, and there are certain percentages that absolutely will use drugs.  They have already made up their mind. When the opportunity presents itself they will do or not do it, no matter what.   But most people are neutral until they are in a situation where they just flow with the group they happen to be with.  As a teacher, I look for stories / quotes that will activate a students’ imagination, get them thinking about how they want to live their life, or memorable stories that will just haunt them.  Stories / quotes can communicate an acceptable truth, where facts can be denied.

Here are two great resources for stories, anecdotes (short story where someone tells revealing things about themselves or people they know) and memorable quotes you can use in class.
Resource:  DRINKING A Love Story by Caroline Knapp (can be found in your local library)
This may be a good source for high school / college health instructors or counselors.  It is a story of a successful but lost, insecure lady with issues who connects with other lost, insecure people with issues and they do crazy things together / separately while sharing the addiction.  This particular addiction is alcohol, but it could be any addiction.  I’ve provide 3 examples of quotes from the book that can be used to engage your students.  If you read the book you m ay find others that resonate with you.   
This is a great example of a quote to put on the board for the class to consider / discuss / write answers as a class, individually or in a group.
       1.  “NO, is an extraordinarily complicated word when you’re drunk. . .  This is a difficult task for all human beings, but it’s particularly difficult for women and it’s close to impossible for women who drink.”  (This is found on page 74.)

Discussion questions:

  •  Why is saying No difficult for all human beings? *
  •  Is saying No more difficult for women than men?
  • Why is saying No close to impossible for women when they drink?

 Teacher Notes:

 ·        If this isn’t a good explanation of why guys have always tried to get girls drunk, nothing is.
·        If you read only one chapter in the book DRINKING a Love Story, Chapter 6 entitled SEX is the chapter to read. This chapter is a good explanation why inebriation is a necessary component to the Hook-Up Culture.  Think Stanford Rape Case. 
·        For people involved within the Hook-Up Culture, they might look into chapter 8 entitled ADDICTION where they can fill out a questionnaire put together by the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence to determine if a person is in the early, middle or final stage of alcoholism.
2.  “It’s the equation we all lived by, every single alcoholic I know:  
 Discomfort + Drink = No Discomfort.   The mathematics of self-transformation.” 
      (This is found on page 61)


Teacher Notes:

When I see the word Discomfort + Drink, I immediate think insecurity, low self- esteem, what’s the person’s personality style?  Many times someone wants to be transformed because they are not comfortable and accepting of themselves and / or they’re comparing themselves and they come to the conclusion of they are not good enough. 
3.      The disease concept of alcoholism and the opinion that addicted people have not exerted enough WILL power to stop their drinking — The Response to this opinion was
"Next time you have diarrhea, try controlling that."   (This was found on page 54.)

Teacher Notes:

Understanding is about vocabulary.  I never thought of addiction in terms of controlling a diarrhea moment, but this is an excellent, memorable emotional, illustration that connects the words addiction (alcohol), with the lack of will power and diarrhea.  Anyone who has experienced diarrhea knows sooner rather than latter your body will have its will.   At a certain point, restraint is over and the person has no control.
No one plans on being addicted.

Class Activity:

  • Ask the class to call out examples of addictions.  As the class participates, write their answers on the board.
  • Ask the question:  Does anyone plan on being addicted?
  • Using the 3rd quote, have the students describe what each additive behavior (listed on the board) is like.


Alcoholics can’t control how much they drink.  They can’t have just one drink.  They can’t go to a party and drink a coca cola while everyone else is drinking beer, wine or shots.  They drink until. . . .

Someone who is addicted to gambling. . . . or other examples of addictions — drugs, pornography, internet, shopping, video game, plastic surgery, binge eating disorder etc.

Explain that there is freedom in:  drinking a coca cola when everyone is drinking wine or in walking thru a casino and putting a dollar in a slot machine and walking out. 

  • Nobody plans on being addicted to __________ (take your pick).  So, what is your plan for NOT being addicted to ______________ (take your pick)?
  • What are you going to do when the friends you hang with introduce you to any of the addictive options available?

 Other Resources:

An excellent article about:  Drinking A Love Story can be found out the link below.
Personally, I did not read the entire book.  The destructiveness of addiction just got to me. 
 A Good Month for Murder   
I picked up this book at the local library after listening to the author talk about his book. The hook, for me was that — every murder was someway linked to drugs and the gangs that supplied those drugs.  That was the story I would tell my students — when you buy illegal drugs, remember you are linked / supporting the illegal sale / distribution of an illegal product that ruins peoples’ lives.  Your neighborhood may be neat, clean and safe.  But, there are parts of every town / city that are victimized by gangs and are not neat, clean or safe for men, women, children, or the elderly because of the consequences of the drug trade.
This book is a true story of a homicide squad whose job is to solve murders.  This particular homicide squad covered the homicides in Prince George’s county in February 2013.  There were 11 murders in 28 days. That is a lot of murders.

Where you have drugs, you have:  

  1. Gang related activity that involves itself with the distribution / sale of drugs.  Drugs and prostitution go hand in hand. Where you have one, you have the other. 
  2. You have regular customers  (some sale / use the products, some are addicted others are recreational users)
  3. You have regular customers who influence others to join them — sometimes younger brothers / sisters / friends
  4. People who need money to buy drugs but do not have job skills, eventually steal and / or sell their bodies.  (When you have prostitution, you have abortion, babies, toddlers and children.)
  5. Once decent neighborhoods that now have all these categories of people intermingled with people who cannot afford to move to a better neighborhood.   As a result, someone like 71 year old Geraldine McIntyre is stabbed to death during a robbery.   She was stabbed (11times) to death during a robbery.  A heroin addicted / handyman neighbor stole her TV and sold it for $40.   His body demanded more Heroin.
Few People consider these items when they start using drugs:
  • That they will fall in love with the high
  • That they will love the high more than their family, their children, their job, their dignity, their life
  • That they will sell their body to buy their drug of choice
  • That they will steal to buy their drug of choice
  • That they won’t mind being homeless, unbathed, useless, a burden and heartache to their family.

Book reviews:   (I read the entire book.)