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Illegal Drugs Lesson Plan

Students Grades 7-8

Step 1: Review “Quick Tips for an Effective Presentation

Step 2: Gather an overall perspective of the issue

  • Review the drug fact sheets found in the Drugs and Alcohol section of the Centre for Youth Crime Prevention.
  • Review the Objectives of this lesson plan.
  • Identify ways that you are personally linked to the subject matter. This presentation is general in nature, and will be more effective if you tailor it to your personal experiences, the audience and your community.

Step 3: Prepare your materials

  • Print the lesson plan.
  • Print required handouts and references. Make a few extra copies just to be sure.
  • Gather all materials mentioned below.
  • Ensure your location has any technology you require (computer, projector etc.)
  • Reference Documents and Handouts:
  • Other Materials:
    • SMART board/chalk board to summarize responses on
    • Chart paper and markers for groups to use
    • Computer/projector to display slides (optional)

Illegal Drugs - Lesson Plan


  • Learn about various illegal drugs (including short and long-term health impacts)
  • Discuss social and legal consequences of drug use
  • Identify strategies for dealing with peer pressure
  • List supports that are available for youth

Time: 60 minutes

Introduction (5 minutes):

Introduce yourself. Tell the students about your job, and why you are here to talk to them. Tell students that in today’s class, they will talk about drugs, the impacts they can have, and ways they can deal with peer pressure to try drugs. Additionally, different supports to help them deal with the issue will be addressed.

Tell students that to begin; you are going to go over the basics of a couple types of illegal drugs they may have heard of.

Activity #1 – Name That Drug

Goal: Students will learn about various illegal drugs (including short and long-term health impacts)
Type: A chart for students to fill out
Time: 15 minutes

Step 1:

Let students know that most drugs can be broken down into three categories:

  • Stimulants are drugs that make you more hyper and alert.
  • Depressants are drugs that cause the body and mind to slow down.
  • Hallucinogens are drugs that disrupt a person’s perception of reality and cause them to imagine experiences and objects that seem real.

Distribute “Activity 1: Label that Drug: Fill-in-the-blanks Chart (7-8.1 Handout)” to students. Tell students they have 5 minutes to read the chart, and fill in the names of the various drugs.

Step 2:

Review correct answers by asking students to share their responses to each number. As you are going through, make sure to discuss each drug, and what information in the chart led them to their label. Answers can be found in Activity #1: Label that Drug: Fill-in-the-blanks Chart (7-8.1 Reference)”.

Activity #2 - Impacts of Drug Use

Goal: Students will examine possible social and legal consequences of drug use
Type: This activity consists of a Scenario and Graphic Organizer for students to fill out
Time: 15 minutes

Step 1:

Put students into small groups.  Tell students that each group will receive a copy of a handout with a scenario on it. Their job is to review the scenario, discuss possible consequences of Alyssa’s decision, and brainstorm things she could have done differently. 

Step 2:

Provide groups with a copy of Activity #2: Scenario: Alyssa’s Saturday Night (7-8.2 Handout)”.  Read the following scenario (also at the top of their handout) aloud to the class. 

Alyssa and a group of her friends head to their classmate Logan's one Saturday night for a small party. Alyssa and her friends each brought a couple coolers to drink that her older brother bought for them. Logan introduces Alyssa to Jen and Grant, who both go to the other middle school across town. Alyssa thinks they are hilarious, and spends most of her time that night with Jen and Grant. Near the end of the night, Grant starts to roll and joint, and asks Alyssa if she wants to join in. Alyssa has never smoked weed before, but has always been curious what it would be like. She says sure; she has a couple hours before her brother is coming to pick her up. When it’s time to go, Alyssa’s friends bug her about not being around all night and ask her where she was as they all pile into her brother's car. Alyssa giggles and jumps in behind them.

Step 3:

Give students about 10 minutes to work with their groups to answer the questions. When the time is up, have each group present their answers to each of the questions. The student responses should be recorded on chart paper, a blackboard or SMART Board.  Samples of possible responses are included in Activity #2: Scenario: Alyssa’s Saturday Night (7-8.2 Reference)”

Step 4:

To conclude this activity, reinforce the messages from Activity #1, in addition to other social and legal impacts drug use can have. Ask students to consider why Alyssa made the decisions she did.

Prompt students by asking questions like the following:

  • Do you think she felt pressured by Jen and Grant to try pot?
  • What do you think her friends would have said if she asked them for advice?

Remind students that sometimes peer pressure can make us get caught up in the moment, and we often forget to stop and think about the long-term consequences. It’s important to remember that there are lasting impacts when we choose to do drugs, whether we plan on driving or not. Remind students that, as in the scenario with Alyssa, it can be hard to resist peer pressure. And, as our discussions revealed, it’s just as easy for things to go wrong.

Facilitator should consider linking to recent stories in the news about youth who experienced negative consequences as a result of drugs (e.g., charged, death, etc.).

Activity #3 – Say This, Not That!

Goal: Students will identify strategies for dealing with peer pressure
Type: A scenario and worksheet for students to fill in
Time: 15 minutes

Step 1:

Put students into small groups and provide each student with a copy of Say This, Not That! (7-8.3 Handout)”.  In their groups, give students 5-10 minutes to come up with 3 to 4 examples of things people may say to try and pressure someone into doing something, and write them in the “Don’t Say That” column. Then, tell students to come up with a witty response to each saying under the “Don’t Say That” column, and write them under the “Say This!” column. The handout has one example included at the top.

Step 2:

When the small groups have recorded their responses, the groups can take turns sharing their “Don’t Say That – Say This” statements. Tell students to fill in the rest of their chart with different options their classmates have come up with.  Some sample responses can be found in the Say This, Not That! (7-8.3 Reference)”.

Step 3:

Conclude this activity by telling students that there are many ways we can deal with peer pressure, and witty statements are just one way. You can also remove yourself from the situation, call a parent or friend if you are stuck somewhere, or make up an excuse. Most importantly, remind students to think about how they treat their friends; make sure they are not pressuring them to try anything. Real friends don’t force you to do things you don’t want to.

Activity #4 – Where to go for help?

Goal: List supports that are available for youth
Type: A worksheet to help youth identify supports around them
Time: 5 minutes

Step 1:

Tell students that sometimes we may find ourselves in situations that we don’t know how to get out of. We might be dealing with problems in our lives and looking for something to help us through them, or simply trying to fit in. Despite the reason, it’s important that we think things through before we do them. We may not want to talk to our friends about some things we’re dealing with, but that doesn’t mean we’re alone; there is always someone who can help.

Step 2:

Provide students with a copy of “Who Can Help? (7-8.4 Handout)”. Tell students to list any sources of support that they can think of. Prompt students by suggesting that they think about people in their life, school, and community while they fill in the page. Give students 5 minutes to complete the worksheet. When they are finished, students will submit their completed exit statement to their classroom teacher.  The teacher should review the exit statements and hand them back out to students during the next class (or post them on the wall in the classroom as a future reference for students).

Conclusion (5 minutes):

To conclude the lesson, summarize the important points and highlights of your discussions throughout the session. Leave the students with information about how to contact you if they have any follow up questions they didn’t want to ask in class.

Pass out the “Student Evaluation Form” to obtain feedback from students on how the presentation went.

Suggestions for Follow-Up Activities:

Students could…

  • Create a podcast to raise awareness about drug use and relevant impacts.
  • Research one source of “support” and present the information to the class.
  • Create an informational pamphlet for younger students to inform them about drug use and identify who they can go to for help.
  • Create their own peer pressure scenarios and then list ways to prevent and resolve the situation.