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Drugs: Use, Abuse and Addiction - Lesson Plan (Grades 9 & 10)

Note: Contact us by e-mail to receive the Lesson Plan PDF version. Requests will be answered between 7:00am and 3:00pm, Monday to Friday.


  • To learn about various drugs.
  • To identify risk factors and protective factors associated with substance abuse (drugs and alcohol).
  • To discuss what addiction is and the consequences of it.
  • To determine behaviours that increase well-being and allow students to achieve life goals.


Reference documents are found at the end of this lesson plan.


Other Materials:

  • SMART board/chalk board to summarize responses on
  • Chart paper and markers for groups to use
  • Computer/projector to display slides (optional)
  • Masking tape


  • Introduction: 5 minutes
  • Activity #1: Name that Drug 10 minutes
  • Activity #2: Recognizing the Risks 15 minutes
  • Activity #3: Scale of Addiction Use 10 minutes
  • Activity #4: Consequences of Addiction 15 minutes
  • Activity #5: Now, it's Your Choice 5 minutes
  • Conclusion 5 minutes

Total: 60 minutes

Presenter Preparation:

  • Review the Drugs and Alcohol section of the Centre for Youth Crime Prevention.
  • Review the Objectives of this lesson plan.
  • Identify ways in which 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.
  • Guest speakers can really have an impact. If there is someone in your community who has been impacted by substance abuse, invite them to speak with the youth. You may also want to consider inviting an RCMP member from the drug section. Please note: Activities will need to be removed or modified to ensure that the time allotment is respected.
  • Print the lesson plan and reference documents.
  • Print required handouts. Make a few extra copies just to be sure.
  • Ensure your location has any technology you require (computer, projector, SMART board, etc.)


A) Introduction

  • Introduce yourself.
  • Tell the students about your job and why you are there to talk to them. Tell students that in today's class, they will talk about substance abuse, its impacts and ways they can deal with peer pressure related to substance use and abuse. Additionally, different supports to help them deal with the issue will be addressed.
  • If you are a police officer, briefly discuss the role of police officers when it comes to substance abuse (i.e. your experience dealing with youth and substance abuse issues).
  • Pass out one index card to each student. Explain that this card is to be used for students to write down any question they may have. The presenters will collect them towards the end of the presentation and answer the questions anonymously in front of the group.

B) Activity #1: Name that Drug

Goal: Students will learn about various drugs (including short and long-term health impacts). 
Type: Information chart and discussion
Time: 10 minutes

Step #1:

  • Cut out the drug types and their matching definitions from Activity #1: Name that Drug (9-10.1 Reference) and place them out of order on the board.
  • Explain to students that different types of drugs have different effects on our bodies.
  • Let students know that most drugs can be broken down into three categories:
    • Stimulants: Drugs that make the user hyper and alert.
    • Depressants: Drugs that cause a user's body and mind to slow down.
    • Hallucinogens: Drugs that disrupt a user's perception of reality and cause them to imagine experiences and objects that seem real.

Step #2:

  • Ask students to match up the fact with the drug as a class. Go over the answers.
  • Ask the students to read over the handout Activity #1: Name that Drug (9-10.1 Handout) and start a discussion based on what the students read. Encourage all students to participate to the discussion by asking questions, such as: "What is a drug?" "What do drugs do?" "What happens when a person uses drugs?" "What are drugs used for?" "Do drugs affect everyone in the same way?" "Can drugs be prescribed by a doctor?"

C) Activity #2: Recognizing the Risks

Goal: Students will recognize protective and risk factors associated with substance abuse and addiction and learn the importance of resilient factors.
Type: T-chart and group activity
Time: 15 minutes

Step #1:

Step #2:

  • Create a chart on the SMART board, chalkboard or overhead with two titles: (1) Risk Factors & (2) Protective Factors. Ask students to identify examples of risk factors when it comes to substance abuse, alcohol and addiction and record their answers. Then ask students to identify some examples of protective factors that could be associated with not using drugs and alcohol or getting addicted. Use Activity #2: Recognizing the Risks (9-10.2 Reference) as a guide.

Step #3:

  • If time allows, give each group playing cards and tell them to work together to make a card house for 5 minutes.
  • Explain that in this activity, each card represents a protective and resilience factor, and when those factors fail or diminish the structure will fall.

D) Activity #3: Path to Addiction

Goal: Students will discuss how addiction can impact a person's lifestyle.
Type: Discussion and group activity
Time: 10 minutes

Step #1:

  • Ask students to define what addiction is as well as the substances a person can become addicted to.
  • Make sure to include that both drugs and alcohol can be addictive.
  • Explain to students that addiction is an ongoing process. Addiction may present its challenges at different times over many years in a user's life.
  • Write each stage on a different piece of paper. Ask for 5 volunteers to come to the front of the class and give each student a stage.
  • Have the student volunteers work together to arrange themselves in the order that they think the scale of addiction occurs in.

Step #2:

E) Activity #4: Consequences of Addiction

Goal: Students will examine the consequences of addiction on all facets of life.
Type: 5 corners activity and group discussion
Time: 10 minutes

Step #1:

  • Separate the students into 5 different groups.
  • Have the students get into their groups and give each group a piece of chart paper. Assign each of the five groups one of the topics: (1) Family, (2) Friends & Recreation, (3) School & Jobs, (4) Physical & Emotional Health, and (5) Financial. Have each group write the topic on their piece of chart paper.
  • Ask each group to brainstorm and record the consequences of an addiction relating to their topic.
  • Give the groups 5 minutes to come up with a hashtag that represents how they might be affected in that aspect of their life.
  • Discuss answers with the group.

F) Activity #5: Now, it's Your Choice

Goal: Students will commit to a healthy lifestyle
Type: 5 corners activity and group discussion
Time: 15 minutes

Step #1:

Step #2: (Homework)

G) Conclusion

  • To conclude the lesson, summarize the important points and highlights of your discussion throughout the session.
  • Collect all index cards from students. Take some time to answer any questions from the cards that the students may have had.
  • Leave students with information about how to contact you if they have any follow up questions they didn't want to ask in class.

Reference documents

Activity #1: Name that Drug (9-10.1 Reference)

Name Definition
Cannabis This drug may slow down mental reactions and impair short-term memory, and emits a strong odor with use. Impairment by this drug is different for every individual.
Cocaine/Crack This stimulant comes in powder, crystal, and rock form
Spice This man-made hallucinogen is created by mixing drugs and chemicals to mimic the effects of marijuana
Acid This hallucinogen has a range of effects including "pseudo-hallucinations" where you're aware that the images aren't real
Heroin This depressant causes your skin to itch and a decreased reaction to pain
Magic Mushrooms This "natural" hallucinogen can cause you to mix up senses, for instance "hearing" colours or "seeing" sounds (source:
Ketamine This hallucinogen can cause you feel "out-of-body" or "near death" experiences
Ecstasy Also known as MDMA, this drug is both a hallucinogen and a stimulant
Meth This hallucinogen can cause your mouth and teeth to decay (source:

Activity #2: Recognizing the Risks (9-10.2 Reference)

Risk Factors Protective Factors
  • Family members who abuse drugs or alcohol
  • Becoming involved in substance use at an early age
  • Physical trauma or abuse
  • Distance from parents/ guardians
  • Unclear rules at home
  • Friends who encourage use
  • Conflict with family or friends
  • Bullying
  • Low grades
  • Peer pressure
  • Strong self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Strong family values
  • Supportive family
  • Parents who monitor their children; what they are doing and who they are with
  • Participating in extra-curricular activities
  • Ability to cope with stress
  • Rules and expectations at home
  • Positive relationships with friends and family
  • Friends who are not involved with drugs or alcohol
  • Having good grades

(Adapted from: Alberta Health Services

Activity #3: Scale of Addiction Use (9-10.3 Reference)

Level Characteristics

No Use

No substance use.


Includes experimentation to see what it's like and recreational use also can occur.


Problems associated with using the substance begin to appear; or, the substance (such as medication) is not being used as it was originally intended.


Use is more frequent and obsessive behaviour starts.


Choice of use is no longer an option and has become a way of life.

(Adapted from: Alberta Health Services

Activity #4: Consequences of Addiction(9-10.4 Reference)

Personal Areas Affected Consequences


  • Tension and arguments between family members
  • Lack of trust
  • Avoidance
  • Incidences of violence

Friends & Recreation

  • Lack of trust from your friends
  • Losing friends
  • Hanging out with a bad crowd
  • Arguing with friends over your use
  • Lack of participation in activities that you used to partake in
  • Becoming uninterested in hanging out with your friends

School & Job

  • Losing your job
  • Getting suspended
  • Skipping school
  • Falling behind on school work
  • Failing
  • Lower grades
  • Go to work or school high

Health – Physical & Emotional

  • Poor health
  • Experiencing consequences of using: blackouts, hallucinations, seizures, overdose and vomiting
  • Lack of fitness
  • Increased risk of contracting diseases later in life from the drug use like heart disease, stroke, cancer
  • Increased risk for contracting diseases like HIV, AIDS, and Hep B or C from dirty instrument use
  • Feeling anxious when not high


  • Losing your job
  • Lack of money
  • Going into debt
  • Stealing/ borrowing money
  • Paying fines associated with drug use, i.e. court costs

(Adapted from: Alberta Health Services