Children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who don't, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.

Drugs and the Law

Objective
To understand that, in our democratic form of government, each person has a voice, and that people assume responsibility for one another through laws they create and enforce.

Background
Children in grades 4-6 need to understand how a democratic society works and how they can assume some responsibility for helping society. A major component of a democratic government is that each citizen has a voice. One way adults express their voice is by voting. Younger people also can make a difference by discussing their concerns with government representatives. Children can begin this process of assuming civic responsibility by communicating with lawmakers and other government representatives.

Activities
Discuss issues about which students might want to express their opinions. Focus on issues that affect the local community, the state, or the nation (examples: suggestions on how to fight drugs in a neighborhood, how to clean up a commercial area, how to raise money for new playground equipment). Have students identify persons who might have influence on the problem (for example, a principal, a school board member, a newspaper editor, the president, a congressman, a senator, a governor, a mayor). Discuss the role of each in solving problems. Give each student a copy of the letter format to be used to communicate with someone in a public position.

Ask students to write a brief letter to someone in authority, expressing concern about a particular problem and suggesting a solution.

Collect and mail the finished letters. Prepare a bulletin board displaying copies of the letters or the names and addresses of all the people to whom students sent letters. Display responses from recipients of the letters.

Resources
Copies of the letter format; names and addresses of authorities to whom students may write; bulletin board.

Teacher Tips
• It is important to have the correct name, address, and salutation,for each person to whom your students may write.

• You may have the class write a joint letter or write individual letters.

Source
Learning to Live Drug-Free, A Curriculum Model for Prevention, U.S. Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program

2490 Coral Way, Miami, FL 33145 | Phone: 800-705-8997

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