Drugs and the Body
To identify drugs and their effects on the body.
At a stage when youths like to experiment and take risks, they need to understand why tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs are unhealthy and dangerous to themselves and others.
Photocopy the drug charts in the Resources Section, and give each student a copy. Then discuss each drug classification and the drugs within it. The lesson should include discussion of the following:
There are three groups of exogenous drugs that are classified according to the way they affect the chemical and electrical balance in our brains. These classifications are depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens.
Depressants suppress the transmission of electrical messages between neurons in the brain, which causes a slowdown in thinking, feeling, and acting.
Stimulants increase the quantity of neurotransmitters between neurons either by blocking receptors that normally would accept them or by blocking their return to their original neurons.
Hallucinogens overstimulate all brain systems and can confuse the brain into having sensory experiences that are not real or that can alter perceptions or exaggerate reality.
Divide the class into three groups and assign a classification toeach group. Direct each group to study the drug chart and preparea brief presentation on the drugs within their categories-drug names, what they look like, how they are used, and side effects.Tell each group to have as many students participate in the grouppresentation as possible, within a five-minute period.
After the presentations, explain the following:
• All drugs, including alcohol, eventually deplete or change brain chemicals.
• All drugs, including alcohol, can break down the immune system.
• All drugs, including alcohol, can affect hormone levels and impede normal sexual development and performance.
• All drugs, including alcohol, can harm the developing embryo or fetus and the health of future children.
• All drugs, including alcohol, can hurt you, your family, and your friends.
• Review the more difficult concepts and terms during this lesson and repeat them in subsequent lessons.
Learning to Live Drug-Free, A Curriculum Model for Prevention, U.S. Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program