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 Body

To learn how alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, and steroids affect the circulatory system in the human body.

Adolescents generally are concerned about their bodies and should know how drug use harms the body.

Distribute heart diagrams (next page) to students and review the major vessels and structures related to the heart. Emphasize the importance of keeping the circulatory system healthy. Explain that the heart, like any other muscle, will work efficiently only if it's healthy.

Divide the class into groups. Have each group practice tracing the pathways through the heart of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood, using red pencils or string for oxygenated and blue pencils or string for deoxygenated blood. 

Assign each group to research how alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, or steroids affect the heart and ask each group to prepare five questions for a class test on the effects of drugs on the heart. Have one person from each group give a brief class presentation about the effects on the heart of the drug the group studied. 

After the presentations, discuss the following:

• In what ways do these drugs have similar effects on the circulatory system?
• In what ways do these drugs have different effects on the circulatory system?
• How do blood tests measure the presence of these drugs in the body?
• What long-term effects, if any, will using these drugs have on the heart and blood vessels? 

Give students the test composed of questions from each group, or use the questions as a homework assignment, or as material for a follow-up class on the effects of these drugs on the circulatory system.

Heart circulation diagram; blue and red pencils or lengths of string.

Teacher Tips
• Follow the same lesson outline for studying the effects of other drugs on the body

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

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