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.

What Drugs Cost Families

Objective
To analyze the effects of drugs on a family budget.

Background
Youths ages 14 to 18 are becoming more concerned about drug use and its effects on families and society.

Activities
Discuss the fact that, besides being harmful physically and psychologically, drugs are expensive and can ruin individuals and families financially. Have students plan a monthly budget. Tell them the following factors they must consider in developing the budget:

You are newly married, and the take-home pay from your two salaries is $30,000 a year. However, you do not know that your spouse is addicted to cocaine and is spending $100 a day on that drug.

Have students plan their monthly budget, being sure to include the following:

• housing payment (mortgage or rent);
• car payment (plus insurance, maintenance, and gas);
• electric, water, and gas bills;
• clothing;
• food;
• entertainment;
• furnishings;
• health care (insurance);
• vacation or travel;
• savings and miscellaneous. 
 
Have students fill in the Budget Planning Guide on the next page. Ask students to note how a cocaine habit would affect the family financially. Tell them to mark the budget items they would sacrifice first and last if they didn't have enough money each month to pay for both bills and their spouse's drug habit. Then ask a few students to share their budgets and conclusions with the class. Discuss how the spouse's drug habit would affect family life. Examples are:

• losing your house or car;
• losing your friends or alienating your extended family;
• going into debt;
• divorce;
• arrest and jail;
• loss of physical and mental health

Resources
Budget Planning Guide.

Teacher Tips
• Remind' students that an addict is someone who cannot stop using a habit-forming drug and will do anything to get that drug.

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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