Substance Use Scenarios | Ophea Teaching Tools

    Substance Use Scenarios

    Activity Card 3
    75 Minutes
    Topics: Critical Thinking, Emotions, Peer Pressure, Personal Skills, Substance Use
    Activity Overview

    Youths will identify and describe the warning signs of substance use and misuse, and use critical thinking skills when responding to scenarios on the appropriate actions to take to ensure their personal health and well-being.


    The educator observes youths' demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the impacts of substance use on a person’s well-being.


    Markers, Poster paper

    Minds On

    Using the Rapid Write strategy, youth write as much as possible uninterrupted for five minutes brainstorming possible outcomes of substance misuse, addictions, and related behaviours.

    Youths share possible outcomes using large-group discussion, and clarify answers where required. Answers may include:

    • financial problems
    • feels good
    • overdose from prescription or illicit drugs
    • a way to momentarily escape reality
    • alcohol poisoning or death
    • appear “cool” or “dangerous”
    • permanently altered cognitive function due to drug abuse
    • fit in with social circle
    • self-injury or other mental health problems that could be exacerbated by substance misuse
    • legal issues that may result from substance misuse (e.g., underage drinking, charges related to illegal behaviour while intoxicated, intoxicated driving charges)
    • family issues related to drinking or drug use
    • altered organ/body function due to drug or alcohol use
    • social stigma/loss of friends

    Explain the role local support services (E.g., Kids Help Phone, Connex Ontario, 211 Ontario) could play in helping people dealing with substance misuse, abuse, or addiction as well as providing support to their families and friends. Where possible, include community-based resources when discussing support services to help inform student learning.

    Using a Carousel teaching strategy, have youths respond to the four scenarios below, using text and/or illustrations. Small groups are assigned one scenario and after a specified amount of time, move to the scenario building on the response of their peers.

    1. Standing up against the pressure of your friends can sometimes be a challenge. Consider this situation: You’re playing basketball on the court; it’s warm and someone pulls out a couple beers from their back pack. What factors do your consider before you make your own decision?
    2. Preoccupation with body image can contribute to substance abuse. What are the effects of using substances to alter body shape? What is a healthier alternative?
    3. At first your brother would only drink on weekends but now you notice it’s almost every night and it’s more than just a couple of beers. Identify and describe the warning signs of substance misuse or abuse, addictions and related behaviours, and what sources of support are available.
    4. You’re at a party with friends and one of them lights a joint, passing it to you. Identify and describe the outcomes that can occur from substance use, misuse, or abuse, and how you will make your own decision.

    Use a large-group discussion to review youths' answers and clarify information prior to proceeding to the Consolidation portion of the lesson.


    Youths respond to the following questions in an Exit Card:

    Stress can be positive and negative. Stress can motivate you to get things done, but it is also connected to things over which you have less control, like illness, death, or family problems.

    1. Identify a situation in which you often feel stressed.
    2. How can you manage your stress effectively?
    3. What/who are your sources of support if you have difficulties dealing with stress?