Facts on Drugs: Teen Guide to Making Smart Decisions

First published 2008. To view the latest Heads Up content, click here.

This important teaching guide is a skill-building program to help students understand the importance of informed decision making. The teaching guide includes turnkey lessons and worksheets that support the idea that when young people know the facts, they have the tools to make smart choices.

Click on the links below to download and print copies of the poster, complete teaching guide, and printable worksheets.

Facts on Drugs: Teen Guide to Making Smart Decisions
The teaching guide to the poster LIFE’S COMPLICATED ENOUGH: Make Smart Decisions About Drugs. Find lessons and critical-thinking activities that bring students facts about the science behind teen brain development and decision making, as well as the health risks associated with drug abuse.

The Science of Teen Decision Making
Check out this short article and complete the activity to learn more about how the brain works.

Drugs and Your Brain
Check out this short article about how drugs such as THC and opioids can adversely affect many areas of the brain, including the cerebral cortex (distorting thinking, perception, and judgment), the cerebellum (distorting coordination and balance), the prefrontal cortex (affecting decisions and promoting risk-taking), and the brain stem (slowing breathing and heart rate). Then complete the activity.

Drugs and Your Body
Read short descriptions of what specific drugs—such as prescription painkillers, inhalants, methamphetamine, MDMA (ecstasy), cocaine, marijuana, nicotine, and alcohol—can do to the body. Then complete the true or false activity.

Peer Influence
Check out this short article about how peer influence affects decision making. Then, using facts you’ve learned, write about how you might respond to certain scenarios.

What Do You Know About Drugs and Your Body?
Take the quiz to test what you know about drugs and the brain and the body.

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