Health Literacy and Drug Abuse

First published 2007. To view the latest Heads Up content, click here.

Use the lesson and student worksheet below to reinforce comprehension of the student article “GET THE FACTS: Drug Abuse Puts Your Whole Body at Risk.” 

Dear Teacher: 

As an educator, you know how important it is for your students to make informed choices. When it comes to drug abuse, knowing the facts is crucial to helping students make decisions that can impact their health and safety.

In this latest installment of Heads Up, students will find out how drug abuse and addiction affect one’s overall health. Although at its core a brain disease, drug addiction produces harmful consequences throughout the body.

We thank you for sharing the important facts in this article with your students. By doing so, you are not only helping them be more health-literate, but are also helping them keep safe. 


Nora D. Volkow, M.D. 
Director of NIDA


In This Installment

  • Important facts about how drug abuse and addiction affect health
  • Tips for students on how to take action to stay healthy



Preparation: Before the lesson, make two photocopies of the Student Worksheet for a pre- and post-lesson quiz. 

Assessment Tools
Use the Student Worksheet as an assessment quiz to determine what your students have learned about the health effects of drug abuse. 

OBJECTIVE: Students will understand some of the serious health consequences of drug abuse and addiction. 

NATIONAL SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS: Life Science; Science in Personal and Social Perspective


  • Introduce the topic of drug abuse and health by asking students what they consider the most important health issues facing teens today. Give students time for discussion.
  • Distribute copies of the Student Worksheet. Tell students to write their name on the paper and answer the questions. Explain that they will answer the questions again after they read the article.
  • Have students read “Get the Facts: Drug Abuse Puts Your Whole Body at Risk” in their magazines. When they have finished, begin a discussion: What are some of the ways in which drug abuse and addiction affect the health issues you identified earlier? What are some ways you can protect your health with regard to drugs? Why is it important to get the facts about your health?
  • After the discussion, have students complete the worksheet again. When they have finished, reveal the correct answers.
  • Wrap up the lesson by asking students: How would you respond to someone who says, “Drugs mess with your head a bit; what’s the big deal?” or, “I’m healthy; what’s there to worry about with drugs?”

Take the quiz on the Student Worksheet.

1. d; 2. a; 3. b; 4. a; 5. a; 6. d; 7. c; 8. c; 9. a; 10. a.


Download a print copy of:

Browse Other Content