The Science of Drug Addiction

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

Click on the links below to download and print articles, lessons, and student activities that give information about the science of drug addiction.

Facts on Drugs: Teen Guide to Making Smart Decisions
The teaching guide to the poster LIFE’S COMPLICATED ENOUGH: Make Smart Decisions About Drugs. 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 support the idea that when young people know the facts, they have the tools to make smart choices. 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. 

Two Teen Health Dangers: Obesity and Drug Addiction  
Researchers have discovered an amazing connection between how the brain is involved in obesity and drug addiction. Use with Lesson and Worksheet: Obesity and Drug Addiction and Lesson and Worksheet: Dangerous Cravings and the Brain.   

Lesson and Worksheet: Obesity and Drug Addiction
Use this lesson to reinforce comprehension of the student article Two Teen Health Dangers: Obesity & Drug Addiction. The teacher lesson plan includes a lesson strategy, discussion questions, and an activity to give students information about the connection between drug addiction and obesity; to increase students’ understanding of addiction and the brain; and to broaden students’ understanding of the scientific process. Use with the worksheet Obesity and Drug Addiction—What Do You Know?

Worksheet: Obesity and Drug Addiction—What Do You Know?
Take the quiz to test your knowledge of obesity, drug addiction, and the possible connection between them.

Lesson and Worksheet: Dangerous Cravings and the Brain
Use this lesson to reinforce comprehension of the student article Two Teen Health Dangers: Obesity & Drug Addiction. The teacher lesson plan includes a lesson strategy and activity for students to use scientific data to draw conclusions about the effect of increasing D2 dopamine receptor levels in the brain. Use with the worksheet Dangerous Cravings and the Brain.

Worksheet: Heads Up: Dangerous Cravings and the Brain 
Read about an experiment using rats to find out if increasing the number of D2 receptors in rats’ brains would decrease the amount of alcohol consumed by rats that had been trained to prefer alcohol over water. Analyze the results and draw your own conclusions. 

Drug Addiction Is a Disease: Why the Teen Brain Is Vulnerable
Today, as a result of research studies, clinical trials, and new ways to study the brain, scientists know that drug addiction is a disease—and that teen brains are more susceptible than adults’ brains to the effects of drugs. Get the facts on how drugs change the way the teen brain works and develops. Use with Lesson and Worksheet: Heads Up: How Much Do You Know About Drug Addiction? and Lesson and Worksheet: Heads Up: Drug Abuse Affects Decision Making 

Lesson and Worksheet: Heads Up: How Much Do You Know About Drug Addiction? 
Use this lesson to reinforce comprehension of the student article Drug Addiction Is a Disease: Why the Teen Brain Is Vulnerable. The teacher lesson plan includes discussion questions and assessment tips to test students’ self-knowledge about drug addiction before and after reading the article.  Use with the worksheet How Much Do You Know About Drug Addiction?

Lesson and Worksheet: Heads Up: Drug Abuse Affects Decision Making
Use this lesson to reinforce comprehension of the student article Drug Addiction Is a Disease: Why the Teen Brain Is Vulnerable. The teacher lesson plan includes a lesson strategy and discussion questions to help students use scientific data to draw their own conclusions about the effects of drug use on the brain. Use with the worksheet Drug Abuse Affects Decision Making.

Worksheet: How Much Do You Know About Drug Addiction?
Take this quiz to test how much you know about drug addiction and the effects of drug abuse on the brain.

Worksheet: Drug Abuse Affects Decision Making

Read about an experiment that scientists created to find out more about how drug abuse affects decision making. Analyze the data and results and draw your own conclusions. 

You Can’t Sniff Away Your Sorrows: Drug Abuse May Cause Addiction, Memory Loss, Heart Failure, Organ Damage, or Death.
Check out the Heads Up Poster Contest Grand Prize-winning artwork and poster concept by student Ania Lisa Etienne.

You Can’t Sniff Away Your Sorrows: Drug Abuse May Cause Addiction, Memory Loss, Heart Failure, Organ Damage, or Death.
Check out the Heads Up Poster Contest Grand Prize-winning artwork and poster concept by student Ania Lisa Etienne. Then use the lesson strategy, discussion questions, and student worksheet activities to help students learn more about how drugs can affect your brain and your health. 

Messed-Up Messages: Addiction and Your Brain
Check out this worksheet to learn more about how drug addiction affects the brain. 

Path to a Healthy Future
The right choices keep your brain at its best. Check out the worksheet “Messed-Up Messages,” and then complete the maze by following the statements that describe how the brain functions normally without drugs.

Cause and Effect: How Drugs Change the Brain
Drugs of abuse cause changes in the brain that affect the way the drug user thinks and feels. Check out the worksheet “Drugs Change Your Brain,” and then complete this activity by connecting each drug to the effect it has on the brain.

Drugs Change Your Brain
Drug abusers may alter their brains forever. Drugs of abuse change the way an abuser’s brain works. Some of those changes might last for minutes. But other changes may be permanent. Check out what drugs can do to the brain, and then complete the fill-in-the-blank activity.  

Remember Your Brain: A Crossword Challenge
Test your brain by completing this crossword puzzle about how the brain works and how drugs of abuse change the way the brain sends and receives messages.

 

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