7 Ways to Prevent Substance AbuseIf you talk about substance abuse in your curriculum, then you know how challenging it can be to communicate the risks of drugs, tobacco, and alcohol without coming across as preachy or “old-school.” That’s why we’ve gathered these seven 21st-century activities that will engage even the most reluctant middle school student:


  • Facts About Tobacco Posters: Invite students to research statistics about tobacco and then use the information they find to create visually compelling posters to share with their classsmates.
  • Right Decisions Role Play: Watch one of the videos from Right Decisions, Right Now as a class and pause the video at various points to have your students role-play the way they would respond to the given situation.
  • Saying “No” to Tobacco: Help students learn to refuse tobacco, alcohol or other drugs by giving them specific language to use and actions to take in various situations, for example, saying “no” and then leaving the scene, or saying “no” and making a joke.
  • Peer Pressure Skits: As a class, talk about the influences of peer pressure, then challenge small groups to create a skit depicting what peer pressure looks like and how to respond.
  • Identifying What’s Important: Invite students to think about the things that are most important to them, such as friends, family and life goals, and then ask students to consider how tobacco could interfere with these important people or things.
  • Right Decisions Resource Board: Have your students create a bulletin board at your school that contains resources to help students make good decisions about alcohol, tobacco, and peer pressure.
  • Be the Role Model: Help your students put together a 20-minute “Right Decisions” lesson and then head to a local elementary school and teach it to younger students.