Drug Awareness Week Activities
- Powerful speakers have a way of getting through to their audience. When educating teens and young adults about the dangers of drug use and abuse, plan to have two or three strong speakers who know their topic and have proven speaking experience. D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) provides classrooms with specially trained police officers to talk to kids about the dangers of drugs and answer any question that comes their way. Since people of all ages look up to local politicians, entertainers or athletes, it would be great to recruit someone who donates his time to these kinds of organizations. You're more likely to recruit a public personality if you ask someone who lives in the vicinity or if she's recently written a book on the subject.
- Posters are great ways of raising awareness about drug abuse. For a classroom project, form teams of three to five kids. Research recent statistics about substance use and its consequences. Have each team create a poster illustrating these facts. For example, The Bureau of Justice Statistics Drug and Crime Facts reports that 25 percent of 9th through 12th graders have been offered drugs on school property. Some of the most popular drugs on campus include marijuana, cocaine, prescription pain relievers, crack and LSD. One drug-awareness website, TeenDrugAbuse.us, found that alcohol kills five times as many teens than all drugs combined. Death from alcohol abuse, they report, typically occurs from an accident.
- Books can be the most honest and open form of communicating with kids. There are many books on the market about the dangers of drugs told by the point of view of a survivor or those who survived a loved one's failure to successfully overcome her addiction. "Go Ask Alice," by an anonymous writer, is the diary of a drug-addicted teenager. "Crank," written by Ellen Hopkins, is the semi-autobiographical account of a crystal-meth-addicted girl and is loosely based on the author's own daughter. "I've Got This Friend Who . . ." written by real teens, is book that helps young adults deal with real problems in today's world, including drug abuse. Assign these and other books to a group of young people and discuss their feelings and opinions in an open, accepting forum.