Tragedy and Hope: Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Campaign Lesson

Grades 9-12 - Four class periods


Program Segments



Students will be able to:

  • Understand how people are able to obtain prescription drugs
  • Offer preventative measures to combat the control and supply of prescription medications


Instructional Resources

  • Tragedy and Hope Stories of Painkiller Addiction
  • ISTOP legislation article
  • Poster board
  • Markers, colored pencils, other art supplies
  • Access to computers with PowerPoint



Opioids, over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs


Focus Questions

  1. What policy or laws could be developed and enforced to combat prescription drug abuse?
  2. How can I help or possibly prevent someone abusing prescription drugs?
  3. How are prescription pain medications being illegally distributed and obtained?



  1. Students will watch Tragedy and Hope Stories of Painkiller Addiction.
  2. The facilitator will ask the students to think about how Michael, Brandie, and Christopher were first able to obtain drugs. How can ANYONE obtain drugs? Answers will be written on a Smartboard, chalkboard, or paper large enough for the whole class to see. Students should include examples from the stories in the program.
    1. Michael obtained prescription drugs initially from his doctor for Crohn’s disease.
    2. Brandie initially got them from a friend at work.
    3. Consider old prescriptions at home, friends, doctors, and internet.
  3. In the second class period students will view the Accessibility program segment.
  4. The facilitator will distribute the article on the ISTOP legislation. Have a student or students read the article out loud. Have a discussion about this legislation. How will this combat prescription drug abuse?
  5. The students should then be split up into groups of 4 or 5. Using what they learned from the ISTOP legislation article and the list of ways to obtain drugs, each group will think about other possible solutions and or regulations as to how we can better control prescription drug abuse.
  6. In the third class period students will view the Parent Advocacy program segment.
  7. The students will develop an awareness campaign based on their ideas. Students will create posters and flyers for their idea. Depending on time availability and/or access to technology, groups may create videos to use in their campaign.
  8. In the fourth class period each group will present their ideas and awareness campaigns to the class. A PowerPoint presentation and other created materials will be shown.


Assessment Task

Students will develop an awareness campaign to combat prescription drug abuse. Groups of students will turn in posters and flyers. They will complete a class presentation using PowerPoint.


Extension Activities

  • Have the students write a letter to a politician (senator, council member etc.) sharing their ideas on how society can be more proactive in combating prescription drug abuse. What policy or laws could be put into effect that would help control the abuse of prescription medications?
  • Have the students develop a petition based on their prescription drug policy/laws ideas. They should share important information about prescription drug abuse with ten people (not in their class) and have them sign the petition.
  • Have students design a prescription drug-free pledge poster. Get other students in the school to sign the poster.


National Health Standards

  • Standard 1- Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
  • Standard 2- Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology, and other factors on health behaviors.
  • Standard 8 – Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family, and community health.


Entire Program


Parent Advocacy