Tragedy and Hope: Commitment to Recovery Lesson

Grades 9-12 - 1-2 class periods


Program Segments



Students will be able to:

  • Recognize who can become addicted to pain medications (anyone!)
  • Identify treatment options for drug addiction
  • Define recovery and rehabilitation


Instructional Resources



Addiction, recovery, rehabilitation, treatment



  1. Students will watch the Tragedy and Hope Stories of Painkiller Addiction segments.
  2. The facilitator will inspire a class discussion on what types of people the students think might become addicted to painkillers. It should be pointed out that anyone can become addicted. If time allows, the predisposition to addiction by genes may be touched upon. The facilitator should explain that recovery can happen, but it is a hard and lifelong commitment for addicts.
  3. Students should be given time to research these treatment options on a computer:
    1. outpatient (if a person does not comply, they may be forced to go to inpatient)
    2. inpatient (short-term or long-term)
    3. maintenance therapy (opioid replacement therapy)
    4. therapeutic communities (AA – Alcoholics Anonymous, NA – Narcotics Anonymous)
    5. diversion programs (drug courts)
  4. As they research, students should complete the Addiction Treatment Worksheet.
  5. After enough time for computer research, a class discussion should occur based on treatment options they discovered and learned about.
  6. Along with treatment, students will discuss what is needed for a “recovery lifestyle.” Healthy involvement in activities such as hobbies, sports, clubs in the community and school are recommended. The facilitator should point out that those options are great, but for an addict some of the components of a recovery lifestyle would be regularly talking with a counselor, regularly attending meetings, and staying away from other people who are using drugs. What other things can the students think of that might help with a recovery lifestyle?
  7. Students will then write a fictional story about someone who becomes addicted to prescription painkillers and what their road to recovery looks like. Students should include at least one treatment option and at least one recovery lifestyle change. They should be specific in explaining what it takes to commit to recovery.


Assessment Task

Students should be active participants in all class discussions. Students will turn in a completed Addiction Treatment Worksheet and a fictional story about an addict’s treatment plan and road to recovery.


National Health Standards

  • Standard 3 - Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information, products, and services to enhance health.
  • Standard 6 – Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal setting skills to enhance health.
  • Standard 7 – Students will demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.
  • Standard 8 - Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family, and community health.


The Science of Addiction

Treatment and Relapse