Tragedy and Hope: Learning About Opioids Lesson

Grades 6 – 12 - Two class periods


Program Segments



Students will be able to:

  • List specific opioid prescription pain medications
  • Explain physical effects of opioid prescription pain medications
  • Express an opinion on learning about opioid addiction


Instructional Resources



Addiction, brand/trade name, generic, opiate, opioid, painkiller



  1. The facilitator will introduce the topic of painkiller addiction by showing students segments from Tragedy and Hope Stories of Painkiller Addiction.
  2. Then the facilitator will distribute the Opioid Information Sheet. After reviewing for some time, the facilitator will start a class discussion to answer any questions the students may have. Students should take notes on opioids and topics of discussion.
  3. Allow students further time to research opioid addiction.
  4. Distribute the Persuasive Essay Rubric and discuss.
  5. Students will write a persuasive essay on “why middle school students should learn about opioid addiction” or “why middle school students should not learn about opioid addiction.”


Assessment Task

Students should actively participate in class discussion and research. The students will also turn in a persuasive essay.


Extension Activity

Coordinate with a local middle school. Have students develop a presentation on opioid addiction to share with middle school students.


National Health Standards

  • Standard 1 - Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
  • Standard 3 – Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information, products, and services to enhance health.
  • Standard 8 – Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family, and community health.

The Science of Addiction


Signs and Symptoms