Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Teenage Substance Abuse and Underage Drinking

Over the years when talking with students or hearing them discuss their social activities I have often perceived a student attitude of "what is the big deal about smoking a little weed (marijuana) or underage drinking?" Coupled with the attitude of "kids will be kids" and kids "experiment and taking risks is normal". When marijuana use and underage drinking is identified as an illegal activity, another common response is that "it is just a misdemeanor" which assumes that they are fully accepting that breaking a "small" level law is okay.

Let's watch this video of a teenager coming home from the dentist where he had oral surgery (wisdom tooth removal). He was given legal drugs by a doctor for the pain and  is still under the effects of the drugs. He is with his parents and they filmed his behavior for the humor of it. I think beyond the humor value the video shows how a person reacts when their body and mind is altered by drugs. While the video is humorous I want you to think beyond the humor value. Consider what if this teenager was in the backseat of a friend's car going to or coming back from a party under the influence of drugs...How might that be different...?

Class Activity: 
I. Pre-Video Discussion. Prior to seeing the blog post or watching the video, the class is broken down into small groups (4 to 5) sitting in small fishbowl groups. They will discuss the question, "What is the BIG DEAL about smoking a little weed or underage drinking?"

II. Read Blog Post & Watch Video: Teacher reads the blog post and orients class to the video. The class watches the video and is prompted to see beyond the intent of the original purpose of the video (humor) and views it from the perspective a teenager, their friend in a car under the influence of an illegal substance.

III. Post Viewing Discussion: Teacher facilitates a class discussion in relation to the behaviors observed by the teenager under the influence of legal drugs while recovering from oral surgery (wisdom teeth removed).  

A. Review the original small group notes taken prior to the video.

B. They now discuss their opinions in relation to the video and its impact on a teenager in an unsupervised social situation while under the impact of an illegal substance:
    (1) Mood Swings (Sad, Angry, Violent, Happy)

    (2) Brain Function: Certainty sometimes and other times being total clueless. Does the way he thinks make sense to him? Does he feel at times that there is nothing wrong with his reality?

    (3) Paranoia: Give examples, why is this a concern?

    (4) Potential for Danger or Unsafe Situation: Running Away, Driving, Going with people you don't know, not alert of aware of your surroundings, grab the wheel from the driver, cross the street in traffic, being physically taken advantage of by others, feeling you are superman or superwoman...

    (5) Social Media: captures embarrassing moments or illegal activities that will last forever...consequences to your future. 

IV.  In Class Group Assignment: Form up in the small groups you were in yesterday and draft a group guidance (advice) letter to freshmen cadets talking about the issue of substance abuse  (underage drinking and illegal drug use). This assignment will be turned in at the end of class. 

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