Substance Abuse

WHO refers substance abuse to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs. Psychoactive substance use can lead to dependence syndrome - a cluster of behavioral, cognitive, and physiological phenomena that develop after repeated substance use and that typically include a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties in controlling its use, persisting in its use despite harmful consequences, a higher priority given to drug use than to other activities and obligations, increased tolerance, and sometimes a physical withdrawal state.  Goals for this unit are for students to learn how to understand and identify the causes, preventions, and treatments for diseases, disorders, injuries, and addictions.


Topics Covered:

  • Prevention

  • Abuse/Dependence

  • Disorders/diseases

  • Addictions

  • Causes/Effects of alcohol and drug abuse

  • Types of drugs

  • Substance abuse leading to – suicide, sexual promiscuity, delinquency and violent crimes

  • Resource centers/health services

Unit Planning Organizer

Subject          Health

Grade             8th

Unit                Substance Abuse

Pacing            3 Class periods



Essential Questions:

  • What can cause making decisions about drugs and alcohol to be difficult?
  • How will drugs and alcohol affect me now and in the future?
  • What is the difference between drugs and medicine?
  • What are refusal skills?
  • What is addiction?


    Big Ideas:

  • Short term and long term problems that can be caused by partaking in drugs and alcohol.
  • Alcohol and drugs can lead to risky sexual behaviors and unwanted outcomes.
  • Short term and long term effects of alcohol and drugs on the body.
  • Ways to seek help when dealing with an addiction.




CT State Standards (Comprehensive School Health Standards):

C.S.H Standard 1
Comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention.

C.S.H Standard 2
Demonstrate the ability to access valid health information and health-promoting products and services.

C.S.H Standard 3
Demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors to reduce health risks.

C.S.H Standard 4
Analyze the influence of culture, media, technology and other factors on health.

C.S.H Standard 6
Demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.




Responsibility of personal health

Analyze (take care of self)


Predict the immediate and long-term impact of alcohol and drug abuse


Analyze (to make decisions)


Distinguish between safe, risky or harmful behaviors


Analyze, Apply (to make decisions)


Medical health resources when dealing with alcohol and drug use


Utilize (using the sources for help)

Strategies to make decisions

Evaluate, Apply (what is the best choice, why?)



Topics covered/vocabulary:


Drugs, Difference between types of drugs, Medicine, Alcohol, Prevention, Definitions of abuse and dependence, Addictions, Causes and effects of alcohol and drug abuse, Types of drugs, Substance abuse, Utilizing and recognizing resource centers and health services, Peer pressure, Social media influences