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Dangers of Drugs & Alcohol Simulation Activity For Teens

Updated: Feb 27

Do you think teenagers really grasp the gravity of substance abuse? I mean, do they genuinely believe that one sip of alcohol or trying out a random pill at a party could lead them down a path of addiction? Or that they, of all people, could end up as the subjects of those tragic news stories we all hear about? My bet?! No.

There's this innate human tendency, confirmation bias, that plays a huge role in this disbelief. It's this psychological phenomenon where people favor information that confirms their preexisting beliefs or values. Many teens, some of whom might have dabbled in substances themselves, are surrounded by peers who share tales of fun nights out, seemingly untouched by the darker consequences of their actions. This skews their perception, making the risks of addiction seem distant, something that only happens to the very unlucky or in the TV series Euphoria.. never to them.

However, this perspective overlooks a critical aspect: the gradual nature of addiction as well as the possibility of things like over-doses or unsafe behavior due to being under the influence. The thing is, most teens have a short-term outlook on life, which can lead to some pretty skewed risk assessments when it comes to drug and alcohol use.

This disconnect between perception and reality inspired me to create a simulation game like nothing I've ever seen before. But here's the twist – it's not all doom and gloom. The game mirrors real life, where not every risky decision leads to catastrophe. Some players might dodge the bullet, so to speak, while others face the harsher realities of substance abuse.

My goal?? Realism.. and basing the odds of various outcomes on actual statistics and diving deeper into the reasons behind substance use beyond the usual "peer pressure" narrative.

This game includes factors like genetics, life experiences, and personality traits are all part of the mix, influencing how individuals react to substances.

Here's the rundown on how the game works: each player starts with three cards representing genetics, personality, and life experiences.

They then navigate through 9 realistic scenarios, making choices influenced by their unique combination of cards. Opting for riskier paths means rolling the dice to determine the outcome, with six possible results stemming from each decision.

What makes this game worth trying?.. It's ability to engage students in understanding the risks of substance abuse in a controlled, conversational setting. It's not just about rolling the dice; it's a platform for meaningful dialogue, bolstered by real-life case studies to ground the experience in reality. It's about sparking those crucial conversations and providing a safe space to explore the consequences of their choices—before they face them in real life.

To sum up.. the goal here isn't to scare teens straight but to equip them with the knowledge and foresight to make informed decisions!

Give this activity a try and let me know how it goes! Did somethings surprise your students? I know some of the stats surprised me.

Teach On!



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