Substance Abuse Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Looking for an effective way to teach students about substance abuse? This lesson plan uses an engaging and informative video lesson to provide a strong knowledge base while an activity puts students in charge of designing posters to educate others about substance abuse.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define substance abuse
  • distinguish between substance use, abuse and dependence
  • outline the sociocultural, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and biological factors that are associated with substance abuse


1 to 2 hours

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.


Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).


Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.


  • A worksheet created using the quiz associated with this lesson.
  • Poster board
  • Markers

Key Vocabulary

  • Substance use
  • Substance abuse
  • Substance dependency
  • Sociocultural factors
  • Psychodynamic factors
  • Cognitive-behavioral factors
  • Biological factors

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