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Evaluate the impact of opioid dependency on people with dependencies and their children; demonstrate the ability to empathize with and advocate for a family member or friend affected by addiction.


NHES 1: Analyze how environment, genetics, and family history can impact personal health.

CASEL COMPETENCY: Social awareness


debilitating, dependency, chronic, pharmaceutical, withdrawal, foster care

Lesson Plan: Our Parents Are Addicted to Opioids

Four teens open up about how their parents’ opioid dependencies have impacted their lives. Read the article to find out how they are using their experiences to transform the future for themselves and others.


How does opioid use affect people with opioid dependencies and their families?


  1. What is one thing that Amarah did to help other kids like her? Possible answers: She launched a clothing, food, and toy drive; she started writing a column “Kids Like Me” for a local newspaper.
  2. According to Nathan, why is continuing virtual camp during the pandemic so important? Many children of people with opioid dependencies are stuck at home with their parents and need support.
  3. What is the best way to advocate for a loved one who struggles with opioids, according to the article? Tell someone: Call 1-800-662-HELP or go to for more information.


  1. Consider Amarah’s plan to talk to lawmakers about getting more support for children whose parents struggle with addiction. After reading the article, what type of support do you think might be beneficial for these kids? Answers will vary.
  2. Kaycee says she avoids friends who use drugs because she understands how addictive opioids can be Why do you think other teens might use these drugs? Explain. Possible answers: They think they’ll be able to quit; they don’t think teens can become addicted to opioids; their doctor told them the drugs are safe.
  3. After reading the article, do you think there is anything that pharmaceutical companies or the government can do to help stop the opioid crisis? Answers will vary.




CASEL Competency: Responsible decision-making

To open a dialogue about the impact of addiction on families, have students conduct internet research about who is at risk for opioid dependency and how to RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS of opioid dependency in a loved one. If they struggle to find sources, you could recommend this resource from the Mayo Clinic. (Click here to find this Skill Builder.)



CASEL Competency: Social Awareness

In the article, students learned about the effect of opioid dependency on families. In this activity, students will dive deeper into its effects on families by considering different types of discrimination that people with drug dependencies can face in society.  Then they’ll create A QUICK GUIDE TO DRUG DEPENDENCY STIGMA AND CHILDREN to show what they learned. (Click here to find this Skill Builder.)

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