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Utilizing the following role-play scenario is an effective strategy for getting students to actively participate in a meaningful dialogue about substance abuse and addiction.

A teacher or student can serve as facilitator for these activities. The facilitator should set up the scenarios for the role-play and select students to take the parts outlined in the script. Different students should take parts in each scene. This gives the students in the classroom an opportunity to "experience" the issues first hand. Once the scene has been played out, the facilitator should discuss the outcome with the class and see if others might have played out the scene in a different way. When participating in role-play, each player's goal should be clear to him/her. The desired goal may arise from discussion prior to the activity, or be assigned by the facilitator.

Scene One

Characters:
    Father, Son/Daughter.
Scenario:
    You attend a holiday party with your parents. Your father has had a bit too much to drink. It's time to go home, and you all head for the car. Are you going to let him drive? What do you say? Do you let him drive? Do you ask your mother for help? Do you get into the car, knowing that he might hurt your family or someone else?

    You decide that you're going to try to persuade Father not to drive.
Son/Daughter: "Hey Dad, do you really think you should be driving?"

Father: (Indignantly) "I'm perfectly capable of driving. I was drinking and driving before you were born."

Continue to role-play the scene.

Facilitator: When the scene has played out, lead the class in a discussion about how the son/daughter handled the situation.
  • Does everyone agree with the way the student handled the parent?
  • Is trying to stop the parent "realistic?"
  • Have any of you gotten into a car with a parent who has had a few drinks?
  • How about another adult, such as a person for whom you've been babysitting?
  • Do we have a different standard for our parents?
Scene Two

Characters:
    Parents, Son/Daughter.
Scenario:
    One night you get up to get a drink of water and you catch your parents smoking marijuana. You know they were pretty wild in the 70s, but you've never realized that they still smoked. They don't see you. Do you confront them?
Son/Daughter: (This should be a student who would chose to confront the parents.) "Hey Mom, Dad. What are you doing?"

Mom/Dad: "Look, dear, we don't really use drugs. We just wanted to smoke this once for old times sake. We won't do it again."

Continue to role-play the scene.

Facilitator: When the scene has played out, lead the class in a discussion about this situation.
  • How many of you would be satisfied with that scenario?
  • How might it go differently?
If another student wishes to play the scene another way, you can do it again.

Scene Three

Characters:
    Parents, Son/Daughter.
Scenario:
    A few weeks go by. You come in late one night from a date and hear your parents giggling. As you pass their room, the door isn't shut tight and you see them snorting cocaine. Do you confront them?
Son/Daughter: (This should be a student who would chose to confront the parents.) "Hey Mom, Dad. Cocaine?! What are you doing?"

Mom/Dad: "We were just experimenting. We thought it would be good to understand what coke does so that we could handle the situation better if any of you used it."

Continue to role-play the scene.

Facilitator: When the scene has played out, lead the class in a discussion about this situation.
  • How many of you would be satisfied with that scenario? Is this situation different from the previous one?
  • How might it go differently?
  • If you suspected that your parents had a real drug problem, would you consider talking to a drug counselor?
  • Would you ever consider reporting your parents to the authorities? Why/why not? If yes, who would you tell?
If another student wishes to play the scene another way, you can do it again.




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