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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

    Big Brother, Little Brother
    You live in the center city. Sometimes the neighborhood gets a bit dicey -- you have to walk by drug dealers on the way to school. You've got a little brother. He wants a special kind of basketball sneakers more than anything, but they cost $100 and money is tight. He's willing to try to make the money himself, but there aren't many jobs for 12 year old boys. He makes a few dollars, sweeping and doing errands, but, at that rate, he'll be out of high school before he can buy the shoes.

    One afternoon, you see your little brother talking to a kid that you know sells drugs. And lo and behold, the next day your brother's got on those fancy sneakers.
Big Brother: "Hey Kid, how come you suddenly got those sneakers?"

Little Brother: "I bought them."

Big Brother: "Well where'd you get the money?"

Little Brother: "I earned it."

Big Brother: "Earned it how?"

Little Brother: "I just earned it."

Big Brother: "Come on, let's hear it."

Little Brother: "Okay, I delivered a couple of packages for Drastic, but that was all. I swear I didn't use the stuff myself. I won't do it again. Don't tell on me, okay?"

Continue to role-play the scene.

Facilitator: Lead the class in a discussion about how Big Brother handled the situation.
  • Would you get involved if this was your little brother or sister? How about if it was your older brother or sister?
  • What if you saw him or her with another expensive new item a couple of weeks later. Would you confront him/her again? Would you go to your parents? Would you turn him/her in?

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