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spacer 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

    Joe/Josie, Friend.
    Joe/Josie is the cutest guy/girl in the junior class. He/she is class president, a basketball star, and runs track in the spring. Joe/Josie is also a good student. Everybody in the school would die to hang out with him/her.

    You are going to a party with Joe/Josie. He/she picks you up in his/her car, and you set off for the party. On the way, he/she first stops at a convenience store and buys a pack of cigarettes.
Facilitator: Lead the class in a discussion about this scenario.
  • Any problem with Joe/Josie buying cigarettes? (He/she is only 17 and is breaking the law.)
  • What do you say if he/she offers you one?
  • Do you tell him/her not to smoke?
  • Why not, if he/she is breaking the law?
  • Would it make a difference if Joe/Josie were your boy/girlfriend of a year and you were really in love and cared about one another? Then what would you say to him/her? Would you try to get him/her to quit smoking?
    Joe/Josie drives a little further and says, "We've got to make a minor detour," and goes over to the next town and stops at BUD'S DISCOUNT LIQUORS.
Joe/Josie: "The party is Bring Your Own. I'll get our supplies. I've got a great ID. See, I go to NYU. What do you drink? You want to come in and pick out what you want?"

Friend: (Hesitantly) "Well, I don't really drink, so...

Joe/Josie: "Oh, come on. You've got to start sometime. Don't tell me you're one of these goody-two-shoes who doesn't like to have a good time. Look, I'll get something that you'll really love. Some wine coolers or maybe some frozen daiquiris. Trust me. You'll never regret it."

Friend: (Continue to refuse.)

Joe/Josie: "Are you crazy? You're going to blow this whole night!"

Friend (What are you going to do?)

Continue to role-play the scene.

Facilitator: Lead the class in a discussion.
  • Is this a realistic scenario?
  • Is there a difference between buying booze and the cigarettes? Why?
Scene Two

    Friend, Friend 2.
    You arrive at the party, and you are surprised to see a house full of some of the most popular kids in the school. This is the in-crowd. And a lot of your friends from yearbook, honor society, etc., are there. And they are all drinking and having a great time. You see one of your best friends.
Friend 2: "Hey, why aren't you drinking? Are you crazy? This is our chance to finally be part of the IN CROWD. Let's PART-TEE!"

Friend: "I don't really want to drink."

Friend 2: "Well, do you want to go home? Or can we stay?

Friend: (What are you going to do? Stay at the party or go?)

Lead the class in a discussion about the scene.
  • Who would stay? Who would leave?
  • Do you have to drink at a party where everyone else is drinking?
  • If you think that drinking is wrong, then why even stay?
  • You are underage. Are you worried that you are participating in an illegal activity?
  • Are you condoning their behavior if you stay?
    You decide to stay at the party, but not drink. Your best friend comes up to you again.
Friend 2: "Hey, if alcohol isn't your bag, follow me. I'll show you where the real party is. Everyone back here is smoking marijuana." (Take a toke and offer it to Friend.) "Here, try this. It's great stuff."

  • Do you take a drag? Do you just not inhale?
  • Will you stay in the room? At the party?
If students in the class say they would stay at the party but not in the room:
  • These kids are smoking illegal drugs, and they could go to jail. Don't you want to get out of there as soon as possible?
  • What if one of the people smoking pot was one of your best friends?
  • Would you confront him/her there? Later?
Scene Three

    Friend, Parent.
    You decide to leave the party and you get home early. One of your parents is waiting up for you when you walk in.
Parent: "Hey, why are you home so early?"

Friend: (What are you going to tell your parent? Are you going to tell the truth?)

Continue to role-play the scene.

Facilitator: Lead the class in a discussion.
  • Would you tell your parents? Why or why not?
  • Wouldn't you be doing the kids a favor if you got them help before they got too involved in the alcohol or drugs?
  • Would you consider telling your friend's parents about the drugs?
  • Would you speak to a school counselor or other adult?

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