The World Starts With Me

 Drug/Substance abuse and Sexuality

Learning Objectives

This lesson deals with an emerging problem in many African societies- that of drug and substance abuse. Drug and substance abuse has a big relationship with youth sexual behavior-influencing some of the adverse reproductive health outcomes among adolescents and youth in Ethiopia. Such outcomes include early entry into sexual activity, inability to use contraceptives in the event of sex with resultant consequences of early pregnancy and abortion.
This lesson aims at providing the general information on drug and substance abuse with specific focus on 'Chat' among other commonly abused substances in Ethiopia like homemade alcoholic drinks, the relationship between drug use and sexual behavior and the consequences of drug and substance use among the youth in Ethiopia.
As a start, students will explore what drugs are. Then they get an explanation about drug use, drug abuse and drug addiction, as well as various wide-ranging impacts of drugs on sexual health, to inform them and help them to make the right decisions in their lives.  Students then listen to true stories and are asked to make a report regarding the various areas of life than can be ruined by drug abuse.
After that, there will be a discussion to gather points on the topic "Why Is It Better For Me To Avoid Drugs!" Students will make posters about preventing drug use and drug abuse based on the points gathered during the discussion, using various media (painting, computer, felt-tip markers on cardboard paper). This work is performed outside the classroom.

Optional: There are 4 choices of group work in- or outside the class.

1. First choice. It will be very useful to take students to visit a local rehabilitation center or delinquent child center that takes care of drug addicts, or to an HIV/AIDS service center that has clients who are drug addicted PLHA (People Living with HIV/AIDS).
2. Second choice. Invite a drug addicted PLHA to talk with students, or as a group, visit a place that supports people and children who are impacted by HIV/AIDS, or a rehabilitation center that allows drug addicts to share information with students about the dangers of drugs.
3. Third choice. Find information relating to HIV/AIDS from newspaper articles, (youth) magazines and internet websites and compile all the gathered clippings in a creative and decorative way into one binder, along with a conclusion they have written themselves. Their binder of clippings can be used as reading material in the school library. The clippings need to be compiled in such a way that they are attractive, trendy and youthful. Various media can be used to compile and decorate the clippings.

4. Fourth choice. Create a plan on what students can do to help and to reduce the number of adolescents involved with drugs, and to inform other people about the dangers of drugs. It can also be a campaign executed in their school to pass on what they have learnt through this activity.


  • Students learn about drugs and substance abuse
  • Students learn about the relationship between drug and substance abuse and sexual reproductive health risks
  • Students learn how to prevent and protect themselves and their peers against drug and substance abuse

 Learning Objectives

Students can:


  • Students understand the definition of drug and substance abuse including naming commonly abused drugs in Ethiopia
  • Students understand drug abuse and its relationship to risk sexual behavior taking among the youth
  • Students understand effects of drug and substance abuse and preventive measures to be taken in their communities


  • Demonstrate positive motivation to support and help youth already involved in drug and substance abuse
  • Argue against sexual risk taking among drug and substance users
  • Demonstrate the negative influence of peer pressure in substance and drug abuse
  • Show motivation to conduct peer education on substance and drug abuse in their schools and communities


  • Demonstrate assertive skills in saying firmly and politely to peers that you won't be involved in substance and drug abuse
  • Conduct role plays on consequences of drug and substance abuse in society
  • Demonstrate referral services and visit a facility that supports survivors of drug and substance abuse

Computer, design and creative skills

  • Create folders and save pictures, and
  • Download pictures on drug abuse and sexual related violence
  • Save the pictures in the created files and folders in the computers.


Lesson Outline


    1. Warming Up (5 mins)
    2. Brainstorm session - Drugs; what are they? (10 minutes)

    3. Presentation - Substance/Drug abuse and sexuality (30 mins)
    4. Listening to a true story (10 minutes).

    5.Group work: It Is Better For Me To Avoid Drugs because…. (30 minutes), 

    6.Conclusion and homework (5 minutes)


    Optional – in- or outside the class

    • Visit a drug addict rehabilitation centre or HIV/AIDS service centre that has a drug addicted PLHA who is willing to talk.
    • Listen to a drug addicted PLHA or someone whose life is impacted by a drug addicted PLHA.
    • Make creative clippings about the drug problem.
    • Prepare a realistic plan of activities that can reach adolescents in their environment, which can communicate to others the reason that it is better to avoid drugs.





Discuss with students the previous chapter’s homework, where students had to ...........?



Warming Up


Make the students sing the song "I like chocolate, you like chocolate, we like chocolate, choco(3X)late; I like pineapple, you like pineapple, we like pineapple, pine(3X)apple; I like bubble gum, you like bubble gum, we like bubble gum, bubble(3X)gum" and repeat as many as required.

Or alternative


  • All students stand and look for free space within the classroom
  • Students are instructed to walk like someone who has taken Chat, alcohol, cocaine or any familiar local drug or substance
  • Students are instructed to talk like someone who has taken Chat, alcohol, cocaine or any familiar local drug or substance
  • Students are instructed to act like someone who has taken Chat, alcohol, cocaine or any familiar local drug or substance



Brainstorm session - Drugs; what are they? (10 minutes)


Students get insight what drugs are


  • Step 1
    Write on the chalkboard the word DRUGS in big capitals.
  • Step 2
    Ask students what drugs are and invite them to explain each other about defining drugs and differences in drugs.
  • Step 3
    Write during this brainstorm all relevant definitions and comments in key words down on the chalk board blow the word DRUGS and close with referring students to the information provided in next exercise on reading the presentation.


It Is Better That We Avoid Drugs! – Presentation (30 minutes)


  •  Students are introduced to the issue of drugs, drug use and abuse, addiction and the impact of drugs on sexual health, including HIV/AIDS
  • Students discuss drugs, particularly Chat and its impact on young people’s life


Ask students to read the presentation <See material provided>. It includes some discussion point which students should address together before going to the next slide.
The presentation includes the following topics:

  • Legal and illegal drugs
  • Use and abuse of drugs and addiction
  • The main types of drugs
  • Impact of drug abuse and addiction on someone’s life
  • Reasons for drug use
  • Drugs and its impact on sexual health including HIV/AIDS and pregnancy
  • Quitting drug use
    Close this session with a short recapitulation on lessons learned.


Listen to a true story (15 minutes)


  • Students have better understanding of how someone can become addicted, what problems they face as a drug addict, and how they became infected with HIV;
  • Students get to know what can be done to help drug addicts recover from their addiction.


  • All students listen together to –depending of the time available one or more up to five - brief tape recorded true stories of drug addicted PLHAs. <See material provided>

  • Close this session with a short recapitulation on lessons learned.


The voice/tape recorded material can be obtained from rehabilitation centres or service centres for drug addicted PLHAs.



Group work - It Is Better For Me To Avoid Drugs because… (30 minutes)


  • Students get insight in arguments why it is better for them to avoid drugs:
  • Students express their reasons why drug use is not a good life choice. 



  • After studying the presentation and listening to the recorded interviews, students are divided into four groups to discuss various reasons not to use drugs. 
  • Each student group creates and presents as a group a poster made together with the title "It Is Better For Me To Avoid Drugs because……" written as creative and imaginative as possible, using felt-tipped markers, pens, coloured pencils, or whatever writing material available.



Divide students into four groups
Ask them to collect and discuss reasons not to use drugs, using the presentation and the true stories (10 minutes). 



Group work - Creating a poster on drug prevention, using the computer (20 minutes)


  • Students collect ways to persuade their friends not to use drugs;
  • Students know messages regarding prevention of drug use that appeal to young people;
  • Students create a poster, using the computer or construct a creative piece of work (teachers can choose to set this as homework



Step 1

    • Students select the reason which they think is most convincing, appealing and most relevant to young people nowadays. Tell the students that they must try to create a slogan based on this reason, that is attractive and appealing to peers in order to persuade them not to use drugs, or if they already use drugs, to quitting drugs. 

Step 2

    • Students construct a poster Make sure the slogan is appealing, short, concise and accurate, and supported by suitable pictures. For work on the computer, they can use the template of MS Word program.
      <See material provided >

Individual Work - Creating a Poster (on paper) (20 minutes)

Follow the steps as presented above.
When making the poster, it can be made from pasted cuttings from various print material (magazines, etc), pictures, newspapers or paintings.
Or it can also be made with hand drawings using various media.  However, if the students make their own drawing, it is better that they do it at home and the final results, if possible, can be hung up as anti drugs campaigns in their classroom or at school.


Conclusion and home work (5 minutes)

End this session by reminding students of the material covered today.  Ask them to conclude on the new things they have learnt about drugs and the problems surrounding drugs. Ask them to start to read more in newspapers and on internet websites that will be provided at the end of this session.  Inform them about what will happen in the next session.

Home work

Students can start to implement the activities they have planned for in this session.  Ask the students to find information regarding places people can request support when facing drug related problems. Let them find organisations or institutions around them that are active in drug prevention programs.  Students can look for service centres that they may visit.


Optional choices of Group Activities

First Choice - Visiting a drug rehabilitation centre

If it is possible, the group visits a rehabilitation centre or a health service centre that has a drug addicted PLHA who is willing to talk to the group.  Direct interaction with a recovering drug addict who has experienced the impact of drug abuse him-/herself can be an effective way of ensuring they make the right choices in relation to drugs.


Second Choice - Inviting a rehabilitated drug addict to talk to students in their classroom

Invite a rehabilitated drug addict who is willing to come and talk to the students about problems related to life as an addict. 
If none are available or willing, then ask students to find a film about a drug addict.


Third Choice - Collecting news about drugs (45 minutes)

Students compile news clippings from the past year about the drug problem and the danger of drugs. Ask students to analyse and discuss the conclusions of the news clippings. This task can also be performed at home with the aim of showing the final work to their friends. 


Fourth Choice - Preparing plans about what can be done in their school environment to prevent drug abuse (45 minutes)

Students prepare activities to prevent drug use in their school. They can organise a poster competition, they can reach out to their juniors at school and teach them about the dangers of drugs, they can publish an internal school magazine for a week, and various other activities.


Gathering information from newspaper articles and internet websites



  • Students assess the value of a piece of information;
  • Students directly face the problems in their surrounding environment;
  • Students are aware of the problems related to drugs and its link to HIV/AIDS.


Students use newspaper articles and internet websites to gather and assess information. <See material provided>

Step 1

Start by showing the students that everyday there is an article about HIV/AIDS in the newspaper.  You can also bring along old newspapers and magazines to class.
Materials to be used, are articles written by journalists or articles found on the internet.

If you are online:

Ask students to spare 10-15 minutes of their time to browse a few websites in Ethiopia and other websites by using the following search words in search engines: “drugs”, “narcotics”,  or “drug addict” or “alcohol”, “danger of drugs”.  They can also try typing the name of drugs for example “Chat”

If you do not have internet access, this activity can also be performed using print media (magazines, newspapers, etc) if possible.  Convince students that there are many articles about drugs and alcohol in the print media everyday.  Print or cut out and read the articles <See material provided>

Step 2

Divide students into three or four groups and give each group a newspaper article to work on and let them find additional material.  Each article has an accompanying task. 

Step 3

Presentation and discussion

All groups come together and each group presents the results of their work.  The groups then discuss together the findings of each individual group.  As a guide to the discussion: <See material provided >







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