Pharmaceuticals, Doctors, and Misinformation

     Grades 7 - 8

     2-3 Class Periods


Program Segment(s)

  • How Addiction Happens (approximately 8 minutes)

"How Addiction Happens" Avi and Julie Israel talk about the effect of painkillers on their son Michael.

  • The Demand for Opioids (approximately 15 minutes)

"The Demand for Opioids" Prior to the mid-90s, the use of opioids to treat pain was limited.



Students will be able to:

  • Understand how doctors, pharmaceuticals, and misinformation influence the prescription of opioid pain medications.
  • Make informed decisions on when opioid pain medications should be prescribed to patients.
  • Understand how the over-prescribing of opioid pain medications can lead to addiction.


Instructional Resources




1. Prior to viewing the video segments from Understanding the Opioid Epidemic, the teacher will present students with this Focus Question: What do you know about prescription opioid pain medications?

2. Students will watch the Understanding the Opioid Epidemic video segments and take notes.

3. After viewing the video segments from Understanding the Opioid Epidemic, the teacher will ask the students: What do you know about prescription opioid pain medications NOW that you didn’t know previously?

4. The teacher will share statistics, vocabulary, and other basic information concerning doctors, pharmaceutical companies, misinformation and their connection to the opioid epidemic.  Use the National Institute on Drug Abuse website ( for information on these statistics, vocabulary, and information. (Time permitting, allow students to explore the website themselves)



5. Students will individually write a 1-page essay discussing some of the dangers that should be addressed when opioid pain medications are being prescribed. (This may be finished for homework)

6. Students will work with a partner to create an informational poster that could be used in a doctor’s office to inform patients of the risks associated with use of opioid pain medications.



7. Students will present their informational packet (essays and poster) to the class and teacher as if they were presenting the packet to a doctor.  The goal of the presentation is to persuade the doctor’s office that the informational poster would be a beneficial tool to have for their patients.

8. Students will hand in their informational posters for grading. They can also be used for awareness in the school.


Assessment Task

Students will write a 1-page essay that allows them to personally reflect and share information they have discovered, work on a poster with a partner, and complete a class presentation.


Adaptations (Grades 9 – 12)

  • Informational poster will be a tri-fold brochure (3-page) with more detailed information than a simple poster. 
  • Students will write a persuasive essay to try to convince doctors not to over-prescribe or to use alternative therapies. Students should also reflect on whether they think opioid pain medications are over-prescribed and include a rationale for their opinion.


National Health Standards

  • Standard 2 – Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology, and other factors on health behaviors.
  • Standard 4 – Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks.
  • Standard 5 – Students will demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.
  • Standard 6 – Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal-settings skills to enhance health.
  • Standard 8 – Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family, and community health.


Download Icon Pharmaceuticals, Doctors, and Misinformation Lesson Plan (557.7 KB)

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