The Meth Epidemic

About the Film:

In The Meth Epidemic, FRONTLINE, in association with The Oregonian, investigates the meth rampage in America: the appalling impact on individuals, families and communities; the difficulty of controlling an essential ingredient in meth ephedrine and pseudoephedrine -- sold legally in over-the-counter cold remedies; and the impasse that lawmakers have reached in trying to regulate it. United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has called meth "the most dangerous drug in America," while the United Nations has labeled it "the most abused hard drug on earth." The Meth Epidemic chronicles the history of the drug's development and use in the United States, while exploring through firsthand accounts how destructive meth addiction can be. The documentary provides an excellent avenue for classroom discussions on the impact and dangers of meth use.

Watching the Film:

Teachers can either assign the 60-minute film for viewing as homework or show the film in class. Suggested discussion questions are provided. The film is also available to view by chapters on the FRONTLINE Web site. The featured lesson and activities in this guide can be used without having viewed the film.

A Note to Teachers:

For classes in social studies, language arts, current events, history, psychology, government and health; Grade level 9th-12th.

The Meth Epidemic investigates the development and growth of meth use across the United States and explores the difficulties in trying to regulate it. The teaching activities are designed to help students understand how and why meth use has spread, and learn about the dangers of meth addiction.

Discussion Questions:

This guide includes a list of questions for students to discuss after viewing the documentary.

Featured Lesson Plan:

"The Most Dangerous Drug In America"
Students will become familiar with:

Additional Lesson Ideas:

Content from The Meth Epidemic can be applied to the following lesson plans:

The Great Debates
Students will learn more about major pharmaceutical companies and the impact of high drug prices on American consumers.

Whose Special Interests?
Students will learn about the influence of special interest groups and lobbyists on congressional legislation.

AIDS 20 Years Later
Students will look at the lives of drug addicts who have HIV/AIDS and the impact it has had on their communities. Web-exclusive video about the connection between meth abuse and HIV/AIDS transmission in the gay community can be found at www.pbs.org/frontline/meth/body.
On May 30 and 31, 2006, FRONTLINE presents the definitive chronicle of one of the worst pandemics the world has ever known in The Age of AIDS. For more information on this program, visit www.pbs.org/frontline/aids.

Regulating Drugs and the Creation of the FDA
Students will trace the development of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), examine its jurisdiction, and explore the issues facing the FDA today.

Additional Resources:

An annotated list of relevant Web sites.

Purchasing the Film:

The Meth Epidemic can be purchased from Shop PBS for Teachers. Also, teachers and students can watch the film streamed in its entirety on FRONTLINE's Web site: http://www.pbs.org/frontline/meth/


This teacher's guide was developed by Simone Bloom Nathan of Media Education Consultants. It was written by educational consultant Patricia Grimmer. Advisers were Debra Plafker Gutt, Stuyvesant High School, New York, and Greg Timmons, curriculum writer and educational consultant.