Senior Project Advisor
neuroscience, drug education, harm reduction
There is a desperate need to move beyond abstinence-only drug education for high schoolers to address rising overdose rates and acknowledge an industry targeting teenagers for highly potent drugs. Neuroscience offers students insight into how drugs affect the reward system and alter the ability for endogenous systems to modulate essential functions. I created a lesson plan titled, “The Neuroscience of Addiction” for a class at Sehome High School for students in grades 9-12. The presentation addresses the role of dopamine in addiction, the discrepancy between drug policy and scientific understanding, how potency affects tolerance, how motivation for drug seeking evolves over time, ways that long-term drug use alters the brain, etc. Additionally, I compiled a list of lesson plan objectives and created a facilitator guide to accompany the presentation. Future neuroscience-based drug classes for high schoolers should also include harm reduction information including how to test drugs, effects of drug combinations, and how to recognize and treat overdoses.
(Slides to accompany the project are available at the attachment below.)
Frost-Belansky, Talia, "Redefining Drug Education: A Neuroscience-Based Class for High Schoolers" (2023). WWU Honors College Senior Projects. 727.
Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.