Let's talk about
Substance Use

For Students in Grades K-6

Did you know...
A “habit” is a tendency or practice that we do over and over again – they are hard to quit or give up. Habits that we begin when we are young are more likely to become lifelong habits.

What we choose to put in our bodies affects our mind, body, feelings, and relationships. Making healthy choices, such as exercise or eating balanced meals will make us feel happier and stronger.

Unhealthy choices, such as overeating or using alcohol, tobacco, or drugs are damaging to our minds and bodies, and limit people from achieving their life goals.

The bad news is that if you start bad habits while you are young, it could be harder for you to change those habits. You may have seen people smoke cigarettes, buy a vape, or drink alcohol. These are things that are not good for a person’s body – especially a young person’s body. We want you to be strong in mind and body. In this lesson we want you to learn about habits, such as not using medicines and substances that are harmful for your body.

When you hear the word drugs, you may have questions.
These are good questions to have answered. It is natural to ask questions about things that make you confused or curious. If you have questions besides the ones listed below, please talk to a trusted adult in your life at home or at school.

“Why do people think vaping is ok?”
Vaping is a new type of drug, so people right now may believe that it is safe, but they are wrong. The chemicals in them are deadly.

“Is it ok for adults to drink?”
Adults are old enough to drink but you are not. Drinking alcohol does not make you grown. You should talk to an adult about all of the bad effects of alcohol on your brain and body.

“What is the difference between medicine we have to take and drugs we should not take?”
Sometimes you have to take medicine that the doctor or a parent gives you in order to get well when you are sick. Those medicines are only to be used for the person they were given to and in the way that the directions and doctor tells us to use them.

“What about athletes who use steroids?”
Athletes who use steroids seem to be strong but have many bad side-effects and eventually lose things they care about.

As you get older you may have friends who begin to make choices about habits that are not good for them. Even though you care about these people, you cannot go to that level.

You must be strong. People begin using sometimes because they want to fit in or seem cool. These things will not make you be accepted in a way that will satisfy you.

People who encourage you to hurt yourself do not care about you. No one who truly cares about you would ask you to do things to purposely harm yourself. If you are curious or concerned, talk to a parent or trusted adult about it. Believe it or not, they would want you to come to them so that they could help you.

How to stay strong

1. Talk to your trusted adults and friends.
Ask questions if there are things you are curious, confused, or worried about.

2. Think before you act.
Think to yourself: “Is this a healthy choice for me to make? Is this a choice that would make others proud?”

3. Choose to say “No” and stand firm!
Practice using different ways to say “no.” Saying phrases like “That’s okay” “That’s dangerous” Or “I don’t want to get in trouble” are some ways to say no. If someone is continuing to pressure you to use alcohol, drugs, or tobacco, stand firm in your decision. This means you may have to say “no” more than once.

4. Surround yourself with friends who make good choices.