Substance Use, Addictions & Related Behaviours

Teachers play an important role in educating students about substance use, addictions and related behaviours. Prevention messages are most effective when shared with students early in life.

The following resources can be used by teachers in the classroom or to support school initiatives. For questions, contact our School Health Curriculum Resource Line at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4111 or email schoolhealth@wdgpublichealth.ca.

Community programs

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving)

MADD provides educational programs to prevent drug and alcohol-related automobile crashes, for Grade 8.

Recommended websites

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Resources and lesson plans for teachers and schools about drug use and mental health, for Grades K-8.

E-cigarettes: To Vape or not to Vape?

The Ontario Tobacco Research Unit (OTRU), in partnership with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, developed a short video for Grades 7-12 to help answer the following questions about e-cigarettes: Should non-smokers vape? Is vaping less harmful than smoking? Can smokers quit by using e-cigarettes?

Freeze the Industry

A youth- led campaign advocating for stricter tobacco policies, including plain cigarette packaging. Download the Action Guide for creative ideas to get your students and school involved in freezing the tobacco industry. Activities are for Grades 7-12 and include social media, marketing campaigns and letter writing to Members of Parliament. 

Ideas for Action: Creating Smoke-Free Communities

A collection of tobacco prevention activities developed by Ophea and the Youth Advocacy Training Institute (YATI) using a healthy schools approach. The guide includes activities for Grades 3-12.

Kids Health in the Classroom

Resources and lesson plans for kindergarten to Grade 12 teachers about health topics including alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, as well as emotions and behavioural health. 

Know What’s In Your Mouth

A Central East Tobacco Control Area Network (TCAN) campaign that was developed with youth to help spread the word about chewing tobacco. The campaign includes a website and toolkit for Grades 9-12.

Media Smarts – Tobacco Marketing

Choose from 11 lesson plans about tobacco marketing in both traditional and digital media. Can be used for Grades 4-10.

Project ALERT

A free, classroom-based substance abuse prevention curriculum for Grades 7 and 8 that is proven to reduce the experimental and continual use of drugs among students. Includes online teacher training, lesson plans, posters, videos, and newsletters. 

Smoke-Free Movies

The Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies brings together concerned health organizations that aim to raise awareness about the impact that smoking in movies has on youth smoking. This website includes research reports and tips on how youth in grades 7-12 can advocate against smoking in movies.

Smoking Isn’t Cool Toolkit

Sample lesson plans, tools and materials to help teach smoking prevention for Grades K-5.

Public library resources

To book a resource, please visit the online catalogue of one of our participating public libraries: (Note: library membership required).

The following resources are available for loan from your local library. These DVDs can be used with lesson plans or for school events.

Dr. Crazy (DVD)

This 17 minute DVD features Dr. Crazy, a mad scientist who tries to trick children into buying tobacco products. It can be used for Grades 4-6 and includes a teacher’s resource guide.

iDrive: road stories (DVD)

This 23-minute DVD raises awareness about the risks and consequences of unsafe, aggressive and impaired driving.