How to use Scenarios to talk to kids about drug use

Using scenarios provides a way to discuss challenging situations with your child in a low-stress environment. You can brainstorm solutions together to help them prepare for similar situations they may face in the future. These exercises support young minds in:

  • Developing their long-term, goal-oriented thinking skills.

  • Allowing them to apply their new knowledge to support retention.

It’s recommended to pose 1-2 scenarios to your child at a time, as long as they remain actively responding.


  • “You walk into a public bathroom where some of your classmates are drinking and using drugs. You see, one of them is passed out, unconscious. You have a sinking feeling that they need help but you don’t want them to get in trouble. What do you do?”

  • “You are at a party hosted by the coolest person you know. You’re talking and laughing with some people you meet there. One of them offers you a drug – you’ve seen it on TV before but don’t know what class of drug it is or what it might do to you in real life. So you say that you don’t know enough about the drug to try it, “I’ll pass for now.” They tell you they started doing it recently and that it’s more fun every time. What do you do?”

    • If they are unsure, try asking, “What would you want for yourself the day and the week after that night?” to encourage goal-oriented thinking.

    • Discuss how, if they feel uncertain about a drug, taking it might be risky to their safety.

  • “Two of your friends have decided to try a drug and are now asking you to be their sober safety sitter. They tell you that even if you say no, they will try the drug anyway. How can you help them stay safe?”

  • Some suggestions:

    • Test for fentanyl – If they are going to take this drug, encourage them or help them to check that it most likely won’t kill them.

    • Start small and go slow – If they are going to take it, encourage them to make a plan for how much they are going to consume and when. For both their comfort and their safety, remind them that it is always possible to take more, but it is not possible to remove excess or take less of a drug once it enters the body.

    • Carry naloxone nasal spray – If they are going to take it, help ensure they survive their experience by having your own doses of nasal naloxone (such as Narcan) on hand and knowing what the signs are for when you need to use it to save a friend’s life.

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