Teen Drug Abuse: Role-Playing for Teens and Parents

Below are four scenarios that countless teenagers face every day, pressured to use drugs or engage in other dangerous behaviors. Parents and teens, read over these scenarios together and act them out. Try to get into character. How might the conversation really go?

Acting out these roles should be fun. You might enjoy reversing the obvious roles - let the teenager play the friend while the parent plays the teen.

The point here isn't only to prepare for these particular scenarios; it's also to get parents and teens talking about an often hard-to-discuss subject: teen drug abuse. Together, you might come up with some interesting solutions - and maybe understand each other a little better.

Medicine Cabinet

A friend is at your house and wants you to steal some cough medicine from your medicine cabinet. ''Your parents will never notice,'' she says. Some things you might say:

  • ''I can’t stand the taste of cough syrup. It's disgusting.''
  • ''My parents will notice. They told me that they keep an eye on all the drugs in the medicine cabinet.''
  • ''Nope. Taking a lot of that will just make you throw up.''

Drunk Driver

You're at a party and the friend who was supposed to give you a ride home is drunk or high on drugs. She insists that she's fine and tells you to get in. You know that getting in the car with her would put your life at risk - and hers -- but you don't want to make a big scene. Some things you could say:

  • ''Since I'm sober, just let me drive.''
  • ''Let me see if someone else is here who hasn't been drinking and could give us a ride.''
  • ''You're too drunk right now. Let's walk for a while and talk - we can figure out how to get home later.''

Free Period

During a free period, a guy or girl you like suggests that you go off in the woods behind school to get high. You really like this person and don't want to embarrass yourself. But you also don’t want to get high. Some things you can say:

  • ''I really don't like smoking pot - it just makes me really anxious.''
  • ''I’ve got a test next period, and I need to keep my head clear.''
  • ''I’m exhausted - let’s go to the convenience store and get some coffee instead.''


Weekend Party

A kid at school is having a massive party this Saturday because his parents are out of town. You know that lots of people there will be drinking and getting high. A friend really wants you to go with him. You don't want to go. Some things you could say:

  • ''Sorry, I'm doing this thing with my family this weekend, and there's no way I can get out of it.''
  • ''All these parties are the same - everyone gets so wasted. They're just boring.''
  • ''Let's go to the movies instead.''

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on October 23, 2018



Virginia Cox, senior vice president, communications & strategic initiatives, Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), Washington D.C.

Hallie Deaktor, director of public affairs, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, New York City.

County of Santa Clara web site: ''Underage Drinking and Driving.''

Parents: The Anti-Drug web site: ''Practice Role Play.''

© 2018 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.


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