Our Lessons


Enabling Students to Make Good Decisions

From 5th through the 8th grade, adolescents learn to assert their independence and grapple with increasing social pressure. Working from this reality, Being Adept helps students become the agents of their own smart, healthy decisions. Our research-based social and emotional curriculum presents developmentally appropriate lessons for 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th graders, with the goal of increasing specific knowledge about drugs and alcohol and raising awareness of their harm. All of our lessons have a video component that teaches the brain science of addiction.

Lesson Topics



Our Alcohol lesson lays the foundation for the brain science that drives the Being Adept curriculum. Topics covered include:

  •  Key developmental brain processes—pruning and myelination
  • The concept of a “standard drink” of alcohol by type and volume
  • How the liver is affected by alcohol
  • The long-lasting effects of binge drinking
  • The dangers of alcohol poisoning
  • Teen stereotypes about drinking alcohol

Nicotine & E-cigarettes

Our Nicotine lesson reviews the dangers associated with smoking and using e-cigarettes and prompts students to consider why teens
choose to use them. Topics include:

  • Statistics of teen e-cigarette use
  • The difference between a vapor and aerosol
  • The potentially harmful and harmful chemicals found in e-cig “juice”
  • The concept of third-hand smoke
  • How and why companies market their products to kids
  • How nicotine impacts the cardiovascular and the brain’s reward systems


Our Marijuana lesson focuses on the changing landscape of cannabis products, especially with the implementation of legalization in California. Topics include:

  • Flower, concentrates (dabs), and edibles
  • How THC impacts mood, memory, and motivation
  • How much stronger today’s cannabis products are than they used to be
  • How THC affects dopamine levels, anxiety, and depression in long-term users
  • Statistics about teen marijuana use and perception of harm


Our Stimulants lesson covers plant-based and synthetically-derived stimulants. Topics include:

  • How stimulants in general affect the brain and body
  • How stimulants affect serotonin and dopamine in the short and long run
  • “Study drugs”—Adderall, Ritalin, & Concerta
  • Cocaine, MDMA/Ecstasy, Methamphetamines
  • Stimulant withdrawal symptoms

Rx Drugs & Opioids

Our Rx Drug/Opioid lesson teaches students about using prescription drugs safely. Topics include:

  • The differences between over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs
  • How doctors determine what to prescribe to a patient
  • The concepts of addiction, tolerance, and withdrawal
  • How and why prescription drugs are misused and when they are illegal
  • Which prescription drugs are commonly abused
  • The opioid epidemic facing our nation
  • Similarities between opioids and heroin
  • Opioid withdrawal symptoms

Media Literacy

Our Media Literacy lesson teaches students the importance of media literacy in today’s digital age, and how media influences our perceptions
about drug and alcohol use. Topics include:

  • Social media literacy and how social media influences the brain
  • How media distorts our perceptions of reality
  • The concepts of normalization and glamorization and how social media influences youth
  • How much alcohol and tobacco companies spend on marketing
  • How to analyze ads targeting youth for alcohol and tobacco
  • How music, TV, and movies normalize and glamorize using substances

Stress Busters

Our Stress Busters lesson gives students a chance to discuss pressures today’s teens face and healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with
stress. Topics include:

  • Why the flight-or-fight response is an important process in the body
  • How chronic stress affects the brain and body
  • How chronic stress might lead to substance abuse
  • Healthy tips for managing stress
  • The concept of mindfulness and practicing meditation

Pressure & Decisions 

Our Pressures & Decisions lesson wraps up our program with practical tips for students to make healthy decisions informed by their own
personal values. Topics include:

  • Defining your own personal values
  • Different types of peer pressure
  • Tips for resisting pressure
  • Why decision-making is different for teens
  • Advantages and disadvantages of the teenage brain
  • Understanding short-term benefits vs. consequences of particular decisions
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