Global Impact of Drugs

Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being


This activity is created to make the students study and reflect upon the global impacts of illicit drug use.




stopwatchThree 45 minute lessons

circular-line-with-word-age-in-the-center15 – 21 years old

group-of-three-men-standing-side-by-side-hugging-each-otherGroups of up to 28


Behavioural competences

  • To have a safe and healthy relationship with the surroundings
  • To have a healthy attitude towards alcohol and drugs


  • To reflect upon ones built environments and surrounding and the impact of these on health and wellbeing
  • To reflect upon the global consequences/ impact of irresponsible drug and alcohol consumption

Lifelong learning key competences

Social and civic competences


Access to the internet


First two classes:

Introduce the activity. Tell the class that they are going to be working in groups to do research on how illicit drug use impacts individuals and society.

Let the students gather in groups of 3-5 and do research on a drug of their choice.

Ask them to find out where it comes from, how it is made, and how it travels (is it extracted from nature or chemically produced à where and how is it processed à where is it sold). To make it more visible for the presentation, a good idea would be to create a map that shows how it travels.

Ask students to consider the global impact of illicit drug trade (what are the consequences of illicit production, trafficking, etc.)

Ask the students how the use of the drug impacts the body and the brain, if it is addictive, and what kinds of social and physical impacts an abuse of it might have.

Tell them to make a presentation (power point, poster, video, etc.)

Under “further information” there are some useful links for the students.


Third class:

Present the findings in plenary.

Evaluate the presentations and discuss the groups’ findings.

Discuss in class what should be done to achieve SDG target 3.5: Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.

Follow up suggestions

In order to save time, it might be useful to divide the students into groups and allocate the drugs that they should research upon along with the research questions. The activity should then take two lessons of 45 minutes. If there is time for it, it is, however, encouraged that students get the time to reflect and decide by themselves.

Ideas for actions

Identify an issue in relation to illicit drug use and make an awareness raising campaign in the school. Focus on the actions that individuals, a school class or a NGOs can take to prevent this issue.

Further information

The Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good Health & Well-Being) targets:

Council of Europe:

Alcohol: According to WHO, alcohol consumption in Europe is double the world average. Alcohol is the second largest risk factor for death and disability among adults, and the largest risk factor for young people. In Europe, alcohol accounts for 618,000 deaths every year. Excessive drinking contributes not only to ill-health but also to loss of productivity in the educational setting and workplace, criminal damage and violence.

ACTIVE – Sobriety, Friendship and Peace – is a European organisation gathering young people who have decided to live sober and share a vision of a ‘’democratic, diverse and peaceful world free from alcohol and other drugs where any individual can live up to her full potential”.

Drugs: According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, between 155 and 250 million people worldwide, or 3.5-5.7% of the population aged 15-64, had used illicit drugs at least once in 2009. Cannabis users make up the largest number of illicit drug users; however, in terms of harm, opiates are ranked at the top.” (Council of Europe, Compass: Manual for Human Rights Education with Young people, ).

Useful links:

National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Drugs and the Brain,”

Sangwon Yoon, “These Three Maps Show How Drugs Move Around the World,” 26 June 2015, Bloomberg Markets,