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        9-12

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        Contains Adult Language, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco

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        The Brain on Autopilot Lesson | Tragedy & Hope: Stories of Painkiller Addiction

        In this lesson, to be used with the program Tragedy & Hope: Stories of Painkiller Addiction, students review quotes from the program about prescription drug addiction and write a persuasive essay based on their opinion.

        Dr. Blondell Image | Tragedy & Hope

        Dr. Blondell specializes in the research and science of addiction.

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        Ryan's Segment | Tragedy & Hope

        In this video segment from "Tragedy & Hope," students learn that the chemicals in opiates are so close to the natural chemicals in our brains that the body stops producing the natural chemicals and begs for the drugs. This is why recovery is so difficult. We meet Ryan who “fell in love” with the feeling of weed and pills by age 12. He then began using Hydrocodone and finally heroin. Ryan became violent, and his parents were forced to press charges and have him incarcerated. Sitting in jail, he reflected on getting high and realized that he was crushing his family. He made the decision that outpatient treatment wasn’t helping and that he needed treatment at an inpatient facility.

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        The Science of Addiction | Tragedy & Hope

        Addiction is a disease of the brain, as students will learn from this segment of "Tragedy & Hope: Stories of Painkiller Addiction." Opiates relieve physical pain but are sometimes misused for emotional pain. Stimulants produce a carefree, elevated experience. These drugs reprogram the brain and when a person comes down from them, they are very depressed. Some addiction-prone people may feel a need for the drug much like hunger tells us to eat and thirst tells us to drink. Those with a family history of addiction are born with a genetic predisposition to addiction. Additionally, because the brain is still developing until approximately age 25, individuals who begin to use drugs while they are young are more likely to develop an addiction.

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