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Contains distressing content.

Adult supervision recommended.


Lesson video

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Welcome to the RSHE drugs and alcohol lesson.

My name's Mr. Duffy.

And we are going to look at addiction to specific drugs.

This lesson covers the issues about drugs.

If this is a sensitive topic to you, we recommend checking with a trusted adult before starting or doing the lesson with a trusted adult nearby.

So hopefully you've done really well on your intro quiz.

You can now look at nicotine and its effects, cannabis, heroin, and there's going to be an exit quiz at the end of the lesson.

So let's take a look at some key words then.

So cannabis also known as marijuana, is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plants used primarily for medical or recreational purposes.

And an opiate is a substance used to treat pain or cause sleep.

Opiates are made from opium or have opium in them.

So for this lesson you're going to need an exercise book or paper 'cause you will need to write some things down.

And in which case you're going to need a pen or a pencil.

So let's take a look at the law then we got in smoking first.

You must be over 18 to buy cigarettes in the UK.

If you are under 16, the police have the right to confiscate your cigarettes.

It is illegal for shops to sell you cigarettes, if you are under age, for an adult to buy you cigarettes if you are under 18, and to smoke in a car with a child.

So nicotine is the addictive substance in tobacco smoke.

It creates a dependency so that smokers become addicted.

Even if you do not strongly depend on nicotine, you may still get strong urges to smoke.

People smoke for physical, mental and emotional reasons.

Carcinogens are substances that cause cancer.

Tobacco smoke contains many carcinogens, including tar.

So what are then the short and long-term effects of smoking.

What I want you to do is pause the video, create this table, and have short side effects on one side, long-term effects on the other, and try and fill the table out.

Pause the video now, I'll see you in a second.


Let's say these are some of the ideas that I've come up with.

And obviously they can quite a few more.

So short-term effects can include things like bad breath, okay.

Obviously the smoke from tobacco, is quite smelly, and that can cause bad breath.

Shortness of breath.

'Cause you put any chemical into your body, into your lungs, and as a result it can cause a shortness of breath.

And cost, it's quite expensive to smoke.

Cigarettes are very expensive.

So obviously that's going to be a short-term effect on your wallet.

So the long-term effects that can include things like strokes.

Now tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide, for example, makes the arteries within your body and veins, so the blood vessels narrow.

As a result, is that constriction.

And that can cause a stroke because it's really hard for the blood to pass through the bloodstream.

Heart disease as result, and that can also cause a heart attack, and cancer because of those carcinogens.

So smoking is very harmful to health.

It is estimated that nearly one in every five deaths, of adults aged over 35 in England, is connected to smoking.

Tobacco smoke contains many harmful substances which include tar, which we've discussed, nicotine and carbon monoxide.

So the effects then of tobacco.

Tar causes cancer of the lungs, mouth and throat.

It coats inside of the lungs, including the alveoli, which causes coughing.

It damages the alveoli, making it more difficult for gases exchange to happen.

What that means is, that all the oxygen rich blood finds it difficult to get into the bloodstream to then travel around the body, supplying all the oxygen and nutrients to your muscles.

As a result, that gas exchange is hard, which means that your body isn't getting the necessary oxygen that it requires.

So the smoke itself cells in the lining of the trachea, the bronchi and the bronchioles produce sticky mucus.

This traps dirt and microbes.

Cells with tiny hair-like parts called cilia, then move the mucus out the lungs.

However, hot smoke and tar from smoking damages these cilia, and as a result of this, smokers cough to move the mucus.

And as a result of this, they're more likely to get bronchitis, which can be quite a serious illness.

As I've already said, nicotine is addictive.

It causes the smoker to want more cigarettes.

Nicotine also increases the heart rate and blood pressure, and makes blood cells, the blood vessels narrower than normal.

And this could lead to a heart attack.

And that's what we say, the blood vessels are quite narrow.

If you could imagine trying to push all of that blood through, is going to cause constriction.

It's going to be difficult, and this can then obviously lead to a stroke, as well as heart disease.

Carbon monoxide is a gas that takes place of oxygen.

So the oxygen isn't readily available within the body which causes a problem.

And that's in those red blood cells.

This reduces the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry.

It means that the circulatory system, has to work harder causing heart disease.

And this could lead to a stroke or a heart attack.

So Chelsea's mum is a smoker.

Chelsea wants you to help her write a letter to her mum explaining the harmful effects of smoking, because you have learned about it at school.

Can you write a letter for Chelsea? Pause the video, and I'll see you in a second.

Cannabis is a Class B drug, which means it's illegal to have for yourself, giveaway or sell.

Possession can get you up to five years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

Cannabis is different to other Class B drugs, as it comes under the discretionary warning scheme.

This means it's a police officer can choose to issue you with a street warning, which doesn't form a criminal record but it will be recorded, so long as, you're in possession of a small amounts of cannabis only and for your personal use, it's the first time you've been caught with an illicit drug and you have no previous record of offence, you are compliant, non-aggressive and adamant that the cannabis is for your own use only.

If you're caught with cannabis, and it's your second offence, the police can issue you with a fixed term fee notice, which is an on the spot fine of 80 pounds.

As long as you pay that within 21 days, there's no criminal record.

If however, there's a third occasion, you will be arrested and taken to the police station.

So what names can you think of for cannabis? Pause the video, write some ideas down, I'll see you in a second.


When I was doing research for this lesson, I was absolutely amazed at how many different names there were for cannabis.

Now I've written some of the ones down that I certainly recognise the most.

So things like marijuana, hashish, weed, skunk, which is one of the strongest versions of cannabis, green, ganja, spliff, pot, herb, but there are so many different names and you may have some that you recognise that aren't on my list.

So what is cannabis? Cannabis also known as marijuana, weed, pot, dope or grass, some of the things that we've mentioned earlier, is the most widely used illegal drug in the UK.

The effects of cannabis can vary a lot from person to person, as with most drugs, illegal drugs, legal drugs, alcohol, nicotine, it affects people in many different ways.

It can also vary depending on how much or how often it's taken and what it contains.

Because cannabis isn't taken in its purest form.

It's coat with lots of different things and that is one of the things that makes it extremely dangerous that you simply do not know what it's being coat with.

So cannabis can make a person feel chilled out, relaxed and happy.

Is that true or false? It's true.

Some examples also include laughing more or becoming more talkative.

Also becoming quite hungry or getting what is known as the munchies, loss of memory.

So you can become quite confused and forget certain things.

So they are what we would class as the short-term effects of cannabis.

So is cannabis addictive? It's possible to get addicted to cannabis, especially people who are considered regular or heavy users.

If you're a regular user or a heavy user and you're using a lot of it, for a prolonged period of time, you can become addicted.

Regular smoking cannabis with tobacco also increases the risk of becoming addicted.

And the primary reason there is because of the nicotine in the tobacco and also the addictive qualities of cannabis.

So the dangers of smoking cannabis and regular cannabis use increases the risk of developing a psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia.

Psychotic illness is one where you have hallucinations, seeing things that are not really there, and delusions, believing things that are not really true.

So Chelsea's older brother gives her cannabis to smoke, and to sell to her friends.

What would your concerns be for Chelsea? Pause the video, write down your ideas, I'll see you in a second.

So let's take a look then at some possible answers.

Firstly, if Chelsea was to do this she would be breaking the law.

This could impact on her future.

Also Chelsea's brother is aiding Chelsea's potential addiction.

In this position, Chelsea should seek support from a trusted adult at home or school, or contact one of the organisations listed at the end of this lesson.

So let's move on then.

So what is heroin, and what else can it be known as? Pause the video, write some ideas down, I'll see you in a second.

So let's take a look at the law first, before we address the answer.

So heroin is a Class A drug.

These include cocaine and crack, ecstasy, heroin, LSD, methadone, crystal meth, fresh and prepared magic mushrooms. So Class A drugs, are treated by law as the most serious.

Possession, will get you up to seven years in prison and an unlimited fine or both.

It doesn't matter how much you have, it doesn't matter whether it's a first offence, it could end up with a seven year prison sentence and unlimited fine or both.

Supply and production is extremely serious and is taken extremely serious up to life in prison, or an unlimited fine or both.

So you may find, depending on again how much it's been supplied but the maximum prison sentence that somebody supplying a Class A drug could receive is life in prison.

So let's take a look at then some of the names that we could have for heroin.

Heroin is an opiate drug and it is also known as an opioid.

Other opioids include codeine, opium and morphine.

Now these are in legal drugs, okay.

But we can also call heroin smack, skag, horse, H, gear.

Again, when I did research for this, honestly there are so many different terms for heroin, and it can be quite regional to certain places.

So I got these ones here but you may have some others that you know it as yourself.

So the effects of heroin can be extremely serious.

You can have short-term effects and long-term effects.

Euphoria, a dry mouth, warm flushed skin, arms and legs feel heavy, upset stomach and vomiting, itchiness, a fuzzy brain, not really being there, switching in and out of drowsiness.

Long-term effects can include collapsed veins.

When a heroin user injects it, obviously directly into the vein, that vein then collapses, and they can no longer use that vein.

And that's why they end up with multiple injection places on the body.

This can lead to people injecting, for example within the teeth.

Insomnia, unable to sleep.

Infections of the heart lining and valves.

Skin infections like abscesses.

Some of that is due to infection within the vein itself or within the wound where they've injected.

A high chance of getting HIV and AIDS, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, because of sharing needles.

Liver and kidney disease, mental disorders, lung diseases, and menstrual problems and miscarriage.

So cannabis is known as a gateway drug.

Chelsea notices heroin paraphernalia in her brother's bedroom.

Chelsea wants to give her brother advice on the dangers of heroin but she doesn't know the facts.

And because you've been done this at school and you've been taught it, can you write to lots of detailing the facts so she can maybe help her brother? Pause the video and I'll see you in a second.


I really hope you've put some excellent advice in that.

Now there is loads of helping advice on this topic and these are some of the websites and some of the people that are out there that can help families, individuals with people whether it is directly impacting them, whether they're addicted to drugs or alcohol themselves, or that a family member is addicted to alcohol and drugs.

And these sorts of places are available to them.

So if you do want more advice on these topics, please visit maybe one of these websites or Talk FRANK.

Really hope you've enjoyed the lesson.

I really want to see that letter to Chelsea.

And certainly, some of the details outlined regarding heroin and cannabis.

If you'd like to, please ask your parent or carer to share your work on Twitter tagging @OakNational and #LearnwithOak.

I've been Mr. Duffy, I really hope you've enjoyed the lesson today and I'll see you soon.