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Drugs are a serious problem in present-day society. Reports say that many people start to use drugs when they are in their teens. I have been teaching teenagers for many years and, consequently, I am quite concerned about the drug problem. Prevention is better than cure, they say. And it never does anybody any harm to be informed.

The following activity consists of a cloze that might be used as a reading/listening comprehension exercise, as well as the starting-point of a debate on the subject of drug abuse.

Before you begin, explain the following situation: Dr Feelgood, a famous American doctor, has just started a world campaign to prevent the use of drugs among the young. He is in Spain at the moment, where he has just given a lecture to an enthusiastic group of students who noted down everything he said. Marta López was among them. Read her notes, which I have typed for you.

At this stage, hand out copies of the accompanying cloze "Drugs Are Dangerous." Tell stds, that Marta´s handwriting was not very clear, so there were some words you could not read. Can they fill the gaps?


Drugs are habit-forming (1) _______________that affect the user´s
(2) _______________ system. Doctors sometimes prescribe drugs to relieve their patients´ pain. Most people, however, take drugs for other (3) _______________. Some people start taking them because they have a (4) ________________ and they expect drugs will (5) _______________ them forget it. Unfortunately, after some time, they have a (6) _______________ problem -and a very (7)______________ one, too: they have become (8) _______________ to drugs. That is, they feel they can not stop taking them. If they are lucky, they may follow a (9) _______________ and leave drugs forever. If they are not, they could be seriously ill and die.

Depending on the different countries and their cultural tradition, drugs are considered legal or illegal. Alcoholic drinks or cigarettes, for instance, are sold freely in most countries, but they are drugs nonetheless. It is important to have in mind that all drugs are (10) _______________ to some extent. Some of them are (11) _______________ dangerous indeed.

Drugs are used in different (12) _______________. Some of them, like sedatives and amphetamines, are swallowed: others are inhaled (taken through the nose) eg cocaine, and a few are (13) _______________ (forced into the body with a syringe), like heroine.

Drugs have diverse effects on their users. Some make people feel (14) ______________. Others make them feel more (15) _______________, and (16) _______________ few cause (17) _______________: they make their users "see" or "hear" things that are not really there.

If you ever have a problem, (18) _______________ someone: your parents, your teachers, your friends...If somebody offers you (19) _______________, just say (20) "_______________."

- - - - - - - - - -

ANSWERS: 1-substances ; 2-nervous ; 3-reasons ; 4-problem ; 5-help ; 6-new ; 7-serious ; 8-addicted ; 9-treatment ; 10-dangerous ;
11-very ; 12-ways ; 13-injected ; 14-calm ; 15-active ; 16-a ; 17-hallucinations ; 18-tell ; 19-drugs ; 20-no.

Note: If you feel the activity is too difficult for your students but you still want to do it, you could make their lives easier by giving them a scrambled list of words to put in the right places, or even the completed text and a few comprehension questions.

Devised by Joan M. Díez Clivillé
IESI Ramon Berenguer IV, Amposta, Tarragona (SPAIN)
[email protected]
[email protected]

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