"Just Say No" was a drug abuse awareness campaign spearheaded by Nancy Reagan in the 1980s. Revise the old slogan and put a modern twist on it. Ask your students to design posters that help the reader "just say no" to drugs as an effective and creative way to wrap up a curricular unit in health. Give your students a rubric or give them free reign -- just ensure that the poster reflects what they learned.
Play on Emotions
One type of poster the students might design is one that tugs on the heartstrings. A drawing of a young girl holding a photo of her dead brother -- lost to drugs -- to her chest, or a mother weeping over her daughter's grave will catch the attention of the reader. Add a slogan that drives the point home: Drugs ruin lives. Possible slogans could include: "Be Smart. Don't start!" or "Put it out before it puts YOU out!" These posters can also remind students that drugs don't just hurt and kill the user -- drug abuse affects entire families. Slogans to drive this point home might include "Hurt yourself, hurt your family."
Just the Facts
Sometimes statistics are all it takes to drive a message home. Just the cold, hard facts can go a long way to helping someone say "no" to drugs. Students could design posters based around the facts of drug addiction and abuse. For example, a poster might feature a list of things such as the percentage of people who become addicted to meth after just one try, how long it takes to die from using it, how many students drop out of school once they become addicted or how much it actually costs to buy drugs. Or, a poster could feature the cold, hard truth of what drugs do to your body and your appearance -- how drugs can damage parts of your brain, create terrifying hallucinations, cause your heart to race, create open sores on your skin and face and other ill effects.
Not That Simple
Sometimes it's not as simple as just saying "no." Students could design posters that help a person come up with ways to avoid trying or taking drugs. The posters could reflect previous class discussions on when, why and how a person should say no to using drugs. Students could list lines that a person might say to refuse a drug, along with avoidance strategies. Posters could also list alternatives to drug abuse. Young adults who use drugs are often doing it to rebel or because of low self-esteem. A "just say no" poster could list contact numbers of places where a person could go to get help with self-esteem, anxiety and other related issues, such as a local youth or counseling center.
Choose Your Path
Remind the readers that when they say "no" to drugs, they are saying "no" to a host of other things as well: "no" to a life of poverty, "no" to a life of crime and "no" to an early death. Add a slogan that will drive this point home, such as "Twinkle twinkle little star, if you use drugs you won't go far." Saying "no" to drugs means saying "yes" to things like a bright future, college, good health and unlimited potential. Students might create a two-columned poster with the things that a person who says "no" to drugs will gain, and a person who says "yes" to drugs will lose. Or, they might create a graph that shows the lives of two fictional people: one who said no to drugs and another who tried drugs "just once" and went on to live a life of misery.