Friend2Friend: Substance Use

Friend2Friend: Substance Use is an interactive role-play simulation for middle and high school students that builds awareness, knowledge, and skills to prevent substance misuse now and later in life by giving students the tools to better navigate real-life situations involving substances.

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Alcohol and Substance Use and Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

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35 Minutes

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Friend2Friend: Substance Use equips students grades 6-12 with the skills and awareness to make positive decisions about alcohol and other substances. This interactive learning experience introduces social norms and addresses media portrayals and misconceptions. Students identify personal goals that motivate them to make healthy decisions, learn coping and refusal skills, and communication techniques to support a friend. Users have access to customized national, local, and school-specific resources in addition to simulation content.

The goal of Friend2Friend: Substance Use is to give students grades 6-12 the social-emotional skills to better navigate real-life situations involving substances.

Learning objectives:

  • Understand positive social norms and refusal skills
  • Understand the differences between healthy and unhealthy coping strategies
  • Analyze risks associated with substance use
  • Identify substance misuse and potential support services
  • Understand how positive self-concept can be used to help self and others
  • Apply communication skills to help a friend
  • Create an action plan around substances based on personal values and goals

CASEL Competency Alignment:

Social Awareness & Relationship Skills - strengthen communication and healthy relationship skills

  • Demonstrate empathy and support help-seeking
  • Identify own emotions and those of others
  • Recognize and evaluate the influence of the media
  • Understand and utilize refusal skills (assertiveness)

Self-Management & Self-Awareness Skills - develop strategies for managing stress and making healthy decisions

  • Identify and use coping strategies
  • Develop personal interests and set goals
  • Build self-efficacy and growth mindset

Responsible Decision-Making - grow critical thinking skills

  • Anticipate and evaluate the consequences of actions
  • Identify solutions to personal and social problems


  • Goal-setting
  • Assertiveness and refusal skills
  • Stress management and coping skills
  • Help-seeking skills
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Empathy and active listening skills

Friend2Friend: Substance Use learning design incorporates evidence-based prevention methods including social norming and values and goal setting. Methodology in this simulation has been determined to be evidence-based through studies that have undergone a peer-review process.

Research shows that with experiential practice, increased emotional engagement and reflective thinking leads to stronger self-efficacy and behavior change.

This simulation can be implemented with fidelity by teachers regardless of background in mental health, substance use prevention, or SEL. Discussion guides are included with the simulation to enhance curriculum.

Conversation scenarios adapt to meet students where they are, and give individual feedback across standardized content.

The simulation is available online 24/7. Users are asked to complete pre-, post-, and 3-month follow up surveys to assess changes in skills. Attitudes, and behavior. Upon completion, users receive a certificate of completion.  Clients have access to usage reports and evaluation data via the Kognito client portal.

More Resources for Friend2Friend: Substance Use

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