PSHE KS3 / GCSE: Addiction - Chloe's Story
Narrated in first person, this film explores what it is like to battle with addiction and the control it can take over your life.
Chloe’s testimony is open and honest, and creates an intimate portrait into how it can feel to rely on drugs, from getting through the school day to socialising with friends.
She traces the root of her addiction to her home life, citing abuse from her siblings to the actions of her mother, who openly used drugs in her presence.
Chloe felt isolation and emptiness, and began using as a way to control her moods - almost as a self-medication.
She talks about feeling total worthlessness, and how the drugs balanced her.
After falling in with a bad crowd, her drug use began snowballing, moving from the daily use of weed, to recreationally using ecstasy and cocaine until it became uncontrollable.
Her powerful description gives students an insight into what addiction can be like - something all-consuming and bleak.
Chloe didn’t seek help until she began to feel suicidal, at which point she felt able to talk to her mum about what she had been going through.
After going to A+E, she was told she would need to be sober to get the help that she needed.
From there, she started to communicate more, and increasingly understand her own feelings as she received treatment.
Since then, she was able to stop the cycle and massively reduce her use of drugs.
This animation will be particularly useful for teachers in discussion about understanding others, understanding addiction, as well as how slow and painful the recovery road can be, as Chloe is still within hers.
It provides some information about where to seek help when you are feeling particularly bad, but does not go into detail.
It is an insight into how damaging mental health problems can be and the different ways they can manifest.
Due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter, we strongly advise teacher viewing before watching with your pupils.
Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4
Chloe’s story touches on the emotional causes underpinning her own drug use.
Can pupils timeline or storyboard the causes and issues that laid the path for Chloe to start using drugs?
What happened on her road before she started using and how did each issue/situation make her feel?
What could she have done at each point on that road to get help or help herself to cope, or were the things she was experiencing too big to cope with or out of her control?
Pupils could then continue the timeline or storyboard showing her journey into A+E and the start of her recovery.
It is important to understand how each part of her experience made Chloe feel and for pupils to see that there were points along the road, when if she had received help, the path may have been able to turn and avoid her using drugs.
Getting help depends on being able to speak up and not be afraid to ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help.
All human beings need help sometimes, especially with managing emotions in difficult situations which seem out of their own control.
Maybe students could also look at the physical side effects of drug use.
Students could look further into organisations which would be suitable to seek help, including CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).
Key Stage 4
Chloe’s story looks at the effects of her changing family situation on her emotional well-being which led to her addiction.
Students could investigate which drugs affect mood in which ways and better understand how drugs help some people to self-medicate and either dull or heighten their emotions.
This needs to be coupled with studying the damaging physical, social and emotional effects of drug-use.
Pupils could sensitively ‘hot-seat’ Chloe (i.e. the teacher or a pupil acting as Chloe) at each pivot point, asking her questions about her feelings, her situation and suggesting what she could do to get help before turning to and after being addicted to drugs.
This short film is suitable for teaching PSHE at KS3 and GCSE in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Modern Studies at National 4 and 5 in Scotland.