Emotional Health: Do Drugs Make You Happy?

5th Grade (Ages 10-11)


About the Story

While we all want to be happy, this story describes how sometimes things that are not good for us – like recreational drugs – can change our ability to feel happy. 

  • Our brain is designed to let you feel happiness whenever you do a behavior that helps you (or your species) get something you need to survive. The reward system is the part of the brain that allows you to feel happy. 
  • Recreational drugs activate the reward system, better, stronger and faster than any natural reinforcer – like food or water. 
  • Recreational drugs, definitely make you happy, but they change your brain. When your brain changes, normal reinforcers do not make you as happy as the drugs. Your brain becomes addicted.