Activity Introduction

Quick summary: This lesson allows students to explore some of the factors that can influence drug and alcohol use, and then subsequently, how drug and alcohol use can affect our relationships and health and wellbeing. Students begin by participating in a scenario-based activity to explore the role of emotions in our decision making, considering the perspective and emotional experience that different people may have. Using clips from Life After The Oasis, students will think critically about the relationship between drug and alcohol use and health and wellbeing. Students will also have the opportunity to consider how personal strengths can be used to manage challenges and overcome adversity, contributing to improved health and wellbeing. 

Life After The Oasis is a 75 minute documentary that explores the issues, interventions and mindsets associated with youth homelessness in Australia. The film revisits characters and stories from the original 2008 documentary The Oasis, and how opportunities and experiences have shaped their lives over the last ten years. Find out how to screen or view the film here.

Warning: The documentary and the clips contained in this lesson, contains explicit language, images of drug use and confronting scenes and may upset some viewers. Teachers should use their personal discretion when showing the documentary. This resource deals with the rising problem of youth homelessness and its associated social and personal issues. There may be students in your class who have experienced some of the issues discussed. You are encouraged to arrive at a set of agreements and ground rules for discussion with your class about the best way to approach the issues being covered in a way that recognises the dignity of our fellow classmates. Click here for tips on setting ground rules for class discussions and here for advice on how to handle sensitive topics and controversial issues in your classroom.

Learning intentions:

  • Students develop their understanding of factors that contribute to drug and alcohol use.
  • Students reflect on the impact that drug and alcohol addiction can have on individuals.
  • Students explore how personal strengths can be used to manage challenges.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Health and Physical Education Year 9 and 10

  • Critique behaviours and contextual factors that influence health and wellbeing of diverse communities (ACPPS098)

Syllabus outcomes: PDHPE5.13.

General capabilities: LiteracyEthical UnderstandingPersonal and social capability

Relevant parts of Year 9 & 10 achievement standards:  Students critically analyse contextual factors that influence identities, relationships, decisions and behaviours. They evaluate the outcomes of emotional responses to different situations.

Topic: Social Issues

Unit of work: Life After The Oasis – HPE

Time required: 80 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheets – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a video to the class. Handling Sensitive Topics And Controversial Issues Factsheet – teacher copy (Optional). Emotions Scenario – one per group. Character Strengths Cards – one set per group. Character Strengths Factsheet (printed one per student or projected). 

Keywords: homeless, youth, drugs, alcohol, addiction, relationships, empathy, homelessness, personal strengths, challenges, The Oasis

Shark Island Productions and Cool Australia would like to acknowledge the generous contribution of The Caledonia Foundation to the development of these resources.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will ... 

  • ... develop their understanding of factors that contribute to drug and alcohol use.
  • ... reflect on the impact that drug and alcohol addiction can have on individuals.
  • ... explore how personal strengths can be used to manage challenges.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... explore and identify a range of perspectives that people have about drugs and alcohol.
  • ... discuss the impact that drugs and alcohol can have on people.
  • ... identify a range of emotional experiences that people may have when confronted by situations involving drugs and alcohol.
  • ... identify their own and other's personal strengths that can be used to manage challenges.

Teacher content information: On any given night in Australia, 1 in 200 people are experiencing homelessness. This alarming statistic raises many questions about homelessness in Australia and what is being done by government and non-government institutions to combat the

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: "For a lot of people, including myself back in those days, drugs were a way to escape.” – Owen

Emotions Scenario

Hurt Joyful Bored Confused Loved Furious
Rejected Scared Nervous Hopeful Miserable Guilty
Shy Anxious Jealous Calm Relieved Disappointed
Surprised Powerless Betrayed Proud Afraid Frustrated
Lonely Ashamed Unloved Tense Thrilled Embarrassed

Use the following prompts to evaluate the scenario your group has been given:

a). Who has been affected in this situation?

b). Identify a range of emotions that each person involved is likely to experience.

c). What beliefs may the people involved have about drugs and alcohol?


Factors Affecting Drug And Alcohol Use

Haley's story (

1. Outline the factors and situations that may have led to Haley using drugs and alcohol initially. For example, what challenges was Haley dealing with? What structural or instituti

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