The White Death (Deadly Australian #1)

Self: Health and Lifestyle
12-14 years, 14-16 years
Anticipate Time
1.5 hours min
2-5, 5-15, 15-30
Patience, Respect, Self Control, Truthfulness


Pathfinders do a quiz about Great White Sharks as a link to learning about teen alcohol abuse. They begin a project book that can include all three Pursuits in this series.

Through participation in this Pursuit, the Pathfinder will:

  1. Recall information about a deadly Australian
  2. Identify links between peer pressure and substance abuse
  3. Identify substance abuse as a deadly trend in Australia
  4. Create an individual project about Deadly Australians

Scripture Focus

Memory Verse

Romans 12:2
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Abuse of drugs like tobacco, alcohol and marijuana are deadly traps for Australian teenagers. They are potentially deadly from a physical standpoint, but far deadlier from a spiritual standpoint. They are habits that mask the influence of the Holy Spirit and tools of Satan to destroy the soul. Often a force that propels teens into these habits is peer pressure. To be aware of the potential dangers of these drugs, and to be aware of the peer pressure that may influence them is but one method of prevention. A common approach used by society to address drug abuse is to encourage young people to know their limitations and practice safe or limited use of drugs.
For Pathfinders we recommend that the only safe use of dangerous drugs is the same as the approach to the deadly animals: Walk away from them and leave them alone. These drugs have no place in the Christian life. Help your Pathfinders build solid foundations based on knowledge and awareness that will help them make the difficult decisions to stand against drugs now and in the future.


  1. Print out Appendix material for each group of 4-6 Pathfinders
  2. Be familiar with the information in the Appendix
  • A project book for each Pathfinder
  • If possible: Magazines, newspapers, etc… with images that could be associated with drug abuse
  • Appendix material


PREFACE: The purpose of this series of Pursuits is to develop a colourful and informative resource on substances that are often abused by teens. One suggestion of for this to be done in a ‘project’ or scrap book. The title of the book will be Deadly Australians and in it will be information on dangerous animals as well as dangerous drugs.

1. Ask Pathfinders what they know about Great White Sharks. Ask for stories and information that the Pathfinders may have heard. Give the quiz found in the Appendix – even though they won’t know much of the information. Tell them to guess as best they can, and then give them the correct answers.

2. Introduce the topic of alcohol abuse by reading or relating the information found in the Appendix by football player Steve Renouf.
3. Play a game of ‘Who’s the Leader?’ as found in the Peer Pressure Pursuit, Uncommon Ground. You may substitute another suitable game if you wish.

Who’s the Leader?
This is a game played with the whole group seated in a circle. One person leaves the group, and while he/she is gone, a leader is selected in the circle. The absent person must determine who it is when they return and stand in the middle of the circle. The leader will start some sort of rhythmic action (like clapping) before they return. Once the person is in the middle, the leader will change actions and rhythms, trying not to let the person in the middle see it change. When they guess it, let someone else have a go.

5. After playing the game, (or during the game) ask:

  • How does this game relate to peer pressure?
  • Which leaders in life do we tend to follow?
  • To what extent do we follow the ‘leader’ blindly?

6. Divide into groups of 4-6. Ask Pathfinders to suggest how peer pressure relates to teens using alcohol. Let each group come up with a few answers.

7. Ask Pathfinders to list at least five ways that teen alcohol use is a deadly Australian, just like the Great White Shark.

8. Let each group have a copy of alcohol related information in the Appendix, as well as information relating to the Great White Shark. Ask them to copy information into their project books, and leave space for drawings or pictures to paste in. If you have only a small group, you may be able to bring magazines and newspapers so that Pathfinders can cut out and glue in pictures to illustrate their project. (If you don’t have enough pictures, Pathfinders will need to do that part of the project at home.)
Each project should contain:
a. Some information and a drawing about the Great White Shark
b. Some information about teen alcohol use
c. Some points about alcohol and peer pressure
d. Some ways that teen alcohol use and the Great White are both deadly Australians
e. A collage of pictures relating to teen alcohol use

9. When the projects are completed, plan a time to share the material that has been presented in each project. Affirm their effort and research skills.

NB. Plan another of the Deadly Australians as a future Pursuit to follow up on this one. The Pathfinders may like to complete the future projects in the same project book.


Leaders, be sure to follow up on discussing when and how the Pathfinders saw the memory text in action throughout this Pursuit. 
Select from the questions below:

  • What was the deadly Australian animal associated with this Pursuit?
  • Have you ever seen one of these animals?
  • What was the deadly drug associated with the animal?
  • Have you ever been with someone when they were using this drug?


  • How are both the animal and the drug habit deadly?
  • How does peer pressure relate to this drug use?


  • How can a young person guard against getting caught with this drug?
  • Do you think that you could be tempted to use this drug?
  • How do you think the use of this drug by one of His children makes God feel?


  • Will you make a decision now to NEVER use this drug? (Record your commitment in your Journal)



Appendix A

The White Death

The White Death Quiz

1. Name five deadly Australian Animals
a. A variety of answers
2. What is the scientific name for the Great White shark?
The Carcharodon carcharias (Correct)
The Canthopis woolfi
The Cradiposimus diapethes
3. Which is NOT another name for the great white?
White Pointer
Man Eater
The ‘Shark’ (Correct)
4. What is the name of the fish that often accompany sharks?
Pilotfish often travel with sharks, for unclear reasons. This relationship may be due to the natural schooling behavior of pilotfish, or the pilotfish may conserve energy by riding the hydrodynamic bow wake of the shark. Pilotfish also eat small amounts of food scraps released as the shark feeds.
5. Describe the physical features of the shark



Deadly and dangerous animals

Home to nine of the ten most venomous snakes in the world, Australia also boasts the most deadly spiders, and a number of other spectacular predators.

  • The bright colouration of the Red Back spider is a warning of its venomous bite
  • The Funnel Web spider is the world’s most deadly spider
  • Brown snakes are extremely aggressive and are widespread across eastern Australia
  • The impressive Red-bellied Black snake suns itself in suburban backyards, but its bite is poisonous
  • Is that a log floating in the river, or is it a crocodile? Don’t ignore the warning signs about these ancient creatures.
  • Box Jellyfish, found in tropical northern Australia, have a sting so powerful it can cause cardiac arrest
  • Sharks have fearsome reputations, but these graceful creatures have more to fear from humans

Great White Shark also known as The White Death

Carcharodon carcharias

One of the great oceanic predators is the white shark. Its other common names are man-eater, white death, white pointer and great white shark.

This shark is regarded, because of its power, fearsome teeth, determination to attack and its apparent lack of fear, as the most dangerous of all and well deserving of its man-eating reputation. It preys on fish and mammals of all sizes. Great Sea Lions bear rips and cuts that are evidence of encounters with these predators. An Atlantic blue fin tuna, weighing in excess of 440kg (9701b) when finally caught, showed the terrible teeth marks that are the legacy of the white shark.

White sharks also hunt and feed on the various rays, including the giant stingray. Many of the white sharks captured have rays’ stings driven into and around their jaws and lodged in their stomach walls as mute testimony of such feeding.



Steve Renouf, Broncos and State of Origin Rugby League player, first began playing league in his home town of Murgon, in central Queensland. He said that he had noticed many promising players drop away because of their alcohol abuse.

Recently when talking to some young players, he said: “Fellas, have a look around you and see the effect of alcohol. Think about what you want to achieve and say, ‘No’.

“I have seen many blokes like you playing football when I began playing. Many of them could have made it to the top sides like me. But the fact is that plenty of them missed out because of alcoholism.

“I know plenty of good footballers who could play better than those out on the paddock now who don’t because they got sidetracked by their drinking.”

Steve grew up where he knew it was sometimes difficult not to drink a lot when there didn’t seem much else to do and time seemed to drag. “It’s really hard if lots of your mates are drinking heaps. “Yeah, I know what it’s like. It is very bad in the Aboriginal community. But people can be different and I did and stayed away from drinking. You can take it from me, that it will bring you down and you don’t play good football when you’ve had a heavy drinking session. It just doesn’t work that way. You are not going to get anywhere in your life if you don’t make your own stand.”

Steve’s final words, before he went back to his training session, was to tell them to make a choice, even when young, about what their habits would be. “Look around you. Look at the experience of others who have had bad experiences with alcohol. Make the right decision and stick with it and maybe I’ll see you out on the paddock soon.”

Alcohol: Australia’s Most Abused Substance

Alcohol is Australia’s most abused substance. It kills more people under the age of 25 years than anything else. 65% of drug deaths in Australia are alcohol related. Binge drinking is more dangerous than drinking the same amount of alcohol over a week. Alcohol is a major factor in heart and kidney disease. It is often a significant factor in crime, industrial and road accidents.

About 30% of drivers and motor cycle riders killed have a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.

Alcohol is absorbed directly into the blood stream through the walls of the stomach and small intestine. The liver is the main organ in the body responsible for removing the alcohol from the blood stream. Prolonged alcohol use causes massive liver damage. Surveys undertaken recently have shown a close relation between early binge drinking and later life alcoholism.

Alcohol abuse can be a major factor in the causes of brain damage, stomach cancer, diabetes, glandular fever, liver problems and memory loss.

Its abuse is a significant factor in domestic violence, rape, incest and child abuse. It can affect marital relationships and lead to violent arguments and poverty.

Alcohol, when mixed with other chemical substances, can produce unpredictable and sometimes serious health problems. If it is combined with another drug, it can have more impact together than the effect of either drug on its own. It is particularly dangerous to mix alcohol with antibiotics, antihistamines, tranquillisers, benzodiazepines and cannabis.

It has been shown by studies that girls react more quickly to the same amount of alcohol than boys, it seems that girls can only handle half as much alcohol as boys. Excessive alcohol can adversely affect pregnant women and the developing child’s health.

Teenagers are starting to drink earlier than ever, typically at age thirteen or fourteen, and more of them are drinking to intoxication on a regular basis.

Alcohol is the drug used most often by high school seniors. Even though such students cannot legally buy alcohol, over 90% of them have tried alcohol and almost one-third of them report that they have had more than 5 drinks at one time (binge drinking) in the past two weeks. With college students, over 40% report recent heavy drinking. On one college campus, an informal survey indicated over 90% of first-year students had drunk to intoxication in the previous month. (Addiction Science Research and Education, August 21, 2000) 

It has been estimated that over three million teenagers (in USA) are out-and-out alcoholics. Several million more have a serious drinking problem that they cannot manage on their own. Teenage drinking problems account for tens of thousands of highway deaths and nearly half of all teenage suicides each year. Dependence on alcohol and other drugs is also associated with psychiatric problems such as depression, anxiety, oppositional defiant disorder, or antisocial personality disorder.

Who’s Got the Power?You or Drugs?

Everybody is always telling you that you’ll die if you drink or do drugs – and that’s hard to imagine. But there are other bad things that can happen – things that are easier to believe.

Some young people use alcohol and other drugs to try and reduce stress in their lives. This can backfire and end up causing more stress, sometimes enough to make you want to kill yourself. Many teens attempt suicide, and most who do use a lot of alcohol and drugs.

Teens are more likely to have sex if they and their partner have been drinking. They’re also more likely not to use a condom. This can lead to unplanned pregnancy or the risk of getting a sexual disease, like syphilis or HIV.

Teens who drop out of school often use alcohol and drugs before and after they drop out. Dropping out can hurt your chances to be successful in life. This creates stress and makes it easier to develop alcohol and other drug problems.

Making your own decisions is an important part of becoming an adult. It’s hard enough to make choices when you’re straight – why make it harder by drinking or using drugs?


  • Admit that you have a serious problem with alcohol and drugs
  • Throw out all the alcohol and drugs that you have
  • Then, help. Talk to DRUG-ARM or one of the agencies listed in this booklet.
  • Face and try to do something about the problem that may have caused you to turn to drugs
  • Don’t be discouraged, you can beat alcohol and drugs
  • Talk to a good friend who you can trust and ask them to help you stay drug free


  • Respect and treat yourself well with healthy habits
  • Stay away from people who abuse drugs and alcohol
  • Discourage your friends from abusing drugs
  • Avoid situations where you know or sense that drugs and alcohol will be abused
  • Choose responsible friends who enjoy life without drugs
  • Join in activities where drugs are not used
  • Learn ways to better deal with problems and difficulties that you face
  • Develop your own interests and skills which make you feel worthwhile





Teen-Anon Recovery Groups| Visit Teen-Anon Resource Center


You’ll hear everything there is to hear about alcohol, ecstasy, speed (meth, crystal), coke, heroin, inhalants, smoking….

So, like, what’s the REAL story about drugs and alcohol? (And alcohol is definitely a drug, too…just like nicotine is!)

Here, you can learn straight facts about what each drug does, what it doesn’t do, and the danger of each…and often, there is real danger….

People do drugs and drink, because, to start, it makes them feel good… or erases feelings… but that’s only the beginning…. ALL drugs change the chemicals we have naturally in our brains…and when the brain starts changing, adding to, subtracting from its own chemicals, that’s a problem — because those chemicals control our feelings and actions.

Can some people deal with alcohol and other drugs better than others?

You bet!

How about me?

Well, that depends on your genes, chemical make-up, and psychological make-up….not what you think you can handle! And the way alcohol and other drugs start out is NEVER the way they end up! Never!

Who is likely to know first if you’re in trouble?

Everyone else but you!

Is doing a few joints or a few beers OK?

If you’re driving or in another situation requiring concentration, or if you’re pregnant or you want to be sure to have safe sex or not have sex-IT’S NEVER OK!

On the weekend?

Most people-more so young people-start doing drugs or drinking alcohol on the weekend, but they do NOT stay there!

How about mixing drugs-legal prescription ones or illegal ones-with alcohol?

ALWAYS very dangerous!

Can other people’s alcohol use or other drug use affect me?

ALMOST always. If you’re close to a friend, parent, brother, or sister who has a drug problem, it will affect you in ways you may not easily realize…and then you can get the same symptoms and problems…even if you don’t do drugs or drink at all.

Will drugs/alcohol help me chill?

Yes, for awhile… but the way the chemicals we all have in our brains work, you’ll need more to get the same feelings of relaxation over time… then still more…and the problems won’t disappear…they’ll get worse because you’re avoiding them!

How about inhalants?

DEADLY… always. They destroy brain cells and worse! We’re not talking just addiction here…but coma, even death!

Will I get addicted or can I handle it?

Again, you’re going to be the last to know…it depends on your genes, it depends on your family life, it just depends…and the best we can say is that doing drugs is a gamble… a big gamble.

What about addiction vs. ‘just using?’

A high percentage of users get addicted… or at least over-use. And because the brain eventually needs more to get the same effect, often– use increases…and so do the problems….

Additional Information

This perspective can be used as a discussion focus within your Group Activity

1. Biblical References to Alcohol

The Bible makes quite a number of references to the use and abuse of alcohol and Christians must, at some time, face the issue of whether or not to use alcohol. Christians regularly turn to Scriptures to give instruction for right living [2 Timothy 3: 16, 17]. However, the instruction is not always clear cut. Those taking part in the discussion may come with different attitudes to the Bible. Some will look for a series of proof texts to authorise or ban a certain activity. Others may look for a total picture of God and people which needs to be reinterpreted in each culture.

There are, however, several principles which are made clear. The leader should be fully prepared and well researched before embarking on such a discussion. It should also be stressed that ultimately whether or not to use alcohol must be a personal decision, but preferably an informed one, not only based on Biblical implications, but on other statistical information about the social, health and economic effects in the community.

Here are four different views on alcohol taken from the Good News Bible:
Drunkenness is to be condemned.
Don’t associate with people who drink too much wine or stuff themselves with food. Drunkards and gluttons will be reduced to poverty. [Proverbs 23: 20-21]
You are doomed! You get up early in the morning to start drinking, and you spend long evenings getting drunk. At your feasts you have harps and tambourines and flutes – and wine. But you don’t understand what the Lord is doing and so you will be carried away as prisoners. [Isaiah 5: 11-13]
Do not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you; instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Ephesians 5:18]
Wine used in moderation is not condemned in the Bible.
Despite its warning on the use of alcohol in excess, the Bible does refer to it on occasions as a gift of God.
You make grass grow for the cattle and plants for man to use, so that he can grow his crops and produce wine to make him happy … [Psalm 104: 14-15]
Indeed, some Christian denominations use wine as part of sacraments.
A church leader must be without fault … be sober, self-controlled … he must not be a drunkard …[1 Timothy 3: 2-3]
Do not drink water only, but take a little wine to help your digestion, since you are sick so often. [1 Timothy 5:23]
Alcohol is to be regarded as a dangerous substance.
Drinking too much makes you loud and foolish. It’s stupid to get drunk. [Proverbs 20:1]
Show me someone who drinks too much, who has to try out fancy drinks and I will show you someone miserable and sorry for himself, always causing trouble and always complaining. His eyes are bloodshot, and he has bruises that could have been avoided. Don’t let wine tempt you, even though it is rich red, and it sparkles in the cup, and it goes down smoothly. The next morning you will feel as if you had been bitten by a poisonous snake. Weird sights will appear before your eyes, and you will not be able to think or speak clearly. You will feel as if you were out on the ocean, seasick, swinging high up in the rigging of a tossing ship. “I must have been hit”, you will say; “I must have been beaten up, but I don’t remember it. Why can’t I wake up” I need another drink.” [Proverbs 23: 29-35]
In the old testament, there were groups who practised total abstinence.
The Rechabites [Jeremiah 35] vowed for life to drink no wine in protest against what they regarded as an evil associated with the way of life and religious practices of the Canaanites amongst whom they lived.
The Nazarites [Numbers 6] promised to abstain from wine, however, their vows were for a limited period only.
Daniel and his companions also appear to have been total abstainers of their own volition [Daniel 1], and it was certainly true that priests were strictly forbidden to drink prior to the performance of their priestly duties. [Leviticus 10: 8-9]
In the New Testament similar references indicate that wine was intoxicating, however, the example of John the Baptist should be noted.
He will be a great man in the Lord’s sight. He must not drink any wine or strong drink. From his very birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit and he will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. [Luke 1: 15-16]

2. Health Effects

      • Christians today have the benefit of scientific and medical knowledge about alcohol which believers in the New Testament did not have. The health effects of alcohol use and abuse are becoming accepted as serious by the medical profession, the government and the community generally. Alcohol can cause permanent brain damage, several cancers, particularly of the stomach and cirrhosis of the liver.

Binge drinking by youth, where the intention is to get drunk, is also causing concern in the community.

This is hardly the way Christians should treat themselves when they are aware that God-given mental powers will be impaired in the short term and more serious and permanent health effects will result in the long term.

Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God. You do not belong to yourselves but to God; he brought you for a price. So use your bodies for God’s glory. [1 Corinthians 6:19-20]
    • Of particular significance is the effect of even small amounts of alcohol on the unborn child. Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, in its full-blown form, results in physical abnormalities and mental retardation. Even social drinking is regarded as hazardous and the National Health and Medical Research council in Australia advocates abstinence during pregnancy and when planning become pregnant.

3. Personal Responsibility

      • Even if people can control their drinking and may never become drunk, it is essential to decide whether this is the only factor to be considered.

The two main parts of the New Testament that Christians should study carefully if they are going to answer the question, “Should I or should I not drink alcohol?” are Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians chapters 8 – 10, in particular, 1 Corinthians * 9 – 13 and 10: 23-33. These verses contain the principle that the Christian considers first the effect of his decision on other people

The right thing to do is to keep from eating meat, drinking wine, or doing anything else that will make your brother fall. [Romans 14:21]
      • This injunction of the Holy Spirit, through Paul, should be thought through in relation to twentieth century society, where the effects of alcohol in family life, such as domestic violence and child abuse, health, safety on the roads and on the national economy have never been more serious.

If it is accepted that the problems associated with alcohol are “of epidemic proportions” (Baume Report), then the question must be asked “What is the best personal contribution that can be made to arrive at a solution – to be part of the problem or the choose to stand aside from it and provide a personal example of abstinence?”

4. Alcohol in Today’s Society

    • Drinking today is a major social problem causing hardship and misery to millions of people. Things are quite different now compared to New Testament times. Drinking was not glamorised as a means of escaping from life’s problems. It was not promoted by large breweries and wineries so as to become almost an object of worship within the community. To identify with this image may be an indication of being “conformed to this world” rather than being “transformed” [Romans 12:2]. Whether or not to support an industry, even by moderate purchases of liquor, that causes so much misery and distress to so many people, must be a question that is faced by thinking Christians.

5. Personal Decision

    • The matter of whether or not a Christian should drink is one that must be personally decided by seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit and paying careful attention o the principles of Christian living set out in the scriptures. It is not a matter on which Christians should judge their fellow believers even though their convictions may differ. But it is a question all Christians should face sooner rather than later.
Resources for a Christian Perspective


1. Castle Roy (Presenter). (199?), A little more ice…? [Videorecording]; London: Lamplight Productions.
2. Eschner, Kathleen Hamilton & Nelson, Nancy G. (1988), Drugs, God and me; Loveland, Colo.: Group Books.
3. DRUG-ARM. (1987), You can’t get away from you; Brisbane, Qld: DRUG-ARM.
4. Drug Awareness and Relief Movement. (1991), Froth and bubble: everything you didn’t want to know about alcohol [Videorecording]; Brisbane, Qld: DRUG-ARM Active Resource Marketing.
5. Governor’s Interfaith Task Force on Chemical Health. (1983), Christian education materials for youth and families: alcohol and drugs; Center City, MN: Hazelden Foundation.

If you need any additional information please do not hesitate to call the DRUG-ARM Resource Centre on 3368 3822 or the DRUG-ARM office in your local area.