Drugs & Health Blog

6 Tactful Tips for Resisting Peer Pressure To Use Drugs and Alcohol

The NIDA Blog Team

Even when you are confident in your decision not to use drugs or alcohol, it can be hard when it’s your friend who is offering.

A lot of times, a simple “no thanks” may be enough. But sometimes it’s not. It can get intense, especially if the people who want you to join in on a bad idea feel judged. If you’re all being “stupid” together, then they feel less self-conscious and don’t need to take all the responsibility.

But knowing they are just trying to save face doesn’t end the pressure, so here are a few tips that may come in handy.

1. Offer to be the designated driver. Get your friends home safely, and everyone will be glad you didn’t drink or take drugs.

2. If you’re on a sports team, you can say you are staying healthy to maximize your athletic performance—besides, no one would argue that a hangover would help you play your best.

Group of teen boys player soccer.

3. “I have to [study for a big test / go to a concert / visit my grandmother / babysit / march in a parade, etc.]. I can’t do that after a night of drinking/drugs.”

Group of teen girls in a marching band.

4. Keep a bottled drink like a soda or iced tea with you to drink at parties. People will be less likely to pressure you to drink alcohol if you’re already drinking something. If they still offer you something, just say “I’m covered.”

Two teen girls drinking soda.

5. Find something to do so that you look busy. Get up and dance. Offer to DJ.

Teen girls dancing at a party.

6. When all else fails…blame your parents. They won’t mind! Explain that your parents are really strict, or that they will check up on you when you get home.

A teen boy being scolded by his mother.

If your friends aren’t having it—then it’s a good time to find the door. Nobody wants to leave the party or their friends, but if your friends won’t let you party without drugs, then it’s not going to be fun for you.

Sometimes these situations totally surprise us. But sometimes we know that the party we are going to has alcohol or that people plan to do drugs at a concert. These are the times when asking yourself what you could do differently is key to not having to go through this weekend after weekend.

Tell us in the comments how you get out of the pressure to use drugs and alcohol.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


Simply say it is a myth that “everyone” uses drugs. Studies show that fewer than half of high school seniors say they have tried marijuana. And how about showing them this infographic: nearly 70% of high school seniors disapprove of regular marijuana smoking. https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/...

sometimes your are in a situation where you can't walk away Camp, boarding school, group trip. In these situations these tips would be most helpful.
I think that its important that youth know at a very young age the art of refusal. Parents can be very helpful in building this confidence by helping rehearse with kids how to say no. No to drugs, no to alcohol, no to anything that they know is not ok with their parents. I try to educate parents that the best way to teach children values is to model them so that if kids know that "this is not ok with my mom and dad," it means its not ok for me to do. The idea is to build relationships with our kids, whether its parents, teachers, or mentors. Refusing to partake in drugs and alcohol is part of a value system. But, peer pressure is on equal footing with those values, so having the tools, elevator speech handy, helps avoid that extra step of trying to figure out how to say no.
I really got hooked on the “I’m covered” line. A definite cool, but casual way to say no thanks. I formerly was a heavy drug and alcohol user, and my friends are still big into that scene. It’s been hard to turn them down, especially when it’s so present and they know I’ve done it before. This list has given me more confidence and better excuses for not wanting to participate.
This will be helpful in the future. but my excuse would be, "I can't take that because it will clash with my medication and i will die." if that don't work then i will leave.


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