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Drugs & Health Blog

Alcohol: The Friend Factor

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Sara Bellum

Friends can influence your opinion about music, fashion—and alcohol. In this updated post from 2013, NIDA provides strategies for staying true to yourself and avoiding peer pressure.

Have you ever said “It’s not me, it’s my friends?” Turns out, this reasoning may not fly since what your friends do can have a big impact on you. Research studies show that teens whose best friends drink alcohol are twice as likely to try alcohol themselves. And, if teens get alcohol from friends, they’re more likely to start drinking at a younger age.

It’s a big deal. We know that a person who drinks alcohol early is more likely to abuse alcohol when he or she gets older.

So, if your friends drink and you don’t want to, what are you supposed to do? Get a whole new set of friends? It depends. You may find that some people believe drinking alcohol is the only way to have fun. But lots of people find other ways to enjoy themselves. If you’re not ready to give up on your friends just yet, take some time to learn a few key strategies for dealing with peer pressure.


  • It’s brave to stand up for yourself. Be that guy or girl who doesn’t drink. It might be hard at first, but eventually people will respect you for sticking to your beliefs. You might even start to influence some of your friends to stay away from alcohol too.
  • Not everyone is doing it. In fact, according to NIDA’s 2013 Monitoring the Future survey, nearly 75% of 10th graders reported NOT using alcohol in the past month.
  • It’s okay to make up an excuse. If someone is really hounding you, dodge the issue—you could say that you took medicine that will make you sick if you drink.

If you’ve said no and your friends still don’t respect your choices, you have to ask yourself— are they really that good a friend?

Tell us: What’s your strategy for not giving in to peer pressure?

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.


Peer Pressure Stinks! Stand Up For Yourself!
I love drinking. I'm 18... But I dont try and get my friends to drink (:

Be careful, Zak.  Drinking at 18 is illegal in the United States, and can harm your brain.  Check out Teen Brain, a Work in Progress to learn more.  

your under aged shame on u
I am sure to follow the points to remember when i will become a complete teen. People following the peer pressure may get ready to face the danger of cancer! I like the way the author has explained us about peer pressure around the world.
that is true, but you can also use peer presure for good
always be against non medical and enhancing affects you
It's a great piece of advice. I'm going to do my best to avoid peer pressure and I am also going to help my friends and my family relations, if anyone of them has the habbit of drinking.
even if ur friend tell u to get into drugs say NOOO and think weaher they r really good friends and dont get into drugs they r extremly harmful to us
Peer pressure is really like not good and alcohol is bad for your and avoid friends who drinks alcohol and this is what i think.
Try and avoid alcohol or any other addictive nonmedicinal drug for that matter. Peer pressure will always be around you but try to avoid it if you know it's not right and stand up for yourself
just because of our friends who are addicted to drugs, they can't force us to have it. we have to control ourselves and stand against it instead of, because of peer presure, accept and have the drug
Peer pressure is the reason to all these addictions. If people only didn't listen to their friends and thought about the consequences, firsthand they wouldn't suffer.
i do not want anyone to get addicted to a non-medical drugs as it can affect the person who takes it and his family.
Drinking is bad for your body and your brain. It is also illegal in many countries so do not drink and do not join friends who drink maintain distance with ,be careful.
This tells about how we should not get addicted to peer pressureand tells us to be careful
Just walk away. that's all there is to it.