Resisting Peer Pressure

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Screengrab from Choose Your Path video

A lot of people are standing up for what they believe in these days. Sooner or later, you’ll probably have the chance to do that, too. If you feel pressured into using drugs or anything else you don’t want to do, you can resist.

The power to resist

“Resist” means you don’t give in to, or go along with, something that somebody wants you to do. Resisting peer pressure can be a challenge—especially for teens, who often want to impress their friends, even if it means taking a risk.

But you can resist peer pressure with practice and a few tips. 

Resistance tips

First of all, you can remind yourself that most teens don’t use alcohol or drugs.

Our sister institute, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, offers these tips for resisting an offer to use drugs or alcohol (and the pressure tactics that the person offering might use):

  • Look the person in the eye.
  • Speak in a polite, but clear and firm, voice.
  • Suggest something else to do.
  • Walk away from the situation.
  • Find something else to do with other friends.

You can always blame your resistance on your parents. Say, “I’d be in big trouble if they ever found out.”

Check out NIDA’s interactive videos (“Choose Your Path”) to get more practice. For tips from a teen, check out this blog post from Students Against Destructive Decisions' Student of the Year, Lauren Roscoe. 

You never have to do anything that will harm your health. You always have the right to resist.


Find Help Near You

Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator to find substance use or other mental health services in your area. If you are in an emergency situation, this toll-free, 24-hour hotline can help you get through this difficult time: call 1-800-273-TALK, or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We also have step by step guides on what to do to help yourself, a friend or a family member.

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