Resisting Peer Pressure: Tips From a SADD Student Leader

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Lauren Roscoe headshot

Image courtesy of Lauren Roscoe.

 As a student, I see firsthand what happens in school every day. One issue that concerns me more and more is the misuse of drugs. Whether students are trying marijuana for the first time or taking prescription stimulants to stay awake, I’ve wondered: What makes some people want to use these substances and possibly harm their body?

There are many reasons why, but I know some students experiment with drugs because of peer pressure. The student leaders I work with in Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) are preparing their peers to respond when someone offers them drugs. Here are some of their tips.

Stand your ground

If someone asks you to try drugs, “no” is such a powerful word. Be polite, but stand your ground. You could suggest doing something healthy or active instead, like bowling, or hiking, or going to a movie. Suggesting alternatives might encourage some of your peers to resist the pressure to use drugs, too.

Another idea: Come up with a phrase for saying no that’s so unique, it lightens the situation instead of creating tension. One person’s phrase was, “I have to go rhinestone my unicorn.”

Create a family plan

Let’s be real. Resisting the pressure to use drugs isn’t always easy. So, it’s good to have a plan in place for these situations. One idea is to have a discussion with your parents about what to do. For instance, you could create a code word to text to your family or another trusted person so they’ll call you right away. This gives you a safe, reliable way to exit the situation.

You really can resist peer pressure to use drugs. Surrounding yourself with positive influences, finding creative ways to say no, and setting up a family plan can help.

Learn more: Three surprising risks from vaping.

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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