Ways to Avoid Peer Pressure to Use

  1. Say, “No thanks.” It could be just as easy as that. But, if the person offering the cigarette, beer or joint persists, you will have to back up your “No thanks” with other tactics.
  2. Be a broken record. Keep saying no to the person offering as many times as needed to pressure him/her to stop, or stall until you can think of something else to say.
  3. Give a reason. The reason could be as simple as, “I’m not allowed to do that” or “It’s bad for you” or you could state the consequences, such as, “I don’t want to do that; it’ll make me sick.” or “You can die from doing that.” The important thing is to say no and state your reason with confidence.
  4. Walk away or ignore the offer. This doesn’t work in all situations. Sometimes you might be alone or in a situation where walking away is not an option.
  5. Change the subject or suggest doing something else. By saying, “Let’s do ______ instead,” you have the potential to not only refuse an offer of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs, but to prevent a friend from using them, too.
  6. Assert yourself. If you can learn to stick up for yourself, you will learn an important life skill.

Remember, the best way to refuse alcohol, tobacco and other drugs is to spend time with people who don’t use these substances.

Source: Illinois Drug Education Alliance

Other Ideas for Saying “NO”

  • “My parents would be really upset if they find out. And they always do!”
  • “I’ll get kicked off the team if I get caught.”
  • “I like you, but I don’t like drugs/alcohol/cigarettes.”
  • “No, I’m not into that.”
  • “No, I’m trying to stay healthy for —.”
  • “No, that’s not for me.”
  • “I’ll be grounded for a long time if my parents find out, not worth it.”
  • “Nah, I’m on the — team and I don’t want to risk it.”
  • “No thanks. I don’t like how it makes people not act like themselves.”
  • “Sorry. I’m driving tonight.”
  • “No thanks. Not interested.”