Almost every teen will be confronted with drugs at some point. Some teens may be fortunate enough not to face this type of peer pressure, but the unfortunate fact is that classmates or friends will ask many teens if they want to try drugs.

Saying “no” to your pals when drugs are involved can send you into a moment of weakness.

But here’s what you should know: Drugs are reckoning. Once you are addicted to them, going back to the old and sober “you” may seem like an uphill battle.

More so, becoming an addict ruins the individual’s life and has a devastating impact on families and other people around.

Many parents lose their daughters and sons because of an addiction problem that often starts as a soft blow but destroys everything in its way.

Given how dangerous drugs are, everyone needs to learn to say NO. In this article, we’ll be giving you a rundown of all the best refusal strategies to help you stay at bay from drugs.

  1. Remember Your “Why”

When challenged with drugs, pausing to remember why you’re in recovery can be highly effective. Before responding, press the pause button by taking a deep breath.

Visualize all of the reasons why you’re seeking sobriety at that time. Staying focused can help you prioritize what is most important to you and why it is worth saying no to drugs.

Furthermore, stop there if you somehow get lodged into taking drugs and can feel yourself diving deeper into the sea of hopelessness. 

As you know, there are plenty of ways to recover from an addiction. Thus, do your research and find a reputable rehab center specializing in your addiction type. 

The Delphi health group is an excellent rehab institute that offers recovery programs in California and beyond. Reach out to them in person or give their main office a call for further information.

  • Dodge 

Making up reasons why you “can’t” use the drugs being shoved in your face is perfectly legal, and these are white lies in your best interests. 

These aren’t big lies intended to confuse everyone, including yourself, for nefarious or unpleasant reasons. The trick is to make it plausible while remaining as ambiguous as possible. 

Here are some we’ve heard used that could be a good starting point for you: 

  • No, thank you. I have a short drive home ahead of me. 
  • I can’t because my parents would kill me. 
  • Sorry, I have an early day/exam/track meet/or whatever ahead of me. 
  • I can’t because I’m on antibiotics. 
  • Later, I’ll be meeting up with my family.
  • Hold a cup 

This strategy works best with alcohol, but your mileage may vary. The hosts want their guests to have a great time. 

This includes topping off drinks and ensuring everyone gets their fair share. Hold a single cup filled with soda or water the next time you go to a party. 

If you are offered alcohol, you can say, “I’m still working on this one, thanks.” If you are forced to drink alcohol, pour it into the nearest potted plant (or sink).

  • Consider prevention. 

We’re not suggesting that you abandon your life here, and avoidance is not a long-term healthy tactic. Instead, we propose the idea of planning ahead of time and attempting to avoid potentially hazardous situations.

Educating yourself on the effects of drug use is also a good idea. For example, if you know (or presume) that the party you’ve been invited to will be rife with drugs, don’t go.

If you’re at a party with alcohol, fill your cup with something else (soda, water, juice) before the alcohol arrives.

In this context, prevention is more about not deliberately putting yourself in dangerous and intriguing situations.

  • Laugh it all off. 

One of the reasons people find it difficult to say NO is that being grave in a social setting can feel awkward and draw attention. Humor is an excellent stress reliever.

When offered drugs or alcohol, make a joke to help you get out of the circumstance. When provided alcohol at a prom after-party, say, “Oh, you want me to dance on tables like a fool?” Thank you, but no.”

This method is less uncomfortable than saying a flat NO, but it also sends a clear message.

  • Prepare an escape strategy. 

Most people who have graduated from high school will agree that having an escape plan is the second-best option when attending a social event.

An escape plan allows people to try something new and visit places where they may not feel at ease while also assuring that there is a way out if things become too complex.

Coordination should be done with a family member or friend you know will be there for you. Set the ground rules with a safe word or symbol. “Mom, if I send you an exclamation mark (!), come and get me as soon as possible!”

  • Avoid situations that may tempt you. 

Did you have a regular hangout spot? For example, perhaps you always used to do drugs at a specific mate’s place. Maybe you want to go to a live show or a bar where drug use is prevalent.

If this is the case, you should certainly avoid these places. If you must meet with your friends (which may not be a smart option if you use them together), make sure to do so in a neutral location.

Triggers are situations in which you might be tempted to use. They serve as a warning of all the times you used drugs, and your brain will use these hints to remind you how good it felt at the time.

  • Try being honest.

Excuses may be effective in the short term. However, if you want to stay unspoiled for a while or are with right-hand friends, you should consider being honest.

Everyone’s association with drugs is unique, and it’s OK to be open about your decision to abstain. Unlike justifications, which may only work until your next outing with your friends, being truthful can keep your mates off your back.

You might even discover that someone else is going through a similar experience.


Going through adolescence can be difficult. We’ve all been there and remember those awkward days, which were the days of peer pressure.

You don’t need to turn to drugs to ease the pain despite this. We know that people want to fit in and that this desire is a strong motivator.

When we look at this from a more analytical lens, we can see that all of the negative consequences of drug use are not worth it.

So don’t think about it much – use these refusal techniques to say no and save yourself.

Helpful Resources

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