Youth Information

How do I talk to my friends about substance use? 

If you have a friend who is experimenting with substances, expressing your concern in a caring and supportive way can help prevent them from developing a substance use disorder. They may need help understanding the dangerous risks associated with using these substances. They may be struggling with other life issues and have turned to substances as an “escape”. They may recognize that they have a substance use issue but are scared to ask for help. Whatever the case may be, do your best to reassure your friend that you are there for them and want what is best for them. If you ignore their substance use, they won’t see any reason to change it.

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My friends keep pressuring me to use substances. What should I do?

Saying no to peer pressure can be really challenging in the moment. The best thing we can do is prepare ourselves for these situations. Think about the different places you might be offered substances – the bathroom at school, from a sibling at home, or at a friend’s house are a few examples.

Next, think of what you might say or do to get out of these uncomfortable situations. Maybe you simply say no and walk away. Maybe you give a good reason for not using. Maybe you suggest something else to do. Or maybe you make up an excuse to leave. (See several examples below). Thinking of these responses beforehand will better prepare you to know what to say or do when you are feeling pressured. If you believe you will have a difficult time saying no to your friends, you might want to consider hanging out with different friends – those who make the healthy decision to be substance free.

“No, thanks. I’m good. That’s not really my thing.”

“I’ll pass. I’m trying to stay in shape for soccer.”

“Let’s go to the park instead.”
“My mom is calling. Gotta go!”

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