How to say no to drugs

Your mate wanting you to join in on the fun may seem kind and loving - but when that ‘fun’ is drugs, it’s not exactly the kindness you were hoping for. No matter how badly you want to fit in, we can assure you that true friends won’t force you to do anything, and we mean ANYTHING. Although it can be difficult to say no, it’s better than finding yourself in situations that you’re not comfortable with. We’re here to talk you through it.

A group of young people are sitting on a sofa. The young man in the middle looks upset. He is thinking about how to say no to drugs. This is a full-body image.

Drugs and peer pressure 

It’s natural to want to fit in with friends. After all, nobody likes to be classed as a ‘loner’ or the ‘weird one’. We want respect. We need to feel that we belong; it’s basic human instinct. Having mates we can rely on helps us build self-confidence and grow as individuals. Throw drugs into the mix, however, and things get A LOT more complicated. Keep in mind, you don’t have to be anti-drug to not want to take them, sometimes you just need to listen to your gut. We’re gonna teach you how to say no to drugs, if you want to.

Should I say no to drugs?  

When it comes to drugs, it’s hard to pass up an offer from friends without a few raised eyebrows. The fact is, nobody should have to justify a decision not to take recreational drugs. Whether you have a strong personal commitment to clean living, or just don’t fancy it this time around, your choices are your business. If you feel like someone is pressuring you to take them or constantly having a go at you for staying clean, try to walk away from the situation or, if they’re a close mate, explain how they’re making you feel. 

What are the risks? 

Taking any kind of substance, especially an illicit drug, carries certain risks. There may be health problems in both the short and long term, and even legal consequences if you’re unlucky enough to be caught by the law. More serious issues are usually linked to long-term drug abuse. What’s more, every drug experience is different. You can definitely take steps to minimise such risks and have the time of your life, but no matter how certain you feel, there are no guarantees.

Know the facts 

Finding out about different drugs, from the effects to the risks involved, can help you to resist any pressure and make a sensible choice. As your understanding grows, so too will your confidence when it comes to making decisions you can stand by. 

If you want to know more about drugs, here’s our A-Z on each drug and their effects. That oughta keep your weekend busy!

Know yourself 

Think about what peer pressure means to you. Being made to feel like you need to get involved with drugs may seem like a form of wilful intimidation, but there’s more to it than that. Psychologically, it’s often a way for people you know to seek approval for their own behaviour. So do you really want to get involved to justify someone else’s drug use? 

When one of your mates doesn’t accept your choices, it’s time to evaluate whether you want them in your life. We’re not claiming that it’s going to be easy. In fact, it’ll probably be the hardest thing you have to do but it’ll be so worth it. Toxic friendships can stunt your growth as a person and make you feel responsible for your friends’ actions. Trust us, in 5 years, when you’re the CEO of some multinational company, you’ll barely even remember their name. 

Will they judge me?

When it comes to drug decisions, be sure to take responsibility for your welfare first. Even if your friends give you a hard time for not joining in at first, eventually they’ll rate the fact that you clearly know your own mind. It’s better than just going for it because everyone says you should. Come on, it’s pretty awesome that you can say no to drugs and don’t just go with the crowd.  As Kelly Clarkson says, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

The same advice applies to drinking alcohol. To find out more about being teetotal, click here

Here are some helpful tips for how to have fun without drugs and alcohol.

Next Steps


drug risks

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 28-Aug-2021