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Saying ‘no’ to our friends can be hard.

And when drugs or alcohol are involved, that little word ’no’ can be even harder to say. So, having some practical strategies can help.

Which one of these ways to say ‘no’ might work best for you?

If you don’t think you’ll be able to resist the offer or pressure to take drugs and alcohol, then it may be best to avoid that situation or group of people altogether.

No, I can’t come tonight, I’ve got to do something with my parents”.

say no to drugs by saying 'no' to being there in the first place
Say no to drugs by saying 'no' and giving a reason

Just provide a simple reason why you don’t want to have a drink or take drugs.

No, not for me. I’ve still got to finish that maths assignment.”

Make your excuses and move away from the people who’re drinking or using drugs.

No, not right now. I want to catch up with Tammie – I haven’t seen her all night!”

If they try to out you, check out this 

say no to drugs by saying 'no' and walking away
say no to drugs by saying 'no' clearly and strongly

This one might be a bit harder, but sometimes it’s just easier to be assertive and say no.

It’s good if you also show some understanding or give a bit of a reason when you do this.

No, thanks. I know my parents probably won’t find out, but if they do, I’m grounded for life!

If your friends keep bugging you, a good strategy can be to just keep repeating your answer until they give up.

No, thanks. No, not tonight. No, I’m sure. No, you go ahead.”

To find out more about keeping the friends that are good for you and genuinely care about you, check out ‘The 5 faces of friendship’.

say no to drugs by saying 'no' over and over

If you are struggling and don't know where to start, visit