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07-28 International Day of Friendship: When a simple “NO” is enough to fight peer pressure to take drugs

International Day of Friendship: When a simple “NO” is enough to fight peer pressure to take drugs

An adolescent’s life is fraught with many challenges, including those that arise from succumbing to peer pressure. Being part of a peer group can have advantages like discussing issues with other like-minded people, however, there can be a downside to this as well. While the benefits of being in the company of someone who empathizes about one’s problems and hurdles are many, sometimes undue pressure from a peer group can be disastrous to one’s emotional health.

Adolescent friendships tend to be more intimate, exclusive and constant than those experienced during one’s early formative years. While this entails a sense of belongingness, it can also lead to uncomfortable situations like being asked to try something new that is harmful or being coerced to take illicit substances.

Peer influence can cause teens to engage in unhealthy or unsafe behaviors. However, such an unwarranted pressure can be countered by a simple “NO.” Some people find it difficult to ignore such requests and stand up for themselves. The stress to go against the norm may be difficult to deal with but can be tackled by taking the following simple steps:

  • Be prepared mentally: Dealing with uncomfortable situations is easier if one plans ahead of time. Practice how to turn down an offer of a cigarette, drink or drug. Practicing beforehand helps avoid getting into precarious situations while also ensuring that the relationship with one’s friends does not get affected.
  • Avoiding bad company: Being stuck in the company of those involved in high-risk behaviors has always been a bad idea. It is always to get rid of people who make one feel uncomfortable while exerting undue pressure to adopt habits one wishes to avoid. Besides, hanging out in places identified with use of illicit substances must be avoided.
  • Taking pride in sayingNO:” There is nothing shameful about being upright concerning what one believes in. While it may sound difficult to stay strong in the face of peer pressure, one must feel proud after denying any kind of pressure to take alcohol, harmful drugs or illicit substances.

In an attempt to promote the role that friendship plays in societies across the world, the United Nations observes the International Day of Friendship (IDF) on July 30 each year. The day is observed by organizing events and activities by groups, communities and governments throughout the world to promote mutual understanding, solidarity, respect and harmony. While no life is free of obstacles and hardships, they can be faced by anyone with a lot more courage and joy when one has good friendships in their life.

Avoiding peer groups involved in substance abuse

The idea of friendship is not limited to hangouts alone but also the ability to influence friends to get rid of dangerous habits of illicit substance abuse. Habits of taking alcohol among teenagers are mostly attributed to peer pressure or curiosity that deepens after one sees friends drinking booze.

American teenagers often regard drinking as a rite of passage to adulthood, often ending in developing a dependence on alcohol. Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego provides a therapeutic residential treatment program aimed at combating teen alcohol abuse. If you are worried about your own or a friend’s alcohol abuse, please call our 24/7 helpline to speak to a member of our team to know more about our teen alcohol treatment.

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