When it comes to drinking and taking drugs many young people face both social and peer pressures. Their friends might encourage them to drink at parties while social pressures come in many forms.

Social pressures can include advertising, seeing the lifestyles of celebrities, or being at a party and seeing people who are drinking or taking drugs having a ‘good time and looking cool”.

Paul Dillon, author of Teenagers, Alcohol and Drugs and Generation Next speaker, has collected strategies used by teenagers when they feel peer or social pressures to drink.

These 10 ‘outs’ are a great back up for any teenager to have if they find saying ‘no’ difficult:

  1. I am allergic to alcohol.
  2. The medication I’m on at the moment doesn’t mix well with alcohol.
  3. I’d love to smoke but I have an uncle with a mental health problem (good for getting out of smoking cannabis).
  4. I got really drunk last week and I’m trying to have a few weeks off.
  5. Dad found out I was drinking last weekend and I’ll be grounded if I get caught again.
  6. We’ve got a big game next week and I want to be as fit as possible.
  7. Mum’s picking me up this evening and she always checks my breath when I get in the car.
  8. Maybe later – I’ve already had a few and I just want a break for a while.
  9. My uncle is a police officer and he is staying at our house tonight. I’ve got to be really careful.
  10. Dad’s an alcoholic and we’ve been told it could run in the family.

Many of the ‘reasons’ use parents/relations as an ‘out’ (makes the parents look really uncool – but works well for the teenagers). Good communication and trust between parents and their teenage children is essential in working together to help them come up with their strategies.

Paul Dillon adds “Of course not all teenagers need an out, some young people are strong and confident enough to simply say no – but many young people need help in this area, and it is important that they have some other strategy in place to assist them when they find themselves in difficult situations”.

Writer Helen Splarn. Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha.

Source: Paul Dillon – Drug & Alcohol Research & Training Australia