Keep Kids Drug Free

"No, Thanks"

It’s rough learning to make all the decisions you want to make… it’s tough having to say “no” to a friend or someone you thought you wanted as a friend… it’s just hard to sometimes stand up for yourself.

Sometimes we’re afraid that if we say no (even to something that is harmful to us) we may lose a friend or not fit in to a group we want to be a part of. Truth is, people respect you for standing up for yourself and your beliefs. The more often you make decisions that are smart, healthy and right for you… the easier it becomes. The more confident you become the more your life unfolds as you would like it to.

But, how do you say “no”, how do you turn down something that’s offered to you? How do you refuse to try drugs, for example. Well, there’s lots of ways and you can try out a few of them as see which ones feel the most natural to you.

The best way to refuse alcohol, tobacco or other drugs is to hang with people who don’t use them and who feel like you do.

By the way, it’s a great idea to practice these skills. There are lots of different situations that will occur and it’s a good idea to try to think through some of them ahead of time. Maybe role play with a friend or parent or at least just talk about the possibilities. It helps, really.


  • Say “No Thanks.” It could be just as easy as that! However, if the person offering the cigarettes, beer, or joint persists, it might not feel like enough… you might need additional tactics!
  • Be A Broken Record. Say “no” again… then “no, really”… then “I said “no”. A simple word, “no”. You don’t have to give any reasons if you don’t want. Say “no” and walk away.
  • Give A Reason. There are hundreds of real and legitimate reasons to not try any type of drug or other dangerous behavior. You can blame your folks “If my dad smells smoke on me, I’m grounded for a month” or “It’s bad for you… why start?” You can state consequences like “It’s addictive, I don’t want to do it” or “Why put something toxic into my body?”. What’s important is that you state your reason for declining the offer with confidence. No need to argue about it… you don’t want to, you don’t have to.
  • Walk Away or Ignore The Offer. This doesn’t always work or it may be a situation where you can’t just walk off. But, when you can… do it.
  • Change the Subject or suggest doing something else: By saying “Let’s do this instead,” you not only refuse the offer to try something you don’t feel is right but you might offer a friend a way out too.
  • Assert Yourself. Stick up for yourself. IF you can do this, you are learning a skills that will be beneficial the rest of your life! Being able to state your position assertively is a trait that we value as adults… the sooner you learn this trait the better off you will be in the future.