Yes, friends can definitely influence one to take alcohol or drugs. Peer pressure is a powerful force, especially for young people who may be seeking acceptance and validation from their peers. When friends or acquaintances encourage drug or alcohol use, it can be difficult to resist the pressure to conform.
To protect oneself from the negative influence of friends who encourage drug or alcohol use, there are several strategies that can be effective:
- Be assertive: It's important to be assertive and confident in saying "no" to invitations or pressure to drink or use drugs. Practice saying "no" in advance and come up with alternative activities to suggest.
- Choose your friends wisely: Surround yourself with friends who share your values and goals, and who support you in making healthy choices.
- Be prepared: Plan ahead for situations where drug or alcohol use may be present, and have a strategy for avoiding or managing those situations. For example, make plans to attend events with friends who don't drink or use drugs, or have a supportive friend or family member on standby to call in case of a difficult situation.
- Seek out positive role models: Look for positive role models in your community, such as teachers, coaches, or mentors, who can provide guidance and support in making healthy choices.
- Build self-esteem: Build your self-esteem and confidence by setting achievable goals and engaging in activities that you enjoy and are good at.
By using these strategies, individuals can protect themselves from the negative influence of friends who encourage drug or alcohol use, and make healthier choices for themselves.